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 Heavenly Father, I come to you with a worried and burdened heart. My precious child is full of anger. She yells angry words and slams doors in my face. She has no peace. I lift my concerns up to you, the perfect parent, who understands what I cannot, and whose Word is the remedy I am not.
May I first be humbled by examining the anger in my own heart. St. Paul tells the Ephesians: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (6: 4)
Show me how I provoke my angry son. Grant me a new heart that will guide me and guard me from the ways I arouse or fail to respond to his outbursts. Instill in me your ways of discipline and instruction. Teach me, Lord, how to always reflect you to my son. Protect me from my fleshy desire to respond to his anger with anger.
As I seek understanding, Lord, may I be reminded that anger is a genuine emotion. Restrain me from telling my child to stop being so angry, or that she is overreacting because her anger is not justified. Give me the courage to step into her pain and empathize with her feelings as is best for her. Your very Scripture acknowledges the reality of our anger.
In Psalm 4: 4 David says,
Be angry and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds and be silent. Put your trust in the Lord.
Psalm 37:8 tells us to
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
St. Paul tells the Ephesians in 4:26:
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.
May I have the wisdom to respect my child’s anger as I encourage her to forsake its wrath, because it will only lead to evil. Jesus Christ took on the anger of the entire world for our sakes, so that we might know anger and yet not be controlled by its self-destructive power. Please release my child from the hold her anger has on her in this moment of her life.
Most importantly, Lord, may by my words and deeds, by my compassion for my angry child who I do not forsake, let me show him the power of forgiveness as bestowed to us by you. May I model Colossians 3:12:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Lord, I pray that my son will come to know and understand that you are a God of forgiveness and mercy, but also a righteous God. You cannot abide evil, and through your perfect righteousness, all the cruelty, the injustice, the wrongs of this world will be answered. My son has Jesus as his advocate who will overcome and defeat the sources of his anger.
Romans 13:19 says:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.”
Finally, Lord, write on my heart Psalm 103: 8 – 11 that I might teach it to my children so that in time it becomes manna for them:
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
Nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
Nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.