Like the Prodigal Son (I wandered in darkness)

This American southern gospel song is based on the parable of the Prodigal Son.

Many sources say that it was written by Lavon and Whitey Cantrell.   But this does not appear to be correct:  The song was recorded by the The Whitey Cantrell Singers on their self-released allbum "Ready Now to Go" (ref) , and the album notes describe the source as "unknown".   Sheet music for it was published by Homeward Bound Music of Stow, Ohio, USA in December 1978 (ref).  This sheet music is out-of-print, but it is visible in this video, and clearly says that it is "arranged by Lavon (Whitey) Cantrell", and does not attribute an author.

The song was also recorded by the Cathedral Quartet in 1979 on their album  You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet!, causing some people to think it was written by the Cathedrals.   However no evidence to support this has been found.



Small group with band, original recording:

Gospel quartet with piano:

Solo singer with band:

Instrumental - piano:

2014 recording - small group with band:


1. Like the prodigal son I wandered in darkness,
And I traded my life for a world of good time.
No peace in my heart I ever could find,
And I got so tired feeding after the swine.

So I believe I'll go home and eat with the Father.
The table is spread and they're waiting for me:
I can see the Father coming out to greet me
"Lord I'm willing to be just a servant for Thee."

2. Like the prodigal son I wandered from Jesus.
But the Good Shepherd saw through the heat and the cold
The ninety and nine He left in the fold
Just to find this lost sheep that was hungry and cold.

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