I have been doing Student Ministry for 16 years and it would be an understatement to say that I deal with the unexpected on an almost daily basis. It would amaze and frighten you what the brain of a teenager can think up and then rationalize is a great idea. These ideas are usually started with, “Hey, watch this!” Just like the recent craze with teenagers and the “Tide Pod Challenge,”
(Check the article out here) teenagers are motivated by dares and one-upmanship. Now, most of you are probably thinking about some crazy stunt that a teenager would pull, but I actually have another idea to write about today.
I want to talk about prayer. Now, how did we go from talking about eating tide pods to talking about prayer. Teenagers do unexpected things and need prayer when they do? Yes, but that’s not where I was going with this connection
How many of you know someone that needs prayer? I’m sure that someone’s face or name just popped into your head. Something that I make it a point to do is to pray for those around me each day, especially for my students and their parents. I pray for known prayer requests and for those that I don’t know. I admit that I’m not perfect in remembering to do this, but I do strive to make it a priority each day.
Now those students and families that I pray for have a variety of needs. In a worldly sense, some would seem trivial while others would seem huge. All are important to God. One of the biggest areas of prayer is for students and their families to believe in Jesus for the first time and to continue to grow in Him. Many of these people will never know that others pray for them.
Now the unexpected happens. How do we handle it? How do we respond to unexpected events as believers? Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
This is the type of prayer life we should strive to live. The kind of prayer life where we are always praying whether we label them as “good” or “bad.” This is the gold standard for what a praying Christian should strive for.
This is also a verse that we should take to heart as parents of teens. They do unexpected stuff, even if you have the best, well behaved teenager of the bunch. Their emotions are all over the place. They are trying to figure out relationships with peers and adults. They are trying to learn to be responsible, drive, pay for things, have jobs, figure out which college to go to, etc. That seems like a daunting, scary, and stressful list, both as a parent and a teenager. What can we do as parents about it? Pray. Pray some more. When you think you’ve prayed enough…keep praying. The following are some areas that parents can pray for their students.
- Pray for your students spiritual health– We need to be doing what Deuteronomy 6:4-9…talking about Jesus and the Bible and how it applies to everyday life. We should also be praying for our students to lock that away in their hearts and minds. We should be praying that they not only hear it, but also live it. We should be praying especially if we have a student that has not put their faith and hope in Jesus.
- Pray for your students future- We need to be praying for students future. Their college choice, future spouse, future children, etc. are all areas that we need to bathe in prayer as parents.
- Pray for your spiritual health- We need to pray for our own spiritual health. We need to pray that God will give us wisdom and patience in raising a teenager.
- Pray for your teens friends/acquaintances- We need to pray for the students that our teen hangs out with, both those they spend lots of time with and those that they see occasionally. We need to pray that God would bring other students into their lives that believe in Jesus as well to help encourage and keep them accountable. We also need to pray for Him to bring those into their lives that don’t know Jesus so they can show them through word and deed who Jesus is.
- Pray for the other adults in their lives- There are other adults that spend time with your student. They get to speak into your students lives. Pray for these adults to be pouring the truth of Jesus into your child whether they are a math teacher, a parent of your teens friend, or their Sunday school teacher.
Just as we talked about last week, we need to be disciplined. Praying for your teen every day takes discipline, but the time you spend doing it is worth way more than we will every know.
Yours in Christ,