Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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A Mother’s Absolute Surrender

Dannah Gresh: For nine years, Francine Perry’s daughter Laura lived as a man. But while the Lord was bringing Laura to the end of herself, Francine said God was also at work in her own heart.

Francine Perry: I mean, God broke me. He totally broke me to where the only place I could turn to was to Him.

Dannah: After surrendering to His will, she now allows the Lord to shape her.

Francine: I picture myself every morning getting on the Potter’s wheel. I show up in His factory. I put myself on the Potter’s wheel and just ask Him to continue to cut away from me everything that’s not like Jesus.

Dannah: Welcome to the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for June 2, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Today’s program is for anyone who loves a prodigal. It may be a mom or a grandmom, a brother or sister, an aunt, a friend. Sometimes you use that term “prodigal” to refer to someone who’s wayward, rebellious. They’ve left behind all they know to be good and true. They’ve gone their own way, and now they’re living far from the values that were instilled in them.

And today, June 2, is actually the worldwide Day of Prayer for the Prodigal. It’s a special day that’s been set aside for praying for our prodigal loved ones. If you want more information about that, you’ll find the link on the transcript for today’s program at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, yesterday on Revive our Hearts, we heard the stunning story of Laura Perry, a woman who could, for years, be rightly described as a prodigal daughter.

Laura Perry: I completely walked away from the faith. I told God I would never serve Him again and wanted to be the opposite of a Christian—whatever that was.

Nancy: At age twenty-five, Laura embraced the transgender lifestyle and began taking drastic steps to erase as many physical cues to her femininity as possible.

Laura: I started taking these hormones for almost nine years. I had my name and gender legally changed. In 2009 I went to San Francisco, and I had an outpatient double mastectomy.

Nancy: Then, by God’s grace, Laura recognized the emptiness of all she’d been pursuing. Little by little God gradually wooed her to Himself.

If you missed yesterday’s episode of Revive Our Hearts, I want to encourage you to go back and find it in your podcast feed, or you can listen to it atReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, throughout those nine years, the Lord was also at work in the heart of Francine Perry, Laura’s mother. Recently, Dannah Gresh and our friend Mary Kassian had a conversation with Francine. They wanted to hear her side of the story, too.

Francine lives in Oklahoma. Dannah is in her studio in Pennsylvania. And Mary’s at home in Alberta, Canada. But thanks to video-conferencing and technology, these three women were able to connect and visit with one another.

And, Lord, I just want to pray as we did yesterday that as moms whose hearts are breaking, or others who have prodigals that they love, as they listen to Francine’s story today, may their hearts be infused with a fresh dose of hope, encouragement, perspective, and faith in that long-waiting period. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Now, let’s listen. Here’s Dannah.

Dannah: I want to know: When did you know that your sweet daughter Laura was struggling with her gender?

Francine: The night that she announced to us, on our fortieth wedding anniversary, in 2008. We were all having dinner together. When she walked into the restaurant, I saw that she had really cut her hair extremely short. I didn’t say anything at that time, but after Paul excused himself to go to the men’s room, I looked at her. I said, “Laura, are you trying to look like a man?”

Tears began streaming down her face, and she said, “Yes, Mom. I am.”

Mary Kassian: And you had no clue before that point that she was struggling at all?

Francine: No. I did not even know that. I found out later that she had been on testosterone for over a year when she finally told us. She lived about an hour away, so we saw her some. She had cut her hair some, but not to the point it was that night. So we didn’t know anything about the testosterone, nothing.

Dannah: How did the rest of that night go?

Francine: Well, immediately I felt that proverbial elephant sitting on my chest. I thought I was just going to throw up there in the restaurant. I didn’t say anything to her, and we didn’t say anything to Dad because we were in a public place.

After we had dinner and everything, then, when we went to her apartment, I told her. I said, “You are going to tell your dad when you told me.”

She began crying, and she said, “I don’t want to tell Dad.”

I said, “We’re not leaving until you do.”

So she really did then have to tell her dad that night. He really didn’t have a whole lot of reaction. I don’t know if he was stunned. But neither one of us really came back at her. We didn’t really get angry that night at her.

We drove home, an hour back home. Not one word was said. I think we both were stunned. A lot of this is not in her book or the testimony, but we had had different crises with Laura since she was sixteen. So now she’s twenty-five, and each time we thought we had her in a better place and thought she was doing better.

We had even had her a year and a half in a home in the Rocky Mountains of Montana for teenagers that were struggling and dealing with trauma. She had had an incident when she was sixteen that really sent her into a downward spiral. But we thought we had her in a better place, so we were just stunned. It’s like, “Now we have something else to deal with.”

Mary: So the upheaval and the difficulty in your relationship had been for several years then. There was a long-standing pattern of Laura having difficulty one way or the other. And you say that started when she was sixteen? Or was it before that?

Francine: I know in her testimony she talks about a difficult relationship with me from a little girl. And see, I never saw any evidence of that in the home. I never saw it, and she never verbalized it.

I know in her book and her testimony, she tells about being molested by a neighborhood boy when she was around eight or nine, and I did not know that until I heard it in her testimony. She never came to us and told us that.

But when she was sixteen, she was the victim of a sexual crime. It was a boy in our little town that had raped and molested multiple girls, but his father was a police detective. I was working in the Mid-High, in the High School. One of my teacher friends told me that her daughter came home and told her that one of the boys at school was telling everyone, “I scored another goodie-two-shoes over the weekend.”

Dannah: And that was Laura?

Francine: Yes.

Dannah: Oh my goodness.

Francine: She found out at school that another teacher told me. And so when I got home that afternoon from school, she was on the floor of the den cuddled up on the floor in a fetal position.

Mary: How did you feel when you realized that things were going poorly for your daughter, that this had happened? How do you react as a mom at that point in time?

Francine: Feeling guilty. I really struggled with feeling guilty. You know those questions:

  • “If I had been a better mom . . .”
  • “What did I do?”
  • “What could I have done differently?”

All those different things. I just questioned God even at that point, many years ago. Our family was in church every time the door’s open. I’m the church pianist. We’re in the choir. We’re the chaperones and sponsors for the youth. We go on all these youth mission trips. “Why is this happening to our family?” We’re doing our best to serve God. So I really was struggling with that.

I was feeling inadequate as a mother. I really went through a time of that. I took all the guilt and the blame on myself.

Mary: How did Laura react when you tried to help her, when you tried to speak into her life? What was her reaction toward you?

Francine: At age sixteen, we took her to a place for some counseling, and she was not interested. Then we went to court to get a protective order against this young man. She was very angry with us because the kids at school were saying, “Oh, Laura, you all don’t need to be doing that. It’s not that big a deal.”

She was very angry with us, even the day we went to court. She said, “I’m just mad at you all for doing this. This is not necessary,” etc., etc.

So I don’t know why her reaction was that way except her peers at school were giving her a hard time about it. And unbeknownst to me (she told me this later), she was in one of my classes at school. At that time they could take what we would call a water bottle, but they were opaque. You couldn’t see what it was an all. I found out that she had liquor in hers and was flaunting it to everyone. It was a very difficult situation.

Dannah: So what we have here is a prodigal child. So many moms, grandmoms—if you’re listening right now—know that pain. Let’s go to your heart. What’s going on in your heart? You said, “Mom guilt.” I think every mom can identify with that, but when it’s a prodigal, that might be on steroids. What does that feel like? Take us to a day or a moment where you’re really wearing that heavily.

Francine: Probably immediately after she announced to us that she was transgender because, at this time, she’s twenty-five. We had had some good times before this because. As I said, we thought we had her in a good place. But when she announced this, for the first few days I was just so stunned. I didn’t even know what a transgender was. We’re talking 2008, and it really wasn’t talked about much. It sure was taboo at that time.

So I wasn’t real clear . . . I did not even want her to come to church, because I didn’t want people at church to know what was going on.

Dannah: Were you struggling with shame?

Francine: Yes.

Dannah: What other words would you use to describe how you felt at that time?

Francine: I felt really ashamed. I felt guilty. You had these thoughts that people are thinking. You’re trying to assume what people are thinking . . . like, “I just can’t believe you all can’t get a grip on Laura. You’ve done all these things, etc., and here you all are still having trouble with her. Is God punishing you?” So you kind of go through some of those feelings.

I’ve learned since how to react correctly to circumstances and trials that come into my life. I didn’t react quite so well initially, in the beginning.

Dannah: What do you wish you had done differently? Help the mom or grandmom listening right now who, tomorrow they’re going to have that dinner on their anniversary. What would you have done differently?

Francine: I’ll tell you what I did that night: That night, I came home, and I was on my face before the Lord. I just really came to a point of what I call absolute surrender. Because so many times we try to fix everything. I was a fixer. If something was wrong, I had a plan. Here’s step 1, 2, and 3, and we are going to fix this problem.

But that night, I knew God had allowed something to come into my life that I could not fix. I tell you, when they are bent on doing something, there’s nothing you can say. So I had to learn that.

God really impressed upon me, “Francine, you need to work on your relationship with Him.” And I would have just immediately surrendered her to Him. “God, I can’t fix this. I am going to keep my hands off.”

And I’ve learned, like in 2 Chronicles, “We don’t know what to do, so our eyes are on You.”

Mary: Would you say that was an ah-ha moment for you?

Francine: Absolutely!

Mary: Would you say that prior to that point you were holding on to who Laura was and getting her to a good place, and you felt the responsibility?

Francine: Absolutely I did!

Mary: That moment when she came out to you was the moment you realized you couldn’t fix what was going on.

Francine: Yes. When we had this other issue with her, she got into Satanism when she was around sixteen and seventeen. She was drinking and doing all kinds of things that we didn’t have that going on in our home at all. There was never alcohol, never anything. So when we had these problems with her, my plan was, “We have got to find somewhere for her to go to get help.”

That’s when we found this home in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, because she was involved in a satanic group here. They were calling our home. It was just becoming almost unbearable. We were losing her rapidly.

Mary: Did you ever get to the point of giving up on Laura?

Francine: Only for a short five or ten seconds.

Dannah: When was that?

Francine: That was the night that she came out as transgender. And later, maybe it was the next day. I said to my husband, “You know, we have had so much with her. I’ve just almost had it. I’ve just almost had it up to here.”

Because she became very rebellious. She didn’t care if she lost her family. We tried to talk to her. She has a brother and sister and two little nieces, and it did not matter. She was going to do what she wanted to do, no matter what.

Several times she told me she hated me. She hated me. She verbalized it to my face. And right after we took her to the Rocky Mountains, she was supposed to have been a bridesmaid in her brother’s wedding. I would not let her come home because I knew she would get involved again because the satanic group had already been calling our house. They were mad at us. We wouldn’t tell where she was, and they wanted her to come home. I knew she would be right back with them even though she promised me she would not.

So we didn’t let her come home for her brother’s wedding. And for years she hated me for that until a few years ago. She said, “I know now it was my fault that I did not get to come home to Brian’s wedding.”

Mary: What would you say to parents who are right in the middle of a situation like that? They’re walking a very tough path because there’s this destructive behavior in the child, and there needs to be consequences, but the child’s rebellious. They’re right at that point where you don’t know what to do. Do you let the child have the consequences and let them go? How do you wrestle through that kind of scenario?

Francine: A couple of things: The night that we came home from her coming out, that next day I began a journey of saturating myself in God’s Word—and I mean six, seven hours a day. He took me through a process—I call it my “Roto-Rooter Experience,” because He brought many things to my mind that . . . He wanted to do a work in me also.

For several months I just prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal things to me that needed to be confessed. He brought up things from my past. He began to clean and work on me. And the Word of God was just washing over me.

I remember in that time of just absolute surrender to Him. He just gave me a peace that I can’t even describe. In the midst of the trauma, in the midst of the pit, when I didn’t know how it was going to turn out, God sustained me, and He carried me.

Mary: That’s such a rich truth that you’re sharing right there, Francine, such a rich truth. Because it’s not just women with prodigals, but even in difficult marriages or whatever difficulty, we tend to say, “God, fix it! Fix it! Fix it!” We want to focus on fixing the other person instead of allowing the Lord to do a deep work in our own heart and our own lives.

So that, to me, is such a piece of wisdom right there that. Instead of trying to focus on, “God, fix her,” it was like, “God, I need You. I need You to do a work in my heart.”

Francine: Absolutely!

Dannah: In fact, I want to ask some questions about that because Laura’s been pretty brave and confessed pretty transparently her sin. What were the things you were confessing to the Lord as He was doing his “Roto-Rooter work” on you? What were the things you were confessing, Francine?

Francine: For much of my adult Christian life, how I thought you became more spiritual was by all my activity. I was in the church every time the door was open. I was teaching. I was playing the piano, etc., etc. But yet, He began to show me, “That is not how you become spiritual because you are still dealing with envy. You’re still dealing with jealousy. You’re still dealing with resentments in your life. You’re still dealing with all of these things, and you’re not having any victory over them.”

I had roots of bitterness. I had roots of resentment. I felt jealous of different people. I felt envious of different people. “Their kids are just flying right. Mine’s not.” So all these different things, and always feeling like—and boy, I hate to say this—because of everything I was doing, I was more spiritual than people who were not there doing.

Mary: When Laura started her problems, if you were “Miss Perfect Christian” in your church, then all of a sudden that image goes out the window.

Francine: Yes! It goes out the window! And this is one thing that He really convicted me of one night. I play the piano at church, and so we are on a platform. During the sermon I’m sitting in a chair, and I face out over the lower floor and the balcony. Laura had called me, and she asked me, “I want to come to church, and go to lunch with you and dad.” Now, this was after she had come out to us. She looks . . . I just can’t even describe how she looked.

Dannah: Not like Laura.

Francine: Not like Laura. If I had passed her on the street, I would not have known it was my own daughter. I knew that if she came to church, all my friends were going to be saying, “Who is that with you?” And I didn’t want to tell anybody or let anybody know. I’m still trying to keep up this, “Our family doesn’t have problems.”

So I’m sitting there on my little chair, and I’m looking all through the audience,I thought, Whew, I don’t think I see her. But then my eyes landed on who I thought was Laura. God really convicted me because I was more concerned about what people would think of me than my child being there, and the sermon was on the prodigal. He really hit me hard.

Dannah: Well, Laura says two things.

One is that the fact that you allowed the Lord to hit you hard and do that work of ripping out the roots of perfectionism and pride. That was one of the things that was most winsome for her in terms of eventually coming back to the Lord.

Mary: She expressed that seeing you change was what enabled her to have faith in a God who had such power to change you. That’s what made God attractive to her, was to see Jesus in you.

Francine: That’s what she says. But it’s all He wants. I’m very visual, so I picture myself every morning getting on the Potter’s wheel. I show up in His factory. I put myself on the Potter’s wheel and just ask Him to continue to cut away from me everything that’s not like Jesus, because I wanted people to be able to see in me someone that can have victory over a circumstance, victory over the works of the flesh in a temple that’s yielded to Him, and let the Holy Spirit work in them.

I had that life of Jesus within me for years, but I wasn’t letting it be lived and empowered by the Holy Spirit. That’s what He really taught me.

Mary: Francine, you had a long period of time, though. I mean, that was the start of the journey, that night that Laura came out. After that point, it was nine years until she turned the corner to come back home, so to speak, to come home to the Lord. And nine years is a long time.

Francine: Yes. Very long.

Mary: There’s a lot of days that go into nine years. Give us a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in your mother’s heart as the days turned into weeks, turned into months, and you saw that your daughter was just getting further and further into the transgender lifestyle.

Francine: God broke me. He totally broke me to where the only place I could turn to was Him.

A friend had given me Andrew Murray’s books, Absolute Surrender, and Humility. And so those two books, plus my Bible, I lived in them for six months. I began to pray a lot of those principles about absolute surrender and humility into my life.

As I began to work on my relationship with Him, and, as I said, I was in the Word six, seven hours a day. My husband and I were attending a home Bible study. I was going to the women’s, and my husband was going to the men’s. I was in their home, going to Bible study, three times a week. I began bringing the DVDs home, the video series, and I was transcribing the notes. We were making notes in notebooks, so everybody had notes and could understand the Bible study better.

I began to pray immediately that God would give me a ravenous appetite for His Word that could not be satisfied, and He did. He put passion and zeal in me almost immediately to study. Then He allowed me the privilege of beginning to teach His Word.

I started teaching in this home. We outgrew the home, and we went to a room down at our church. Then we outgrew that, and we had to go to the sanctuary. I named it, “Come Grow with Me” because I wanted to grow in Christ and be controlled by the Holy Spirit because that’s the only way I could stay above water.

Dannah: If you’re listening, and you’re thinking, I wouldn’t have that kind of time to spend in God’s Word. Well, when you hit ground zero, you find that time real fast. I’ve been at that place in my marriage once where just the schedule got cleared out. I just sat with the Lord, and I sat with my friends, and I prayed with my friends. Mary was one of those friends. You find that time when you’re desperate enough.

And here’s an interesting thing: You’re taking me to a point in the story that I find really intriguing, because God does this healing work in your heart. Now you’re a teacher—you’re teaching the Word—to the point where you need a website set up for your students.

And who do you turn to to say, “Hey, I need to put together this Bible study website.” Who do you turn to? You turned to your transgender daughter.

Francine: Yes.

Dannah: That shocked me when I heard that.

Francine: Well, that’s what her degree’s in—multimedia communications and something. She has a degree in all of that. So, I thought because the Bible study was just growing, and God was blessing it. They were asking me to do a website for people that were out of town, weren’t in our church, or if they happened to be sick, or some of them worked, or whatever.

So I just called Laura and I said, “I would like a website, and I have no clue how to do it, but I know you do. I’ll pay you.”

Well, “I’ll pay you,” was the magic word because she needed the money.

Dannah: What impact did that have on her?

Francine: She didn’t think too much about it. “Mom needs a website. She’ll pay me.” That’s all she really thought about. I had no ulterior motive; I really didn’t. But she began to think as she was doing the website, “I bet it would help people to be attracted to her Bible study if they just had a little summary of the lesson on the website before you see the video and the pdf notes.”

And she said, “I’ll just read a little bit of the lesson. I’ll write a summary—just dangle a carrot out there to see if we can draw people in.”

She began to read the lessons. She began to see that the Bible . . . It just came alive to her, and God really began to work in her heart.

Mary: Francine, what advice would you give? You went through nine years of walking this path where Laura had a partner who was also a transgender, and you had to deal with holidays. You had to deal with: “What do you do about having her in your home?” How do you interact with her?” What advice would you give to parents who are in a similar situation and are dealing with those things on a daily basis?

Francine: Ours was not quite so difficult as some of them might be. She never allowed us to see her partner because she didn’t want us to know. We offered many times for her partner to come when we would go take her to supper and different things. There was always an excuse. The bottom line was, she didn’t want us to know.

When she was here with our other two children and our two little grandchildren, that was a little bit more difficult, but we loved her unconditionally. But in our home, there were certain things that we abided by. You know, “You respect our rules and stuff when you’re in our home.”

If there’s a partner involved, I would have them in the home and hope they see Jesus in me. And I know some that have seen the partner won to Christ because of the parents of the transgender

Dannah: I love that!

Francine: And the partners won to Christ eventually wound up leading their child back to Christ.

Dannah: So you’re holding this tension of your convictions and the truth of the Scripture, and one of those truths did create tension because it was the love of Christ, the kindness of Christ. Loving them and having compassion for her and for her partner was an important thing for you.

Francine: Sure. I love one thing that Laura says. When they come to the end of themselves, and most prodigals will come to the end of themselves—it may take a while—but she said they always return to the people that spoke truth to them.

Mary: Laura also mentioned that you called her Laura.

Francine: Absolutely! That’s who she was.

Mary: You didn’t call her Jake?

Francine: Never.

Mary: You used female pronouns for her.

Francine: Yes.

Mary: You didn’t use male pronouns.

Francine: No.

Mary: And that angered her.

Francine: Yes.

Mary: And yet, at the same time, it anchored her. It not only angered her, it anchored her and confronted her with the truth about her identity.

Francine: Yes.

Mary: That must have been hard. It would have been easier, perhaps, to say, “I’ll just do it Laura’s way.” So how did you wrestle through that?

Francine: I really didn’t wrestle because I knew that I had to stand for the truth of God’s Word. He had me in a really good place. He was sustaining me. He was giving me a peace that passes all understanding. I am not going to compromise the truth of God’s Word to satisfy somebody’s sin over here.

I wasn’t ugly about it. I told her, “You cannot expect me to call you a different name when I have known you this way for twenty-five years. I cannot change overnight.”

But then it became, “I will not change because I’m standing by the truth of God’s Word.”

So it was never with anger or malice or anything like that. It was always just, “This is the way it is.” I just resorted to calling her “Honey.”

Dannah: Well, you know what? There’s wisdom in that, isn’t there? Because you don’t need to antagonize and aggravate and prove your point over and over. But you do need to love and hold on to your convictions. I love that. What a good solution.

Francine: I am going to be held responsible for what I say, what I believe, and if I compromise. I am not accountable to God for anyone else, but I am for myself.

Dannah: I think one of the most remarkable things that I’ve heard Laura say is that the day she came out to you was—and I quote, “The day I felt most loved.”

Francine: I heard her say that because she saw the pain on our faces. She saw the tears that streamed down our faces.

Dannah: And there were tears streaming down her face.

Francine: Yes. Everybody had tears. Yet she was bent. There was nothing we could say or do. Nothing we could hang over her head that was going to change her mind.

Dannah: All you could do was love her.

Francine: Se would just have to watch it. I always felt like He would bring her back. I didn’t know when. I had to come to terms with it may not be in my lifetime. I may not see it.

One of the ladies in my Bible study died a couple of years ago—she’s my age. Her son was in our Prodigal Prayer Basket, and he’s about forty. She had prayed and prayed for him to come back to the Lord, but she never saw it. But he did, a year later. And so her prayers were answered—not in the way she maybe would have liked it, but she will see him in heaven now.

Mary: I love that word: Prodigal Prayer Basket because I think that’s where we need to put our prodigals.

Francine: It is launching in the United States. I’ve gotten quite a few calls now of people that are wanting to know how to start it. A man in Missouri built one. It’s a beautiful box and almost everybody in his church put a name in it the first Sunday. He said it was a wonderful service.

Nancy: We’ve been listening to a conversation between Dannah Gresh, Mary Kassian, and Francine Perry, who, for many years, was the mother of a prodigal daughter.

Whether or not you have a prodigal in your family, maybe your creative juices are starting to flow. You’re thinking about ways that you can implement a prayer basket for prodigals in your church. Here’s my advice: Go for it! Do it! Ask the Lord for a practical way to do that in your setting. Think of what a joy it will be to begin to see answers to prayer as God turns around the hearts of prodigals that you and your church are praying for.

What an encouragement it is to hear how the Lord was at work in Francine’s heart during Laura’s years of rebellion. Francine will lead us in prayer in just a moment.

But first, I want to let you know that Laura shares more about her journey in her book called, Transgender to Transformed. I read this book not long ago. I could hardly put it down as Laura shared how the Lord was pursuing her heart even when she was dead set against Him—hell bent. She wanted nothing to do with the Lord, but He would not let her go.

I’d love to get a copy of this book into your hands. Even if you’re not facing this transgender issue in any personal way in your own family. For one, you may be before you know it. And regardless, I think in this day it is so important for all of us to really see the power of God to transform and bring back the most hardened hearts.

My dad used to say it this way: “There’s no tough nuts for God to crack.” And that includes your prodigal or the prodigal of someone that you know and love.

You’d be so encouraged as you see the power of God over a seemingly hopeless situation like Laura’s.

Well, Laura’s book, Transgender to Transformed, is our way of saying thank you when you make a donation of any size to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts this week.

To make your gift and to ask for your copy of Laura’s book, just visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959. And thank you so much for your support and your partnership as Revive Our Hearts tries to help women in every culture in every season of life around the world experience the beauty of living out God’s design for their lives.

Now tomorrow, Laura Perry joins us in the Revive Our Hearts virtual studio. She’ll help us understand more of what was going on in her mind as she embraced a transgender identity. I hope you’ll join us for that.

And let me remind you that today is the worldwide Day of Prayer for the Prodigal. And I want to make sure we actually spend some time praying.

As we say that, I’m thinking about a particular member of my extended family who is not walking with the Lord at all—walking in a far country, living as a prodigal. You may have a son or a daughter or grandchild, niece or nephew, a friend, perhaps somebody in your workplace who is a prodigal, and right now they’re living in darkness. And you’ve been pouring out your heart to God, maybe for years, asking Him to rescue that one you love.

Well, right now, let’s join our hearts together and lift these prodigals up to the Lord—maybe just lift up your hands right where you are and imagine that prodigal, that son, that daughter, that person, that young adult, that teenager, and just imagine their name in your hands there. Lift that name, lift that person, that prodigal up to the Lord as we pray together on this worldwide Day of Prayer for the Prodigal.

Dannah: Francine, I’m going to ask you to hold the worldwide Prodigal Prayer Basket in your hands right now, and would you just pray over every name? Jesus knows them.

Francine: Yes. That’s true.

Father, we just come to You. Lord, how grateful we are for the gift of Jesus Christ. And, Lord, I thank You so much for restoring Laura and restoring many other prodigals. I just pray for the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers, aunts, and uncles, whoever is sitting with a heavy heart because they have a child or a loved one in their lives that has walked away from You, and they have turned from the faith they once confessed.

We know many are just like the prodigal, and at some point they’re going to wind up in the pig’s sty. We just look forward to the day that You will work in their heart. You are the only one that can do this work in them.

Lord, I pray that all these mothers and those that are affected will just put their prodigal in Your hand. We confess to You that there is nothing we can do or say except work on our relationship with You so that they see Jesus in us and then He becomes so attractive that they want Him more than anything.

I just pray that You would comfort their hearts. Give them the peace that is only found in You, because if they don’t have it, they’re going to live with anxiety. They’re going to live with fear and depression over these prodigals. 

But God, I know we don’t have to live that way. I just pray for each one, that they will turn to You. That they will have this ah-ha moment, that “I can have the peace of Jesus Christ and have victory in this situation even though I’m in a pit.”

You’re the only one that can cause us to rise above it. I just pray that You would show that to these moms especially, and that You would just begin to heal their hearts and free them from the anxiety that they feel. I just pray that as they find their rest and their abundant life in You, Lord, that You would lift the burden of their prodigal. I just know that You will stir in the hearts; You will do the work.

We don’t know what to do. We confess that to You. So our eyes are on You. I thank You in advance for all the prodigals that are going to be prayed out of the baskets. We just commit them to You and lay them at Your feet. In Christ’s name, amen.

Dannah: Amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth invites you to a life of absolute surrender. We’re an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teachers

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian is an award-winning author, an internationally-renowned speaker, and a frequent guest on Revive Our Hearts. She has written more than a dozen books and Bible studies, including Conversation Peace, Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild, and The Right Kind of Strong.

Mary and her husband, Brent, have three sons and six grandchildren and live in Alberta, Canada. The Kassians enjoy biking, hiking, snorkeling, music, board games, mountains, campfires, and their family’s black lab, "The Queen of Sheba."

Dannah Gresh

Dannah Gresh

When Dannah Gresh was eight years old, she began praying that God would use her as a Bible teacher for “the nations.” When she sees the flags of many countries waving at a Revive Our Hearts event, it feels like an answer to her prayer.

Dannah is the founder of True Girl which provides tools for moms and grandmothers to disciple their 7–12 year-old girls. On Monday nights, you’ll find Dannah hosting them in her online Bible study. She has authored over twenty-eight books, including Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, Lies Girls Believe, and a Bible study for adult women based on the book of Habakkuk. She and her husband, Bob, live on a hobby farm in central Pennsylvania.

About the Guest

Laura Perry

Laura Perry

Laura Perry is a former transgender whose message of transformation through Jesus Christ to restore her feminine identity can relate to those who struggle, those who have transitioned, parents and loved ones, and those in the church who want to reach them. Her story is told in her autobiography, Transgender to Transformed. Above all, her goal is to glorify Christ and tell others how He can overcome any sin or struggle. She encourages others to surrender their lives fully to Jesus and identify as who He created them to be. She also works to expose unbiblical thinking regarding sexuality and aids legislation to protect children from these lies. Laura currently serves on the staff of First Stone Ministries in Oklahoma City.