Praying for Your Prodigal is a short supplementary work that Kyle Idleman wrote to elaborate on his outstanding book Aha. While Idleman does an excellenct job of developing his first book, Aha, he adds some valuable insights that address an issues that troubles a number of Christian parents, “What can I do for my child who has fallen astray?”
Idleman starts the book with a short introduction that explains the concept that he refers to as “Aha”.This introduction will prove helpful to those who haven’t read his earlier work. This section is brief but will provide a recap of the foundational issues that he is going to address in this supplementary work. The great advantage to this is that this work can function as a standalone work without reading the earlier work. Ideally of course, the reader will get the most out of this book if they have read both works in order.
The structure of this book is one of its most appealing qualities. Each chapter starts with a letter or a story. These are written in the first-person and show the various kinds of prodigals and their situations. They provide for the reader both a direct application and clear, understandable illustrations of what it means to be a prodigal. The body of each chapter is written in a strong, clear manner that will be both accessible and relevant to all levels of readers Additionally, Idleman uses a rich array of scripture in a way that is both in context and applicable to the topic at hand. He does this in a comfortable, narrative style that makes the message more accessible and applicable. Idleman ends each chapter of this book with a prayer for the kind of prodigal or the situation that a prodigal might be going through. These prayers provide an excellent opportunity for reflection. Not only does this chance to stop and reflect in prayer proves more effective than a summary ever could, but also gives parents the words to serve as a starting place to express to our Lord the trials they are going through.
This book could serve a number of ministry needs. Most simply it could be a daily devotional. The combination of letters, teachings, and prayers are succinct enough that they would serve well as a quick study to start each day with and reflect on throughout. Another good use would be a retreat: women’s, men’s, parents, etc. It is short enough overall and compartmentalized enough in it’s chapters in a way that would make it easy to cover in a 1-2 day retreat. Lastly, the book would make a good transitional home study. While it’s somewhat short for a full study, this book could work well as either a transition or as a work for a first time teacher.
The only element of the book that I had mixed feeling about was that Idleman kept quoting various translations of the Bible. For instance, he will shift for the Living Bible to the NKJV, to the NSAB. The advantage to this is that it is inclusive of all the different versions that the readers might use themselves. It unfortunately also gives the impression that he is picking and choosing those translations to fit what he is trying to say rather than him saying what is actually written. I’m sure, from what I have read by Idleman, that his purpose is the former, but I think readers would get more from a single translation.
On the positive side, this is and excellent book with an awesome reader that will be an inexpensive addition to your Christian audio collection. You will be blessed for having read it either by itself or in conjunction with its predecessor Aha.
Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.
A copy of the book was generously offered to Dr. Nicholson by christianaudio.com in exchange for this unbiased review.