Prayer for Orion
Katherine James

Book cover image

Narrated By: Pam Ward

Duration: 7 hours and 52 minutes

What to expect

It’s always somebody else’s kid―until it’s yours. When Katherine James and her husband found out their son was using heroin, their responses ran the gamut: disbelief, anger, helplessness, guilt.

As they struggled to come to grips with their son’s addiction and decide how best to help him, their home became a refuge for an unlikely assortment of their son’s friends, each with their own story, drawn by the simple love and acceptance they found there―“the Lost Boys,” James calls them.

In this sensitive, vulnerable memoir, award-winning novelist James turns her lush prose to a new purpose: to tell her family’s story through the twists and turns of her son’s addiction, overdose, and slow recovery. The result is not just a look at the phenomenon of drug abuse in suburban America, but also a meditation on the particular anguish of loving a wayward child and clinging to a desperate trust in God’s providence through it all.


Christian life and practice, Relationships and families: advice and issues, Mind, body, spirit: thought and practice

Listen to a sample

A Prayer for Orion is one of the most important books of our time. With heartbreaking honesty and wide-eyed clarity, James offers us an intimate view of the opioid crisis. Her vulnerability, compassion, and sagacious insight confront our tendency to judge or distance ourselves from addicts—and instead invite us to lean in and love.”

Dorothy Littell Greco, author of Making Marriage Beautiful

“Addiction. Most of us don’t know what we don’t know. Katherine lets us learn with her on a journey of drugs and overdose with Sweetboy. A story filled with joy, fear, pain, deception, despair, hope, hope dashed, and hope restored. So many tears. And a God who comforts and sustains, who seems to disappear, then reappear. I wept, I held my breath, I turned the page—how can a mother endure? If you love a druggie or know someone who does, you will want to read this book.”

Judy Douglass, author of When You Love a Prodigal

“With absolutely piercing prose, Katherine James shows us not only how to write but she also gently, vulnerably shows us how to pray, to trust, and to love even when walking through pain and suffering. I ate it up in two days! A Prayer for Orion is about more than a son’s addiction or a mother’s love—it is about the relentless love of God, who is present right through whatever we imagine as the very worst. Read it, let it move around your heart and propel you to love your people, your place, and your own lost boys.”

Ashley Hales, author of Finding Holy in the Suburbs

“Kate James has done something most unusual. In her riveting memoir about her son’s life-and-death battle with heroin, she captivates your heart and educates you at the same time. Every chapter left me eager for more. Spiritual, yet far from preachy, James created a powerful combination of raw authenticity with hope-filled truth. A Prayer for Orion promises to enlighten the reader while giving hope to weary parents who are walking a similar path.”