The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-22 is one of the most moving parables told by Jesus. Although many people see the story as the tale of a young man who goes wildly astray and has to come grovelling back to his father, in actuality the tale is about the welcoming, affirming, unfailing love of the Father. Jesus uses the parable to illustrate the longing of the Father to have His son back by His side again. The young man slides so far away from his Father only so that Jesus can illustrate that God longs for fellowship even with the most hopeless case.
It has been set to drama and to music. But this version is the best.
I present here the moving story song called ‘The Prodigal Son Suite’, by the late Keith Green, which contains probably the finest fast piano toccata in all of modern Christian music. I love playing this song on a grand piano – but it’s nothing like how Keith plays it!
Let this song minister God’s love to you, soak it up, live it and breathe it. Let it change you.
And if you’re interested, someone has even done a video play of the story too, to the same music:
And finally here are the lyrics:
I was dung hoeing out in the fields for the day
I was thinking of going, I had to leave right away
My life was just fading, and oh I felt so alone
The nearest young maiden was a full day’s ride from home
My father was reading the holy books in his room
My heart was just bleeding, I knew I had to go soon
He smiled and pointed to an old wooden chair
I wanted to hold him, but then I just wouldn’t dare
I said, Father, there’s so much to know
There’s a world of things to see
And I’m ready to go and make a life for myself
If you’ll give me what is mine
I will go, if I can have your blessing
But if you won’t bless my journey, I’m gonna leave anyway
Son, I’ve always tried my best for you
And if you must be leaving home, then go with the blessing of God
Not too many days later I was well on my way
I met a travelling stranger who seemed to have much to say
He told me tales of the city and all the women he’d had
I asked him wasn’t that sinful
He said, no, it isn’t that bad
And then a few days later, on an old city road
We were drowning in laughter, and we had women to hold
And this went on quite a long time, my father gave me a lot
But when my pockets were empty, my friends all left me to rot
Then a famine hit and drained the land
Everywhere I looked I saw starvation, and a job was so hard to find
I wandered through the city streets, competing for the food of common beggars
Until then I’d never known hunger, but now I wasn’t too proud
I finally found some employment, feeding pigs on a farm
I wasn’t treated to kindly though, I had to sleep in the barn
I had to eat with the swine
The bread I ate was like stone
It didn’t take too much time until I was dreaming of home
Oh, the servants there are better fed
If I could only have what my father gives them
I would truly need nothing more
Oh, I will go and say to him
I’m no longer worthy to be in your family
Will you take me as your servant, and let me live with them?
It didn’t take too long to pack my things
I left with only what I wore
As I prayed that I still had a home
I was near home in sight of the house
My father just stared, dropped open his mouth
He ran up the road, and fell to my feet, and cried, and cried
Father I’ve sinned, heaven the shame
I’m no longer worthy to wear your name
I’ve learned that my home is right where you are
Oh father, take me in
Bring the best robe, put it on my son!
Shoes for his feet, hurry, put them on!
This is my son who I thought had died
Prepare a feast for my son’s alive!
I’ve prayed and prayed, never heard a sound
My son was lost, oh thank you God he’s found!
My son was dead and he’s now alive!
Prepare a feast for my son’s alive!
My son was dead
My son was lost
My son’s returned in the hands of God!