Prayers for a Teenager Struggling With Discouragement


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).

Lord, thank you for the life of my child. It is you who formed his inmost being, knitting him together in the womb (Ps. 139:13). All his days you ordained before one of them came to be (Ps. 139:16), and nothing can happen to him apart from your explicit command (Lam. 3:37). From each ordinary and mundane walk home from the bus stop to the heavily-anticipated, life-altering milestones of the future – you have known exactly how each one would unfold since before the dawn of time.

So thank you, Father, for giving him this present trial (Jas. 1:2). Unlike me, you only act in perfect wisdom – you never miscalculate or make any errors in judgment. Help me to take comfort in knowing that this situation, like all situations – has also passed through the sieve of your infinite wisdom (Ps. 147:5). Your ways are not my ways, your thoughts are not my thoughts – they are higher than mine like the heavens are higher than the earth (Isa. 55:8-9). 

Lord, show my child mercy. You know his thoughts and emotions, deeper and more fully than he knows them himself (Ps. 139:2-4). If there is any sinful entitlement, jealousy, or pride in his heart, would your Spirit reveal it to him (Ps. 139:23-24) and convict his conscience (John 16:8). Lord, you know the true desires of his heart – would you give him the wisdom to identify them and weigh them against what’s good and true (John 16:13)? Would you remove the hardness in his heart and give him a heart of flesh, one that learns to let go of what displeases you because true joy is found in loving you by walking in your ways (Eze. 36:26-27)?

Lord, the world teaches my son that he needs to validate his existence through his  achievements, to prove himself worthy of acceptance. But Father, we do not belong to the world, we do not even belong to ourselves – we belong to you, our Maker (Ps. 24:1-2). And your way is different, Lord. Through Christ and his accomplishment on the cross – you do for us what we could never do for ourselves. By his wounds and blood spilled (Eph. 1:7), by the perfect life he lived, Jesus secured for us the only acceptance that ever mattered – yours. It is based on your son Jesus’ merit that we who are in Christ are more accepted, more loved, and more valued than we can ever imagine (1 Pet. 2:9). So Lord, would you give my son the eyes to see what grace he is offered through Jesus? And would you give him faith to believe and take hold of that gift? His life is in your hands, Father. 

Lord, protect my son from a spirit of discouragement and despair, one that says “none of it was worth it”, or “you will always be a failure”. Would you speak through the believers in his life, equip them with the Spirit in gentleness and truth to admonish and encourage him (Col. 3:16)? Draw near to him and give him comfort and fill his heart with refreshing, as only you can (Ps. 23:3).

Please give him every strength to persevere faithfully in the tasks that you have given him (2 Pet. 1:3). Help him to know that his work on this side of heaven is not for worldly gain or approval, but that he strives as one already approved by the Worthiest One of all (Col. 3:23), and that both labor and fruit are gifts from a Heavenly Father who gives generously and wisely (2 Cor. 9:8). So Lord, I ask that you would bless him and establish the work of his hands (Psalm 90:17), allowing and disallowing outcomes in the wise ways that you see fit – to your glory and his good (Romans 8:28). Thank you for your great love for us and what wonderful mercy you have shown us. Amen. 

Connie was born in Hong Kong and has lived in Alberta, Canada since she was 6 years old. She has served in youth ministry for over 10 years and is a leader in the college fellowship at her church in Edmonton. She also works with a Guatemalan missions organization. Connie enjoys warm weather, her husband’s cooking, and chatting with friends over a hot cup of tea. She and her husband Chris have 1 teenager, 2 kids and a ridiculous number of houseplants.

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