By Tessa Emily Hall, Crosswalk.com
Think back to when you were a teenager. (Some of you may have to go way back but don’t worry, no one is judging here!) As the blissful naïve bubble of childhood popped and you became introduced to the “real world” during adolescence, can you remember the temptations and pressures that greeted you? Perhaps this is why you wish to keep a close eye on the teenagers in your life. Although you may not be able to do that 24/7, fortunately, you serve a God who is omnipresent. He can war on his/her behalf. And when you speak prayers for teenagers that are in agreement with His will and His Word, you can release these teens into the palm of His hands.
So whether you have teenagers of your own, nieces or nephews, grandkids, or even cousins who are teens, there are several ways that you can make a difference in that person’s life simply by the power of your prayers.
How Do I Pray for My Teenagers?
I have often found myself, when praying for loved ones, uttering selfish prayers. Are you familiar with these kinds of pleas? These requests are expressed out of desperation that loved ones will make the decisions I want them to make. For example, “God, please help my teenager to sign up for the mathletes club instead of the video game club.” But even though these prayers may be spoken with good intentions, we can ultimately risk using the power of intercession for harm by becoming spiritually controlling in our prayers.
And, frankly, that was never how God intended us to use this gift.
In order to know how to effectively pray for these teens, we need to first grasp what the Word says about how God does want us to use prayer.
1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
It’s interesting how this Scripture emphasizes that prayers must be in alignment with God’s will. This implies we must remain in a state of surrender and humility.
This is also blatantly stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
It is from this stance of humility that God goes to work on behalf of our prayers. We must continue to seek His face first in our lives, yielding to His ways and His Word. When we pray with this approach, we are, in a sense, telling God, “You hear my desires, my requests—but I want your will, not mine. I know that you have the ultimate authority, and I trust in your sovereign control.”
We can trust that God hears these prayers for the teenagers in our lives. They are, after all, His children first, and it is His desire for “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (see 2 Timothy 2:4).
Another thing to keep in mind is that we do not need to pray from a place of fear. This, of course, is a common temptation for the parents of teens; after all, what loving parent isn’t concerned for the well-being, safety, and future of their child?
Yet we were never created to carry unnecessary weight in regards to situations (and people) we cannot control. When we begin to feel burdened over the teenagers in our lives, let’s follow the principle laid out in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Isn’t it wonderful to have the reassurance that God goes to work in response to our humble prayers? It’s such a gift to have the opportunity to not only commune with the Creator of the Universe but to transfer our anxieties over to Him. He can handle it. And according to the verse above, when our prayers are sprinkled with thanksgiving, His blanket of peace will then dissolve the anxieties that once burned on our hearts.
Of course, there is much to be concerned about when parenting a teenager. How can you be sure that you are, in fact, praying in agreement with God’s Will and His Word? See below for a list of prayer ideas for the teenagers in your life.
Teenage Prayer Ideas
Pray that they will come to know Christ, accept Him as their personal Savior, and have the desire to serve Him and read His Word.
Pray that they will have a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6) and recognize their emptiness apart from Christ.
Pray that they will remain protected both physically and spiritually. We often remember to pray for angels to guard the teenagers in our lives (as addressed in Psalm 91), but we often forget to pray that they will remain strong against the attacks of the enemy. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Ultimately, we know the enemy cannot harm those who are covered by the blood of the lamb. Let’s pray that these teenagers will submit to God and resist the devil because then he will flee (James 4:7).
Pray that they will be strengthened to resist temptation and draw strength from Christ in their weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Pray that they will be a light for their peers, “like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Pray that, instead of giving in to negative peer pressure, they will instead become a role model and “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Pray that they will have the wisdom to make the right decisions as they plan for their futures. As a teenager, it can be overwhelming to realize that your future is ultimately determined by the choices that you make during this time. Pray that God will guide their steps (Proverbs 16:9) so that they can live out the story He has written over their lives (Psalm 139:16).
Pray that they will be good stewards of their time and resources,“working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23).
Pray that these teenagers will receive the peace of “mind and heart” that Jesus granted us when He departed from this earth in flesh (see John 14:27).
Pray that they will have the joy of the Lord, which can be their strength (Nehemiah 8:10). If we remain focused on the destruction of this world, we can easily fall prey to discouragement. Pray that these teens will instead fix their eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18) and find the strength to persevere stemmed from the joy of knowing Christ.
Pray that they will discover their identity in Christ and develop their unique gifts. As teens compare themselves to the filtered version of other teens on Instagram, their confidence and identity becomes threatened. They may then try and define who they are by hanging out with the wrong crowd or attempting to be someone they’re not. This is what initially led me to write my devotional journal for teenagers, Love Your Selfie—because I want teens to understand who they are through the lens of Scripture and God’s love. That way, they can have the confidence they need to fulfill their unique roles in the Body of Christ (see Romans 12:6-8).
Pray that they will remain filled with hope as they seek to understand their purpose. All humans have a longing to find a purpose. And in the midst of such quest, unbelievers often turn to things of this world to fill a void. Emotions are especially intensified during the teen years. Confusion may settle in as teens attempt to make sense of the world around them, as well as their place in it. Pray that these teens will look nowhere other than the cross in an attempt to find meaning for their lives and that they will experience the abundant life He has for them (see John 10:10).
Pray that they will “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The world offers traps of empty promises and false fulfillment. If we aren’t seeking God’s Kingdom first, we may become prone to giving in to these tactics. Pray that these teens will, at a young age, come to experience God’s love and know His Word; that way, the world’s counterfeit ways of quenching thirst will become pale in comparison.
Prayer for a Rebellious Teenager
“Dear Jesus, thank you for sending your Son to die for us, even when we were the least deserving. Thank you that you extend your invitation of love to all people, even those who resent and ridicule you. Help us to extend the same unconditional love toward the rebellious teenagers in our lives. Show us how to be an example of Jesus to them and how to exercise discipline when they’re rebellious. As we extend this love, we pray their hearts will soften toward authority, and they will understand that rules are set for their own good. Give them the desire to live a life that pleases you in their behavior, speech, and attitude. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.”
Prayer for a Teenager in Trouble
“Dear Jesus, you gave your life for us so we could experience freedom from the paralyzing grip of our sin. We ask you to help the teenagers in our lives to accept this gift of salvation and embrace this freedom. You know how much we wish to pull these teens out of deep waters, so show us if there is anything we can do. If they do not accept our help, we ask that they will fall on their knees before you out of desperation and discover that they have nowhere else to turn other than your loving embrace. We believe you can transform these situations into good (Romans 8:28), and as these teens reach a low point, help them to cling to your hand so you can pull them out of trouble. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.”
Prayers for High School Students
“Dear Jesus, you know our hearts for the teenagers our lives—and yet it’s amazing that you love and care for them even more than we do. Because of that, we don’t have to fret over their coming and going; instead, we release them into your care. We believe you chose these teenagers for a purpose. Thank you for bringing to completion what you have begun in their life (Philippians 1:6). Help them, at a young age, to develop a relationship with you and create a foundation for their faith. Help them to put on the full armor of God, as laid out in Ephesians 6:10-18, so they can take their ‘stand against the devil’s schemes.’ Equip them with the strength they need to resist temptation and open their eyes so they can discern light from the darkness. Thank you for delivering them from every threat of evil. And as these teens prepare for their futures, we ask that they turn to you as their guide, because we know you have already mapped out the journey of their lives. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.”
God has placed you in this teenager’s life for a reason. There is hope for him or her. During those times when you feel helpless—especially when the teen feels unreachable—I challenge you to turn to prayer. There is no limit to how far we can go when interceding on behalf of our loved ones.
When your prayers are uttered in a spirit of humility, spoken in agreement with His Word and His Will, then I can promise you that He will hear. He cares.
You just may never know the dangers God has kept these teens protected from because of your intercession.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/acoblund
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her latest release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (October 2020, Ellie Claire). Tessa's passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. She is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can speak to teens, teach at writing conferences, and act in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to connect with readers on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
This article is part of our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
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