Prayers for a rebellious teenager

Question:

Dear Chuck,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Ever since my 17-year-old daughter was about 11, she has been very willful and disobedient. She stays out past her curfew, not phoning if she will be late, does poorly in school, won’t do chores when asked to, etc. I have enlisted the help of a counselor, whose conclusion was that my daughter was purposely trying to drive me crazy. I also had her tested to see if she had any learning disabilities and was told that she was above grade level in reading and math, but just was not motivated to do better. She has been pregnant twice. I later found out that she had gotten an abortion and had a miscarriage. Several months ago, she came in the house smelling like alcohol, and when I confronted her, she cursed at me and claimed that she had not been drinking. I have been called to her school because she had cursed at a teacher, she took a knife to school, and was arrested for shoplifting. Last week she stayed out all night. She had no explanation and was belligerent towards me when she returned. She no longer wants to attend church and has even cursed God.

I have been praying about this situation for a long time. I have taken many suggestions and tried different ways of spending time with her. I am just tired now. I asked her to leave last week and she did. She has been back twice to pick up clothes. This is not the way that I wanted things to end up, I mean, she is my child. Have I failed God? I know that He has forgiven my sins and he wants me to forgive, but my daughter is unrepentant and unwilling to change.

Chuck’s Response:

I was sad reading about your rebellious daughter. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Parenting is not an exact science, and I think most parents can look back on raising kids and can pick out things they would have done differently. You did what you felt best with the knowledge you had, so put all this behind you and focus on today.

You ended your note about knowing that God has forgiven your sins, but you were waiting for your daughter to repent before forgiving hers. I respectfully suggest that is backward. My sins were not forgiven after I acknowledged them. God sent His Son to die before I was born, before I could do anything bad or good. One of the most powerful things an individual can do is to unilaterally forgive someone who has harmed us. Not only is this required by God, it results in a magnificent peace of mind whether or not the other person ever asks us to forgive them. You forgive them because God asked you to, not because they deserve it.

Here are some scriptures that might help give you perspective on this. Not all of these scriptures will relate to every situation, but I think you will get the flavor of what God has in mind.

“Then Peter came to him and asked, Sir how often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times? “No”, Jesus replied “seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21

As you probably know, the Jewish law in the Old Testament required that a person forgive an enemy three times … but that was all. After three times you could whack them. In this verse from the New Testament, Jesus is saying to Peter that the MINIMUM number of times to forgive someone is 490 times. I guess you could say this means that we can never forgive enough.

“Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you.” Matthew 6:14-15

This has nothing to do with salvation. There is a meaning in the original language that gives the impression of untying knots. So to me this means that if you will untie someone else’s knots (ask their forgiveness), then God will untie YOUR knots and give you peace of mind.

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. This will make him feel ashamed of himself, and God will reward you.” Proverbs 25:21-22

The last scripture we discussed seemed to be more of a mental exercise. This time, God is asking us to pro-actively step up, and take deliberate action. This means we have to be alert as to how our enemy is doing, so it appears that we just can’t write off the person. We need to know if he is hungry or thirsty or needs financial help. Is it easier to forgive an enemy in our minds, or actually do things for them? Or do they both take the same commitment to obedience?

“There is a saying, love your friends and hate your enemies. But I say, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

Now God asks that we PRAY for them. Maybe this comes easy to you, but for me it is very hard to pray for someone who has tried to cut my throat. It’s a process for sure, and I’m still on the path in several situations in my life with which I’m struggling.

“If someone mistreats you because you are a Christian, don’t curse him, pray that God will bless him. When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all. Never pay back evil for evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through. Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible. Dear Friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it. Don’t take the law into your own hands. Instead, feed your enemy if he is hungry. If he is thirsty give him something to drink and you will be heaping coals of fire on his head. In other words, he will feel ashamed of himself for what he has done to you. Don’t let evil get the upper hand, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans 12:14-21

First we forgive someone in our mind. Then we forgive them verbally or ask their forgiveness, if we are part of the problem. Then we pray for them. Then we ask God to bless them. Now, God is saying that even if we didn’t do anything wrong, we are to bless and forgive them.

In case you’re not sure what the “heaping coals of fire” on an enemy’s head means, in Bible days there were groups of wandering people, nomads, we would call them. When they got ready to move, they would carefully shovel the coals from their campfire into a metal pan of some kind, and carry it on their heads to the next location. If an enemy’s campfire went out, they would be in a terrible position, because, at times, their very life depended on having live coals. If the people observed an enemy in trouble like this, they were to offer some of their coals to help them.

The thing that helps me the most, is to remember that God forgave me of my sins, so it really isn’t that much to ask of us that we forgive others. Philip Yancey has written a wonderful book called What’s So Amazing About Grace?. It has a powerful discussion about God’s grace and forgiveness. Forgiveness is something we have to decide to do. We can look back and think of the past and get all upset again, or we can choose to let God have the past, and begin focusing only on today and the future. I’m not saying it is easy to put the past behind you, but it’s the only thing that is going to give you some peace of mind. I suppose the bottom line of forgiveness is that I give up my rights to hurt you like you have hurt me.

Now the project is to treat your daughter with unconditional love when you do have contact with her. What I suggest is to see if she would have dinner with you at her favorite hangout and ask her forgiveness for asking her to leave. Of course you had tons of reasons … but at least it would give her the message that you can see that forgiveness does not depend on the repentance of the person being forgiven. If she came back, I would accept her with open arms like the prodigal son’s father did in the Bible. In fact, it says that he saw him coming from a “distance,” which implies to me that the father was looking for his son. I don’t know if you can do this, but I really do think it would change both of your lives.

With God’s Love,
Chuck Snyder

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Prayer for a Teenager

Father, in the name of Jesus, I affirm Your Word over my son/daughter. I commit __________ to you and delight myself also in You. I thank You that You deliver __________ out of rebellion into right relationship with us, his/her parents.
Father, the first commandment with a promise is to the child who obeys his/her parents in the Lord. You said that all will be well with him/her and he/she will live long on the earth. I affirm this promise on behalf of my child, asking You to give __________ an obedient spirit that he/she may honor (esteem and value as precious) his/her father and mother.
Father, forgive me for mistakes made out of my own unresolved hurts or selfishness, which may have caused __________ hurt. I release the anointing that is upon Jesus to bind up and heal our (parents’ and child’s) broken hearts. Give us the ability to understand and forgive one another as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. Thank You for the Holy Spirit Who leads us into all truth and corrects erroneous perceptions about past or present situations.
Thank You for teaching us to listen to each other and giving __________ an ear that hears admonition, for then he/she will be called wise. I affirm that I will speak excellent and princely things and the opening of my lips shall be for right things. Father, I commit to train and teach __________ in the way that he/she is to go, and when __________ is old he/she will not depart from sound doctrine and teaching, but will follow it all the days of his/her life. In the name of Jesus, I command rebellion to be far from the heart of my child and confess that he/she is willing and obedient, free to enjoy the reward of Your promises. __________ shall be peaceful bringing peace to others.
Father, according to Your Word we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, and I release this ministry and the word of reconciliation into this family situation. I refuse to provoke or irritate or fret my child; I will not be hard on him/her lest he/she becomes discouraged, feeling inferior and frustrated. I will not break his/her spirit, in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Father, I forgive my child for the wrongs he/she has done and stand in the gap until he/she comes to his/her senses and escapes out of the snare of the enemy (rebellion). Thank You for watching over Your Word to perform it, turning and reconciling the heart of the rebellious child to the parents and the hearts of the parents to the child. Thank You for bringing my child back into a healthy relationship with You and with me that our lives might glorify You! Amen.

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Hope prayers will definitely revolutionize the way you think, act, and feel. We hope this article and prayer for hope will encourage you and your loved ones in these difficult times that we’re facing.

There are times that we reach the end of our rope in life and we feel burdened with insurmountable trials and challenges and feel like giving up and almost losing hope. Troubles just keep on piling up and our plates are filled with pain, suffering, and desperation. We have heard of so many stories of people who merely lie in bed in resignation and wallow in searing misery and dejection.

Are you in this situation? Do you experience unending woes and unanswered prayers? Perhaps, you already have uttered hopeful prayers and have done everything to survive your situation but deliverance seems to no avail. Your story may be like that of a single mother who is left by her husband when she delivered her baby. She did not finish her education and cannot find any decent job except beg for help from her relatives and friends. Because of poverty, she and her child developed incurable diseases and medical attention is far from option as she cannot even put enough food on the table every meal.

Or your condition is being neglected by your family as a child and you grew up to be a rebellious teenager who is now hooked on street and gang life. You want to break free from it but find no way out.  Or you may be wrongfully accused serving time in prison for a violation you are innocent of. You heard of Jesus but cannot seem to feel Him in your heart because of so much unforgiveness and self-pity.

You may have been brutally mobbed in the streets and you lost the mobility in your legs and feet because of the harassment. For lifetime, you will be stuck on the wheelchair and you feel you have not done anything wrong to deserve it.

Or you may be following and obeying God since you became a believer but you have a depressive past behind you but God has completely set you free and delivered you. But, now you are advancing your age and no man yet can accept you and your past even though you have kept yourself pure in the fear of the Lord all these years.

Different people have different situations. For those who are in the dark side of the tunnel, they feel there is no more hope available for them. But, be glad, there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

Hope is the thin line between despair/desperation and solution/answer to a problem. It is an intangible expectation that somehow, somewhere, something good will happen if you just keep on hoping. Those who receive answers to their prayers and triumphed over obstacles are those filled with hope. No matter how impossible, difficult, and obstinate the situation becomes, they just carry this small gleam of light – of hope in their mind, heart, and spirit.

Today, most of our prayer request comprise of people going through financial hardship.  Whether it is that they are running their own businesses and have a fear of laying off staff or closing the doors altogether. Or they’ve been laid off their job or have the fear that this will happen to them.

God is the God of hope. He is the fullest expression of hope and love in this world that is chaotic and filled with disorder and confusion. God the Father sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ not only to bring hope to mankind and the earth but to provide a solution to all our troubles and give us a glorious life in the end. Hallelujah!

Here are Scripture verses that will help you in your prayers for hope –

Romans 5:5
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Job 13:15
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Psalm 71:14

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more

You have to keep faith in God’s word. You have to find your hope and strength in Him.  These times test our faithfulness and test what we believe about God – His grace, His mercy and His ability to deliver us.

Here is a prayer for hope that you may use every time you feel hopeless and helpless—

Our loving Father, my life and situation are not hidden from Your eyes. You know me even before I was formed in my mother’s womb. I ask You to give me hope and assurance that You are here with me now guiding me in every step I take. I surrender to You now all the problems and challenges I have been bearing in my shoulders for a long time. I release to You all the false burdens in my body, soul, and spirit and ask that You cleanse me with the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I resign from taking control over my life and I submit to You full ownership and control henceforth. I have been running my life the way I want to and failed to invite You to be the divine ruler over all areas of my life. I place in Your altar all these things that have been giving me weakness, defeat, failure, lack, and hopelessness. Revive me once again to hope, trust, love, and be joyful and peaceful once again and to rest in Your love, presence and glory. I choose to hope and I choose life and You. I believe that You can best solve all these worries, anxieties, problems, and pains without my help. Take charge, take over, take control, take care of me. I love You, Lord with my entire being. Show me the way out of my despair.  I put all of my trust in You.  Fulfill your word and your promise to me that those who Hope in the Lord shall mount up with wings like an eagle, they shall renew their strength they shall run and not be weary , they shall walk and not be faint. In Jesus  name. Amen.

Thank God for restoring you and calling life and hope back to you. What sets apart the hopeful and faithful ones fromthose who are hopeless and faithless is obviously hope and faith. You can choose to be the person who keeps on believing, hoping, praying, and loving. Bear in mind that God keeps on hoping and believing in you as well. Don’t give up on Him and of hope because He will never at a time give up on you.

Pray this prayer of hope every time you are pushed down and discouraged.

You may refer to more prayers in our website to help you in your journey of faith and hope-filled life.

Here are some other prayers and bible verses:

Encouraging Bible Verses

Breakthrough Prayer and Scriptures

Bible Verses About Hope

www.missionariesofprayer.org
St. Dominic Savio led his troublesome classmates back to God.

It can be difficult being a parent, especially when a young teenager strays from the path of truth and heads down roads that too often prove to be not just fruitless but harmful. The experience can be painful, both for a teenager and for parents, yet it almost seems like an unavoidable part of life.

While there are many different factors that contribute to a child’s rebellious behavior, parents (and teachers) can always turn to the saints in their time of need. One of the many powerful intercessors in God’s presence is St. Dominic Savio.

Dominic was a bright kid who met St. John Bosco at the age of 12 and attended his school. As an ordinary and fun-loving boy, he sometimes got into trouble for laughing too much in the classroom. He loved to play games, but also devoted long hours to prayer.

One day Dominic encountered two boys arguing and on the verge of a dangerous fight. They were going to throw stones at each other until Dominic intervened.

Dominic pleaded “You must stop this. It is not right!”

One of the boys shouted, “You can’t stop us.”

“Not until I split his head open …” the other added.

“I am not stopping the fight,” shot back Dominic, “but I am asking you to accept one condition … Before you start the fight you must look at this crucifix, and throw the first stone at me.”

Taken by surprise, the boy began to tremble. “No!” he protested. “Never! I have no argument with you, Dominic.”

“Neither of you is ready to hurt me because I am your friend, yet you want to commit this sin over a stupid remark made at school. Christ, who was innocent, died for us rather then seek revenge from those who hated him.” Dominic stood, silent, crucifix in hand. Both boys dropped their stones, ashamed before his courageous stand.

Dominic was a beacon of light to his classmates and helped many of them turn their lives around and back to God. He died at the age of 15 due to a severe, unidentified illness, and was later canonized for displaying such heroic faith at a young age.

He is known as the patron saint of “juvenile delinquents” and is a great intercessor for all youth, especially those who have fallen in with bad influences, or gone astray.

Here is a short prayer to St. Dominic Savio, invoking his intercession in your hour of need.

Dear Saint Dominic Savio,

we ask you to look upon all young people and inspire them to love God as you did. Pray that we may all share your aversion for sin and achieve a life of sanctity. Jesus always spoke of his love for children and we know that your requests will be well received. We humbly ask that you bring our petitions before the Lord.

Saint Dominic Savio,
Pray for us.

aleteia.org

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