The Prodigal Son

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The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) gives us a beautiful picture of how the Lord’s love works in our lives. The Lord gives us the gift of spiritual freedom, because true happiness depends on that freedom as we make our spiritual journey. But like the father welcoming the prodigal son, the Lord rejoices when we return to Him.

The Story

Read the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32.

Retelling of the story for younger children.

Key ideas for discussion:

  1. When the younger son returned home, how was he feeling?
  2. How does his father feel when his son returns?
  3. How did the other brother feel? Why did the older brother feel that way?
  4. What did the father say to his elder son? (“Son, you are always with me and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”)
  5. When are we like the prodigal son? (When we do what is wrong – turning away from the Lord – and then decide to stop doing it and do what is right.)
  6. How is the Lord like the father in this story? (The Lord is always ready to forgive us and help us do what is good.)

See Family Worship: The Prodigal Son for more discussion ideas.

Learn more about the prodigal son:

Projects and activities for various ages:

Further thoughts

The prodigal son and his elder brother both illustrates aspects of our life journey while the father pictures the Lord as our heavenly Father. The Lord permits us go our way, just as the father gave the younger son the freedom to live where and how he wished. But He rejoices for us when we choose to return to Him, because conjunction with the Lord will bring us much greater happiness than “prodigal living” can. The Lord in His mercy is always ready to forgive us and guide us along the pathway to heaven.