When Your Child Isn’t Doing Well In The Lord


There are few trials so tough on a parent as having a child who is not doing well with the Lord whether that child is young, a teen or grown.

When a child rejects the Lord and/or his parents, it’s grieving, sad, stressful, and a constant weight upon a parent’s heart. A couple suggestions:

  • Continue to love your child unconditionally? don’t make your acceptance and love for your child based upon whether they love Jesus or you
  • Continue to try to model Jesus Christ to your child
  • We should be more grieved that our child does not see the glory of Jesus than we are by their sin.

Not only can God save a child whenever he desires, but he can use the challenge of a rebellious child to produce good fruit in a parent’s life.?Here are a few ways:

  • It humbles us
  • It help us rely on God not methods
  • It exposes our own sin – anger, pride, fear of man, looking down on or judging others
  • It makes us more compassionate and merciful
  • It stretches our faith
  • It teaches us to do good to those who sin against us expecting nothing in return
  • It drives us to seek God in prayer ? for our child’s salvation, for wisdom, for grace
  • It produces patience, perseverance and long-suffering
  • It gives us an infinitesimal taste of what we’ve done to Christ and what God experiences every day from mankind
  • It reminds us of our own past sins against our parents
  • It reminds us that only God can save

Don’t stop thanking God for your child and praying for him or her. Remember, the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective, even if it doesn’t feel that powerful or effective. And the arm of the Lord is not too short to save ? he has a perfect timing for every person.

Never Miss Any Goodness

* indicates required


  • Elaine says:

    Excellent, Mark! Although the Lord has saved our children, there are still times they aren't doing well in the Lord and there are still so many in our family who do not know the Lord. We have been praying for them for years with what seems like no or very little results. But as hard, discouraging, and defeating it is somtimes, we'll keep on praying and trust Him with the results.

    "We should be more grieved that our child does not see the glory of Jesus than we are by their sin" and "It gives us an infinitesimal taste of what we’ve done to Christ and what God experiences every day from mankind" were just two quotes from the blog that were helpful in keeping a right perspective.

    Thanks again.

  • Scott Rhykerd says:

    Thanks for the reminder Mark. As parents we tend to grow weary and surely need this encouragment. If only Phylacteries were still fashionable Chris and I could hang this on ours. But will have to go with the frig instead..

  • Ron Reffett says:

    I would definitely echo what Elaine said Mark, we should definitely be more grieved by the fact that our kids don't see the glory of Jesus more than being angry with their external sins and failures. Kids,(teens especially!) have been tools of sanctifying grace in my life.i didn't think so at the time but man, my sinful heart was exposed many times. It's funny that you're writing on this as Jeannie and I were just talking about this very thing with some friends last night! Please pray for my stepdaughter Lauren, that she would indeed see the glory and grace of Jesus.
    Thanks for yet another timely and encouraging post!

  • Lori says:

    Great Post!

    The truth is that none of us are "doing well with the Lord". We get into trouble when we believe we are. This leads to spiritual pride and tends to show up in our expectations of others (why can't you be more holy?). Our kids need to see that we are "not getting it done" either. That's why we need Jesus. The only one that did well was Jesus. As parents, we tend to focus more on our child's inability to keep the law. Trust me, I've done it! But, our kids are just like us – lawbreakers. We can't keep it either.

    Coming shoulder to shoulder with our kids, admitting weakness, and rejoicing in Jesus and what he has done for sinners like us and them will help them to see God's grace. Because I don't know about you but I'm not doing such a great job of modeling Christ, and most days I myself miss seeing the "glory of Jesus". My son is 22 now, and more than anything I pray he knows how much God loves him in the midst of all his lawbreaking. I pray the same thing for myself :) Neither one of us have any hope apart from Jesus, the only One who kept the law perfectly!

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks for adding these comments, Elaine. Although I was primarily thinking of unsaved children, I'm glad you mentioned that even our saved children can have times when they aren't doing well in the Lord. I don't think there ever comes a time when we stop praying for our children.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks Scott. You and Chris certainly have persevered for a long time. God will answer our prayers! And if you guys would like to wear phylacteries, go for it!

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Hey Ron, welcome to my club – the sinful hearts club! I think it's somehow related to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club. I just prayed for Lauren…

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Excellent comments, Lori! Yes, we definitely need to admit alongside our children that we are sinners who need grace. I believe that humility will go along way to affecting our children. and you are so right – it is our expectations that get us into trouble. May God show all our children his glory and fill them with love for him

  • Jon says:

    Good stuff, Brother. Much of what you said is also helpful for those who may be grieving over an unbelieving spouse. For me, the most helpful statement you made was:

    “We should be more grieved that our child does not see the glory of Jesus than we are by their sin.”

    I think this is true for any unbeliever for whom we are praying or to whom we may be witnessing.

    Thanks again,


    P.S. This post was forwarded to me by my believing teenager who carries a burden for her sisters and mother.

  • Mark says:

    Here is an encouraging post from John Piper's son, Abraham, on this topic. It has provide us with much encouragement, particularly when tempted to think that our children's sins are all our fault. http://refinedfire.wordpress.com/2009/08/01/abrah

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks Jon! I hadn’t really thought about how this might apply to an unbelieving spouse but it certainly does. that’s pretty cool that your daughter would forward it to you.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks Mark! Appreciate you adding this in.

  • Blaine says:

    I needed that….thanks.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    I'm grateful, Blaine. Thanks for letting me know.

  • Mike Krolick says:

    Thanks for this encouragement, Mark. It was very timely to my situation.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks Mike, I'm grateful – and thank you for letting me know.

  • @agentm0m says:

    My child (15) now refuses to let me read the Bible with her. What else is there to live for? My oldest refuses to be baptized and now my youngest rejects the word of God. I don't know where I failed. I read them the Bible every day, and I loved them every day. I've lost them both. There is nothing left to live for.

  • Njjjjj says:

    They have their whole lives ahead if them – The Lord works in mysterious ways

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>