Skip to content

When You Love a Prodigal By Judy Douglass

What does it mean to really love a prodigal?

Loving a prodigal can be a long and desperate road, filled with fear, worry, anger, and self-recrimination. You wait for the phone call–will it be from jail or the hospital? You plead with your loved one, then threaten him. You search for help. You feel the shame. You cry out to God, “How long, Lord?”

I have traveled this road with my own prodigal–reading, learning, praying, and seeking God. Over and over He continued to give me wisdom. He sustained me. He covered me with grace. He filled me with hope.

When You Love a Prodigal: 90 Days of Grace for the Wilderness was written to remind you that God walks beside you every step of the way. At the end of each of the 90 reflections, you will find response questions to help you process what God is saying as you wait. You can work through the reflections day by day, or you can read them straight through.

Today, I am sharing with you the introduction to the first chapter, page 21. It’s titled, LOVE.


We love because He first loved us. ~  I John 4:9

I love my prodigal. You love your prodigal.

But often it’s not easy to love a prodigal. Our love is tested and stretched. Unappreciated and questioned. Not returned – even thrown back in our face. We grow weary and discouraged.

How do we keep loving as the years unfold? What does love look like when our prodigals keep making bad choices?

We know that God’s love is unconditional, unfailing, radical sacrificial. That is the love God has always had for Josh. I knew this love was mine to love Josh with, but I couldn’t consistently access it.

This I know: I am not capable of that kind of love in my own strength. Jesus set an impossibly high standard.

So how do we love and keep on loving our often hard to love prodigals?

Watch The Book Trailer Now


Judy Douglass is the wife of Steve Douglass, president of Cru Global (Campus Crusade for Christ). Judy partners with Steve in leading Cru, where she also serves as director of women’s resources. Judy blogs regularly and is the founder and host of Prayer for Prodigals, an online community for those who love someone who is making destructive choices. Judy and her husband live in Orlando, Florida.

What Others Are Saying about the Book

“Judy’s excellent book, When You Love a Prodigal, is not only a very practical help to those who have prodigals, it is a preparation for the ministry God will give you in helping others who are parents of prodigals. This book, because it is biblically based, will help you comfort others with the comfort, wisdom, and understanding you will receive from Judy and Steve’s experience. O Beloved, don’t waste your sorrows–share how God has sustained you.”

Kay Arthur, author, Bible teacher

“Thank you, Judy, for the gift of When You Love a Prodigal. This ninety-day devotional invites us to enter a journey of hope and in so doing experience the very character of a loving Heavenly Father who welcomes and restores prodigals. This compelling book is written from the heart and full of encouragement!”

Dr. Crawford W. Loritts Jr., author, speaker, radio host; senior pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Roswell, GA

When You Love a Prodigal is a goldmine of honesty, compassion, hope, and encouragement. If you love a prodigal, this is the book to read!”

Josh and Dottie McDowell, author/speaker, CRU

Christian Leadership Alliance is pleased to announce that Judy and Steve Douglass will be leading a special workshop at the Outcomes Conference 2020, specifically designed for anyone in ministry who is praying for a loved one who has wandered far from home.


What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

Upcoming Events

Check back later!