Prayers for a Teenager Who is Struggling With Depression

depressed guy

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).

Holy and Triune God,

You are the God who sees (Gen. 16:13). You are the One who came as Light in the darkness (John 1:5). You are the eternal Fount of Love who is able to do exceedingly more than we ask or imagine (Eph. 4:20). You, gracious King, are both the Defeater of death and the Man who is acquainted with sorrows (Is. 53:3).

As I think of my student with depression, my heart is filled with longing, Lord. I long for rescue for her. I long for freedom for her. I long for Life and Light to fill every last sad, numbed, aching, grieving, angry, toughened part of her. I long to see her eyes refreshed by the beauty and hope of knowing Your goodness in every fiber of her being.

Jesus, there is no amount of darkness that can keep you from your people. Your heart to deliver is made clear time and again from Genesis to Revelation. You fight for us through our sin, you fight for us against our oppressors, you fight for us against evil, and you fight for us against our very own shame. You faced the ultimate darkness of having the Father’s face turned away from you (Matt. 27:46) that death might never be the end of our story.

I pray, Jesus, that my student would know the ways you fight for her intimately. Would you give her friends in the body of Christ that are able and willing to bear the burdens of her sadness with her. Would you gift her parents and youth leaders with the willingness to enter into her grief and lament with her. Would you give her the courage to share vulnerably and often with those who love her. Would your grace wash over her when she feels paralyzed and powerless. And would your Spirit work its way into the shut-down parts of her heart to revitalize and refresh.

Help her, Jesus, to believe that her identity is secure in you. Help her to turn toward you when she is hurting instead of turning toward the lies her depression tells her about her worth and her future. Help her to bring you every spark of rage, every desperate fear, every anxious worry, and every doubting thought. Give her the courage to confess honestly, as the psalmists confess, when darkness is her closest friend (Ps. 88:18), when her tears have been her food day and night (Ps. 42:3), when she feels forgotten by you (Ps. 13:1), and when her soul is full of troubles (Ps. 88:3).

You tell us that even if we say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Ps. 139:11-12).

Holy and heavenly Father, would you BE that light to my dear sister. Would you break through, Lord. Would you lift the heaviness that consumes and set her heart free once again to dance in the presence of those who love her. Set her free to be the beloved daughter she already is, and give her renewed delight in the wonders of your glorious creation.

I pray that she would know you, Jesus, as her joy. Would you give her glimpses of the ways you are at work in and through her pain, and would you allow her to again taste the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13). Draw near, Holy Spirit, and lift her out of the pit. And in the meantime, would you soften her heart and give her deepened awareness of the way she has fellowship with you in her suffering. Allow her to know, without a doubt, that you will never leave nor forsake her (Deut 31:8). Hold her fast, I pray. And help me to see her with your eyes. Surround her with your unfailing love and give her faith to believe that absolutely nothing can separate her from it (Rom. 8:38-39).

In Jesus’ holy name I pray. Amen.

Liz Edrington serves as the Fellowship Groups and Young Adults Director at North Shore Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN. She received her M.A. in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL, and she has worked with students in one form or another since 2002. She is an emeritus member of the Rooted steering committee, and she's the author of a 31-day devotional for teenagers called Anxiety: Finding the Better Story (P&R Publishing, 2023). Pickled things delight her, as does her snuggle beast, Bella the Dog.

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