When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 (TM)
What has always impressed me about the story of the Prodigal was the fact that the father didn’t go chasing after his son. There was no seeking him out in the distant land – no confrontation in the pig pen in which the father says, "son you’re coming home with me." The father gave his son the opportunity to fail. The story says he saw his son from a "long way off" so he must have been watching the road, praying for his return. Nevertheless, he let him go.