Sometimes the teenagers we love go through season of pain and suffering, and we quickly reach the limits of our human ability to help. We long to pour out our hearts to God, but it can be hard to find words when we are worried or afraid. Thanks be to God, we who have the Holy Spirit do not have to form perfect phrases, because “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26). But there are times when it is a comfort to us to speak words, to pray out loud from the Scriptures, because as we pray we are reminded of the promises and character of God who loves our teenagers more than we can imagine. Over the next few weeks we will offer you prayers you can use as a starting point to lift up the teenagers you love to the Lord. We hope these will encourage you to remain steadfast in prayer, for “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (Jas. 5:16).
O God of Eternal Love; Father, Son, & Holy Spirit,
We praise you and thank you for our companions, for the gifts of friendship and family. In the very beginning you declared that it is “not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2:18) and so you provided a companion for Adam. Throughout our lives, we have come to know your goodness more deeply through the joy of being with others. You have shown your faithfulness through our friends and family.
But we do not live each day or each season with such abundance. Loneliness can run deep. We have learned, by experience, that it is truly not good to be alone. Like David, we have seen our “friends and companions stand aloof” and our “nearest kin stand far off.” It hurts. If two lie together, they stay warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (Ecc 4:11) Lord, many of us are cold with our loneliness. Warm us by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
God of Covenant, we pray for the student who has been betrayed; whose companion, like David’s, “stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant.” (Ps 55:20) We pray for the student who does not merely feel alone, but feels he has no one to trust; the one whose friend’s “speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.”
Oh how the sweet gift of friendship can also create the deepest wounds! Father, heal the wounds of betrayal by the healing we have in your Son, who was betrayed by the friend who has dipped his hand in the dish with him (Matt 26:23). Overcome the fear of trust by the power of the one who forgave and restored his disciples, though they all fell away because of him that night (Matt 26:31).
Friend of Sinners, we pray for the student whose own sin has hurt his relationships and left him lonely. Oh, how we get in our own way! We pray for a humble and contrite spirit, for that is whom you look upon with your favor (Isaiah 66:2). May those who have been hurt be willing to bear with him and to be quick to forgive, just as you have forgiven him (Col 3:13). Bring about reconciliation, that these former companions would not count their trespasses against each other, just and you did not count our trespasses against us (2 Cor 5:18-19).
God Who Sees, we pray for the student who simply feel misunderstood and disconnected; for the one who feels left out and passed by. Although we are fearfully and wonderfully made, we often feel out of place. But just as an angel of the Lord found lonely Hagar, may you send someone to see and understand this exiled teen (Genesis 16:7). Through the faithfulness of your church, bless him now with the “brothers and sisters and mothers and children” you have promised those who follow you (Mark 10:30).
Finally, God Our Refuge, help him to remember and be keenly aware that he is never truly alone. You, our heavenly Father, see him when no one else does. Even when he feels hidden from everyone else’s view, you are the one who sees in secret (Matt 6:4).
We look forward to the fellowship on that day when you make for all peoples a feast of rich food and you yourself wipe away the tears of loneliness and reproach of loneliness from all our faces (Is 25:6-8). For now, our foes may hate us, and our friends disown us, but, by the Holy Spirit, you promise to be with us always until the end of the age (Matt 28:20). Come Lord Jesus. Amen.