By Alicia Searl, Crosswalk.com
I sat in her office, tears streaming down my face, pleading for answers. “What am I doing wrong?” I choked out the words several times, barely even recognizing my own voice. She sat there and just listened. I probably didn’t give her much time to talk between my ramblings and blowing my stuffy nose. But at the same time, I wanted to know what to do to make things better, to get through this… to survive, because in all honesty, I was hanging by a thread.
How did we get here? Did I not pick up on the signs? Did I fail her?
These questions and many more landed me here, in my dear friend’s (who just so happens to be a wonderful biblical counselor) office. As a mom who tends to often overshare and can monopolize the conversation (mostly because I don’t get too much adult conversation), I actually adore this woman and just wanted to soak in every bit of her wisdom. She also has three daughters, all grown now. She did it! And I desperately needed to know how. I was ready to gain some insight and learn how to force this wayward teen daughter of mine back onto the right path, even if it killed me in the process.
However, she didn’t offer me that advice. Instead, she looked me dead in the eye and told me something I wasn’t ready to hear - “You need to let go.” What!? I was shocked. My controlling nature was kicking into overdrive. She ever so gently pointed that out, and then she told me to pray with a fervent heart and trust that my prayers would close the gap between my daughter and me.
Maybe you find yourself trying to close that gap as well. Maybe your heart is torn as your teen resists authority, breaks your rules, and becomes rebellious. It’s apparent that the foundation that you set before them is shaky at best. Sigh. Praying for a troublesome teen can be so difficult, especially when our emotions are raw, and tender wounds have been acquired along the way.
Oh, how I wish we could meet up for coffee, swap stories, and pray for one another and our teens. I would tell you that my teen just told me she doesn’t need (or want) my prayers as she stormed out the door this morning (insert deep breath here). Well, I am going to pray for her anyway. So, grab a cup of coffee, and join me as we take our weary hearts before the Lord. Because, dear friend, prayer must be our first response as we earnestly seek guidance and wisdom while raising wayward teens.
Father God, we are so thankful that You are our rock, fortress, and stronghold (Psalm 18:2). We ask that You place Your mighty barrier of protection around our teens and be their safety net, shield, and pillar of strength today. Guard their hearts and minds, leading and guiding them to the foundation and bedrock of Your Truth when they long to go astray. Keep them safe and free from harm as they are at school, with friends, work, and other events. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
A Prayer for Obedience
Lord, we come to you with humble hearts, admitting our own shortcomings and failures. Please grant us forgiveness when we give into our own temptations and fall into fleshly bouts of anger. We desperately need Your help. We ask that You intervene in our teen’s lives. Seek after their heart, give them the boldness to walk in obedience and courage to submit to Your ways (2 John 1:6). Grant us patience as we train them up and provide a loving example of honoring You. Thank you for Your guidance, love, and faithfulness. Amen.
A Prayer for Faith
Jesus, thank you for your selfless sacrifice, for me and my family (Hebrews 9:28). I pray for my teen to hold tightly to that Truth and be reminded of their eternal home when the ways of this world come on strong and seem ever so tempting. I ask that You fight on their behalf and let Your voice rise above the noise of this world and the lies of the enemy. Help them fall back on their foundation of faith when they make choices that may bring about shame or dishonor. Help them turn to You for Your loving grace and mercy while leaning into You for forgiveness. Help them grow in their faith in these crucial years and seek a deep and meaningful relationship with You. Amen.
A Prayer for Friendships
God, You designed us and created us for fellowship and to do this life together. But, often, our teens feel alone or fall into a crowd of people that are leading them further away from You. Please remind our struggling teens that, with You, they always have a friend who is rooting for them. Since friends are a critical part of their lives right now, please grant them positive influences that will help them grow as an individual while also giving them access to growing deeper in their faith (Proverbs 27:17). As they encounter those who don’t know You, give them the courage to plant a seed while protecting them and helping them create healthy boundaries. I ask this in Your precious name. Amen.
A Prayer for Discernment
Faithful Father, You give us clarity in Your Word on how to live this life abundantly (John 14:6). Our teens need Your wisdom and direction on how to live a life that honors and glorifies You. I earnestly pray that You show up in a mighty way, touching their lives and charting the path that You lay out before them (Proverbs 3:6). As they encounter life-changing choices, help them lean into You for discernment. Also, provide me with the right words of encouragement and the affirmations they need to walk with confidence and the assurance that their lives are making a difference in this world. Amen.
A Prayer for Forgiveness
Oh, God, thank you for Your amazing grace. This season has proven to be more challenging than I could ever imagine, and I have often given way to my flesh and sins. I humbly seek Your mercy and grace when my temper, harsh words, and harbored hurt get the best of me. With that same wounded heart, I whole-heartedly ask that You help my teen seek Your sweet face of forgiveness in the wake of any wrongdoings (1 John 1:9). Help them learn to forgive themselves, first and foremost, then extend that grace to others (Ephesians 4:32). Help them grow in Your grace while seeking to live in peace with You. Amen.
A Prayer Against Temptations
Lord, You tell us that in the end, You win and evil will no longer prevail (Revelation 11:15). That gives me such hope! Please etch that hope in the heart of my teen today. I pray that they put on their full armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) to guard against all temptations and the schemes of the deceiver. I pray that You help them remain vigilant and seek righteousness with a pure heart. Give them a boldness to shed light in a lost and dark world and to stand firm when world temptations get placed in their path. I ask this in Your Holy name. Amen.
A Prayer for You
Father, I pray for the precious momma diving into these prayers today, seeking Your will and way over her precious teen’s life. I pray that You would draw near, touching her heart in only a way that You can, and grant her an unexplainable peace. Give her permission to let go of the things that seem out of her control and lean into You for support. Place other sisters in her life who will walk beside her on this journey and help her navigate these trying years, all while praying for her and her teen. I pray that You bless the strained and somewhat fragile relationship she has with her teen, mending wounds, binding up past hurts, and bearing sweet forgiveness. Lord, wrap Your loving arms around this precious momma and daughter of Yours, and remind her of Your unfailing and unwavering love. Thank you for being such a good, good Father! Amen.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Motortion
Alicia Searl is a devotional author, blogger, and speaker that is passionate about pouring out her heart and pointing ladies of all ages back to Jesus. She has an education background and master’s in literacy. Her favorite people call her Mom, which is why much of her time is spent cheering them on at a softball game or dance class. She is married to her heartthrob (a tall, spiky-haired blond) who can whip up a mean latte. She sips that goodness while writing her heart on a page while her puppy licks her feet. Visit her website at aliciasearl.com and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.