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).
Pressure pushin’ down on me
Pressin’ down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down
Splits a family in two, puts people on streets… (David Bowie and Queen)
Teenagers today feel the pressure. Some is external, from parents, teachers, and coaches; some is internal, driven by an innate desire to please, competitiveness, or a fear of failure. The pressure ahead of midterm exams can be particularly intense, stirring in our kids the temptation to cheat in order to alleviate some of the pressure they feel.
Part of our role as parents is to teach our children to cope with the pressures of life because as we know, they don’t go away just because you graduate or get into “the real world.” An even more important part of our role as parents is to pray for our children. As we send our teenagers out into the world of middle school, high school and college, here are some prayers for our children that are under pressure.
Prayer for a teenager feeling pressure to be successful
Lord, I pray for my child who feels the weight and worry of being successful. I pray that he would not look only to the seen, transient successes– I pray that he would instead look to the unseen, eternal joys, with anticipation of the glory to come. Forgive me, Lord, when I, as his parent, point more to earthly success than eternal glory in Christ. I pray that he would be rooted and grounded in the understanding that you showed your love for us in that while we were still hopelessly unsuccessful sinners, you sent your son, Jesus, to die for us. Through him we are saved and justified. My child’s success is secure in Christ and can never be shaken. Lord, I pray that in the failures and successes, my child would run to you and seek you, be it in desperation or in praise. I pray that no earthly success or failure would ever define him, but instead that he would be defined by your grace and his identity as a child of yours. Amen. (2 Corinthians 4:18; Romans 5:8-9; Galatians 2:16; 1 John 3:1)
Prayer for a teenager feeling academic pressure
Lord, you call us to work; right now, my child’s work is school. I pray that she would work for and unto your glory. I pray that she would understand that her worth is not in a report card, but instead found in Christ. Lord, forgive me when I place my identity and her identity in her GPA and grades instead of in who you have made her to be in Christ. I pray that my child would feel the freedom to do her best and rest when the work is done, knowing that ultimately the work that really matters has been perfectly completed by Jesus Christ. Amen. (1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 1:6)
Prayer for a teenager feeling pressure in extracurricular activities
Lord, thank you for my child’s opportunity to participate in this activity: to practice, to be with peers, to be inspired and challenged. I pray that he would know that nothing can add to or take away from the extraordinary grace offered to him in Jesus’ atoning death on the cross. With this knowledge, I pray that he would indeed be glad, joyful, and free to enjoy his activity, knowing he is secure in God. Lord, let the pleasure of the activity point him to the greater joy found in life with Christ. Amen. (Colossians 3:23; Psalm 16:9,11)
Prayer for a teenager feeling pressure from peers
Lord, when my child feels the pressure from her peers to do something or be something that does not glorify you, I pray that she would seek you for strength. When she feels beaten down by what peers and the world find valuable, I pray that she would find her refuge in you. I pray that she would remember that she was indeed bought with a price, that she is called to more, and that you will abundantly provide for her in every single way. Amen. (2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 18:1-2; Proverbs 14:26; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 3:20)
Prayer for a teenager feeling pressure from parents
Lord, I pray that my child would seek to please you, first and foremost. Lord, forgive me for when I put pressure on my child. That comes from a place of fear, and a lack of confidence in you and your plan for my child. Please direct my steps as a parent, so that I know when to speak and when not to speak. Let my words toward my child be pleasing to you, building her up and pointing her to Christ first and foremost. Father God, I thank you that you are indeed the perfect parent to my child. May I rest in that knowledge, and may you allow me to shepherd my child to the deep rest that comes in knowing you as her perfect Abba Father. Amen. (2 Corinthians 5:9; Jeremiah 29:11; Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 19:14; Romans 8:15)
Prayer for a teenager feeling pressure about his Christian faith
Lord, I pray for my child who feels the pressures of living as a Christian in a world that often opposes your gospel. Lord, I pray that he would remember that he has put off the old self and is a new creation in Christ. I pray that you would graciously give him eyes to see how you are indeed transforming him to look more and more like Christ, even through suffering and opposition. Lord, I humbly ask that you give him fellowship with other believers so that he might be encouraged in the unity of the body of Christ. May he be strengthened in his faith, knowing that You, the Creator of all things, calls him “child,” and you are with him always. Amen. (Colossians 3:9-10; Romans 5:3-5; Isaiah 41:10)