First of all, I truly sympathize with you in this trial, for our children are “near and dear to us” and it pains us to see them suffering due to a sinful lifestyle. You are surely right in bringing his addiction to alcohol before the Lord in prayer and asking for deliverance. You didn’t say whether or not he has placed his faith in Christ for salvation, so the first thing I would say is that if he isn’t saved he must come to Christ in true repentance and faith before he can experience “deliverance from sin.” Jesus promises believers deliverance in John 8:30-32, 34, 36: “As He (Jesus) spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE…Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin…Therefore if the Son MAKES YOU FREE, YOU SHALL BE FREE INDEED” (NKJV). If you have reason to believe that your son hasn’t believed on Christ your prayer should really be, “Lord, please humble my son and bring him to repent of his sins and to trust You as his Savior.”

As we just saw, a believer in Christ can experience true freedom from sin, yet they must avail themselves of His power. To experience the power of Christ one must yield to the Holy Spirit (Who indwells the believer…see John 15:15-17 and Ephesians 1:13) The Holy Spirit wants to empower us to live a godly life instead of being in bondage to our “sinful nature,” which the Bible refers to as “the FLESH.” In Galatians 5:16 we are promised, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” The Spirit will keep the flesh at bay by occupying us with Christ. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). As He presents Christ to us through the scriptures the lusts of the flesh will disappear like the dew with the rising sun and we will be “conformed to the image of Christ” (see 2nd Corinthians 3:18). So, if you have reason to believe that your son is a true believer who has been brought into bondage to his sinful nature, you need to pray specifically for the Lord to work in his heart and bring about real conviction of his sin, which in turn could lead to him repenting of it and confessing it to the Lord. This will result in him being restored to fellowship with the Lord and living a righteous life as we see in 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

As you pray intelligently in this matter, you must be patient as you wait for the Lord to work. You must also remember that His answer to your prayers is not simply because you are “a kind person who is always helping other people.” His answer will be “in His own way” and “in His own time.” Because of this we should always end our prayers for others by saying, “Your will be done.” Even our blessed Savior prayed those words during one of the most trying times in His life here on earth.  Shortly before going to the cross He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane three times with these words, “O Father, if it is possible, let his cup pass from Me; nevertheless, NOT AS I WILL, but AS YOU WILL” (Matthew 26:39,42, 44).

Now you may be thinking, “But surely it is the Father’s will for my son to be delivered from alcohol.” Scripture teaches us that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1st Timothy 2:4), yet not all men are saved. Why is that? Ah, because men also have a “will” and “their will,” because of sin, “is against God.” Jesus said to those who refused to believe on Him, “But YOU ARE NOT WILLING to come to Me that you may have life.” There is thus a “clashing of the wills” and we must acknowledge this and pray for God’s sovereign mercy to break down the will of those who are resisting His love and cause them to repent. While we pray to that end, we should also deal with them with gentleness, patience and humility, waiting for the Lord to produce the desired deliverance. Paul speaks of this in 2nd Timothy 2:24-26, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be GENTLE to all, able to teach, PATIENT, in HUMILTY correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”  (447.3)  (DO)