Praying Bravely With your Teen for Big Things

To me there is something sweetly tender about teens praying. They have a faith that has not been tromped on by life yet so they naively believe they can pray for big things. Which is true! It is true for you too, but too often as adults prayer feels too vulnerable so we try to keep our prayers in “safe” categories. That is if we can get over our feelings of failure. You would think now that we are adults we could have focused and powerful prayer lives yet we still find our minds rambling too much during prayer and those prayers rambling into being just a shopping list for Jesus thus prayer can make us feel like failures.

I still want our teens to be praying for big things. Which means you, as their parent who believes in them and all of their possibilities, need to get over your own hang ups about prayer.

Here is the real truth: everyone (except those saintly few whom we admire so much) rambles through prayer. Those saintly ones don’t include me. For my prayer life I get frustrated at myself as I sidetrack so easily. Also when I’m praying for my own kids I find myself becoming discouraged, overwhelmed, and even angry at God that I still have to pray these same prayers. I don’t like the vulnerability of that feeling either.

But still, we pray. Prayer is our relationship with God who we believe can help us in supernatural ways. With the way life is, we need supernatural hope! I am dependent on supernatural hope because in the natural there is a lot of unknown.

You may relate to this blog from the respected Lysa TerKeurst:

There is something I’ve come to realize I need to guard against as a mom. I sometimes want to be God in my kids’ lives.

I want to write their stories.

I want to set the courses of their futures.

I want to determine what’s best for them.

I want to prevent them from ever being hurt.

I want to be their provider and protector.

And I want to be the one to set anyone straight who messes with my kids.

Can you relate on any level? I think most moms can. We love these people entrusted to us more than we ever knew possible. And despite all the infant sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, tween eye rolling, and the teen decisions that break our heart slap in two… they are ours. To love. To lead. To launch.

And we want to make it all good.

But then things happen so beyond our control we eventually have to face the reality that we aren’t God. And we can’t operate like we are.

So what do we do with that gap where our mommy capabilities end and trusting God begins? I want to trust God with everything beyond my control with my kids but it’s so scary. It feels so risky.

And scary and risky are two words us moms don’t want as part of our kids’ lives.

So, how do we deepen our trust in God? How do we make peace with the limits of what we can and cannot protect them from? What do we do with the risky and scary feelings that can make a mom lose sleep at best and feel crazed with fear at worst?

We must fill that gap with the only thing that bridges the space between our limitations and our trust in God… prayer.

I know, I know – that can sound like such a cliché Christian answer. Typical. Too hyper-spiritual. Not the answer we want sometimes.

But prayer is the only possibility with real possibility. https://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/01/10-prayers-for-your-daughter/

Here is a big truth we should continually remember as we all wrestle with this gift that prayer is:  God doesn’t care about the eloquence of our prayers so much as the condition of our hearts.

So I’m challenging you to join your teen to pray for a big thing. And I don’t want your own hang ups with prayer to get in the way. (This can’t be just me.) What can those big things be? This is the discussion you can have with your teen.

  • Is there a family member you start praying for together?
  • Is there a family decision you can trust your teen to join with you in prayer?
  • Is there a goal for the next school year that you want to start in prayer with?
  • Is there something tangible you want to pray for together for at your church?

Decide on this big thing and tackle it together in prayer in faith. Find creative ways to pray together. Then start noticing the little changes that happen when your life becomes one of more tangible faith and prayer. This will also happen in your teen’s life—but he/she probably already has this expectation. Together you are making a strong faith memory.