August 17, 2021
For those of you who know me, you know that I recently took a job as a full-time substitute teacher at my kid’s middle school. I am with teenagers five days a week. Let’s just say there are some kids that are going to be amazing adults. There are others who need a whole lot of prayer. Seeing young adults deciding, moment-by-moment and day-by-day who they will become, who they will follow, and who they will allow to influence them is fascinating. It is also heart-breaking. At times the day-to-day struggles feel like they will be forever. Teens are overwhelmed by the challenges in friendships, school, and home life. This is why it is vitally important for parents, teachers, and mentors to pray the word of God over them daily.
I’ll admit it is difficult to do this regularly. Life happens and we forget that this is a life-giving, game-changing habit. I needed some passages that I could quickly and easily pray over my kids. I looked to find some back-pockets rushing out the door reminders of who we are and who we are called to be. I wanted to protect my kids as much as I can by covering them with the promises of God. I know I’m not the only one who needs this so I thought I would share the few verses that I felt my kids needed in this season.
There will never be a time when my children won’t need protection. This verse is a reminder to them that God is their refuge and fortress. He is their safe zone. The word “abide” means to stay overnight, dwell, and live permanently. I love the image this verse creates of abiding in the shadow of the Almighty. To permanently dwell under His protection.
He (She) who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalm 91:1-2 NIV
Teens are jerks. Period. Kids can be mean and awful to one another. This verse is a reminder of what God expects. I pray that my kids will behave differently than their peers even when it is difficult. This verse challenges me to model forgiveness. When they disappoint, disobey, and say hurtful things to me it is a good opportunity to show them what it looks like to forgive. For example, when your child makes a comment that you look old. It is a chance, to be honest, that those words are hurtful. This can open the door to conversation about when others have said hurtful things to them. Model forgiveness in your home so that it is easier for them to forgive their friends.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 NIV
I have to remind myself of this scripture but it is especially important in the world of teenagers. Popularity, status, and fashion play into whether or not you’re considered to be a “cool kid.” It is vitally important to pray for our children to seek the approval of God above anyone else. I believe that as we pray this over our children, God will be faithful to give them self-confidence founded on His word…not the world.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”Galatians 1:10 NIV
Do you trust that God will lead and guide your teen? I struggle knowing what direction to go at times but I have walked with Jesus long enough to know that sometimes you have to take the first step before you get a nudge to turn a specific way. This verse reminds us that as we journey God will be with us leading and guiding our steps. It also reminds us to listen for the voice of God confirming the way.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 NIV
Oh, Lord. Give me strength as I see hormones raging down hallways. This verse is a prayer I pray over all of them whether they want it or not. It is a command that evil desires will flee from our children. It is a prayer that asks God to help our kids have a pure heart and seek faith, love, and peace. I think if we prayed and BELIEVED this was possible we would see less lust and more healthy relationships between teens.
“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22 NIV
Many of these verses can become a salve that will heal and strengthen teens during some of the most difficult years of life. Even though middle school days can seem like years to teens we know it is a blip in the timeline of life. This blip, however, is one where teens make some big identity choices. This is why praying for them is critical. I hope these verses will equip you to pray for your teen. I am filled with hope when I witness a teen making a life-giving choice. I know the more we pray the more good things we will see.