Guided Reflection: The Prodigal Son (Younger Son Perspective)

Age Range
Number of Participants
10-15 minutes

About the reflection

This is a reflection (suitable for ages 11-14) which helps the listener engage with the story of the Prodigal Son from the perspective of the younger son.

For a larger group and at least two group leaders

  • If you have a larger group it could be a good idea to read from the parable beforehand and give them a moment to reflect on which of the sons they relate to the most, older or younger
  • After a moment of silence split the room into older and younger son
  • Move to pre-allocated rooms with each team leader
  • The older son reflection can be found here

Getting comfortable 

Get the young people to find a comfortable space, either lying on the floor or in chairs depending on how alert you would like the listeners to be.

You can read out the reflection word for word from now…

Be aware of the floor beneath you… supporting you… try and relax all of your muscles and just let the tension go… starting with your feet… then your legs… your stomach… your shoulders… imagine that you are just melting into the floor… and finally… try and empty your mind… let your mind rest and let go of any thoughts or worries…

Be aware of your breathing… take a long deep breathe in… and then breathe out slowly… do that a couple more times…

Stay focused on your breathing…  concentrate on that movement of air in….. and out of your body… this time when you breathe in… imagine that you are breathing in peace and stillness… and as you breath out… let all the stress and worries leave your body… and just let go of any tension…

So breathe peace and stillness in… let stress and tension out…

It is important that as we move into this time with God that you have an open heart and a spirit of expectancy. Trust that God wants to talk to you and will in this time if you listen. As we open ourselves up to thinking about God’s love and our place in His family, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to be here to help us and guide us in this meditation…

Entering into the story 

I would like you to imagine you are sitting in a large field on a farm. It is the middle of the day. You can see clearly across the whole field. Where are you in the field?  Look around you, slowly. What can you see? Are there any animals? What is the weather like?

You are holding a bag of money. The money you have just demanded from The Father. How does it feel in your hands? You look behind you. The Father is standing there.  He is silent. What does his expression look like? Before he can say anything to you, you turn around and head out of the field, down the road.

The road branches off in a long and winding manner. There is plenty of time to walk slowly in the heat of the day.  What do you see as you walk? How do you feel? Have you started to think of what to spend your money on when you get to the nearest city? A lot further down the road you turn your head and look back. How does it feel to be this far away from home?

Are you excited once you reach the heart of the city? You have so much money and there is so much to do there.

This is a city where you can have EVERYTHNG and ANYTHING your heart desires. Anything you can think of it is there!

Have a look around. You feel your bag of money by your side. What will you spend your money on? What do you go to first? Decide what you want to do and go and do it! Remember, anything you can dream of is in this city!

After you have filled yourself with everything you want, you find the most expensive most lavish and beautiful hotel to stay in. What does it look like? You enter in and buy the most expensive, biggest room! You settle down to sleep.

When you awake you jump out of bed, refreshed. You grab your bag of money but realise that it is almost empty. You can’t pay the bill for your stay at the hotel. The manager is far from pleased. He throws you out into the street and tells you never to come back.

How did you spend all your money? You try and remember what you spent it on as you wander the streets. You wander all day trying to find somewhere to stay. You beg people to let you stay in their house just for one night. You are so tired. No one will let you stay. You eventually come to a small farm at the end of the city. The owner is there. You beg him to let you stay, just for one night. He tells you he has no space for you but and the best he can offer is one of the animal sheds. He says he can also give you a small wage if you help on the farm. It’s not much, but you are so desperate and exhausted you can’t refuse.

You start to work. How do you feel at this moment? You work for as long as you can….Do you think of home? You come to your senses! You thought that there were better things in the big city. Things that could make you happier. You think over all that has happened. Why did you want to leave The Fathers house?

You slowly get up and head back home, back down the long dusty road. The farmland comes up ahead in the distance. It gets nearer and nearer. As you get close you catch sight of a figure standing at the end of the road. It is a man. As you get closer you realise it is The Father! Suddenly, the father spots you and he runs towards you. How do you feel as you see him running to you? He looks happy and is shouting something. What is he saying? He reaches you. He throws his arms around you. How does it feel, to be held so lovingly?
What do you say to him? The father now turns to you and says…

“My son, it is right that we celebrate. You were lost and left for dead, but now you are home” …….. “All that is mine is yours”

* At this point leave a long period of silence*

Now become aware of being back in this room, lying on the floor. Think back over the meditation and see which part stood out the most for you. Perhaps it was working in the fields or was it when your younger brother took his inheritance from the Father or maybe it was when your younger brother left. Perhaps the moment that stood out for you was when your younger brother returned or was it when the father asked you to come and join the party. When you know which part of the meditation stood out sit up slowly.

**** You might want to get the young people to now share how they found the reflection. Try and challenge them as to what God might be trying to say to them about the things that stood out. If they don’t know then tell them not to worry but to keep it in their minds and come back to it in their own time ****