"In his story of the prodigal son, Jesus does not dwell on the prodigal's motive for return. The younger son feels no sudden remorse nor burst of love for the father he insulted. Rather, he tires of a life of squalor and returns out of selfish motives. Apparently, it matters little to God whether we approach him out of desperation or out of longing."
From Soul Survivor: How My Faith Survived the Church by Philip Yancey