Praying for teenagers

I’ve seen the Lord doing some amazing things in the lives of teenagers this year. I know it’s because of the work of God and the result of prayer.

Call me crazy, but I believe this generation of students will have an amazing impact on our world and will pursue God with a greater zeal and passion than the generations before them. I invest more time now in prayer for young people than I ever have.

Today, I want to share with you 10 things that I pray for today’s teenager:

1. Purpose

I believe God has a plan and purpose for every student. I speak this over teenagers and ask God to, no matter what their circumstances are, give them passion and a deep-seated purpose for living.

(Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 139:13-16; 2 Cor. 5:20; Jeremiah 1:5; John 14:13; Rom. 8:28-29)

2. Friendships

I spend time talking about the friendships young people develop more than other topics because I know the truth that you are (and become) who you hang out with. I pray God will give today’s teenager wisdom in choosing their friends and that God will bring people into their lives who will point them to Christ. I also pray that He will use students to encourage and build up each other like never before.

(1 Cor. 15:33; Heb. 10:25; 1 Thess. 5:11; 1 Sam. 16:7)

3. Character

Today’s teen is bombarded with every temptation known to man, and the enemy is seeking to destroy their character. I pray that this generation of students may experience an ongoing transformation by having their minds renewed and that they will be examples to the world in their speech, lives, love, faith and purity. I also ask for more great Christ-like role models for our students, particularly among their own peers.

(1 Tim. 4:12; Rom. 12:1-2; Psalm 24:4)

praying for teenagers

If I could get in a time machine and go back to teenaged Greg I’d tell him one thing…learn how to pray.

Sadly, it took me about four decades to begin to truly discover the power of prayer. Once I did, it felt like for the majority of my life I’d been throwing dirt clods at Satan only to discover there was a bazooka in the closet.

Now that I’m learning the power of prayer I can scream, “Say hello to my little friend” as I blast away at Satan’s strongholds in my life, church, community and nation! I can worship God and praise him for who he is and what he has done! I can intercede at Jesus’ side for both believers and unbelievers alike!

Oh how I wish I would have learned the art and science of prayer as a teenager! Instead, I followed the model of many of my leaders who used prayer more like holy water to sanctify their white board plans. 

Instead it is a secret weapon to be aimed at the enemy of our souls. It is a largely untapped pipeline for both earthly and spiritual provisions straight from heaven’s limitless reservoirs to us!

So how do we teach our teens how to pray? Here are five ideas:

1.  Pray often. Pray well. Pray now.

Make prayer part of the way you live and breathe. Pray with your teenagers. Pray for your teenagers. Pray in private and in public. Spend time pouring your heart out to God in prayer with teenagers. Let them overhear and participate in your intercession. Let them hear you pray so that they, just like the first disciples of Jesus, proclaim, “teach us to pray!”

2.  Maximize desperate times.

There’s nothing like desperation to amp up our prayers of intercession, protection and supplication. If a teenager comes upon a desperate time (break up, parents divorce, bullied or stabbed in the back, etc.) use that time to teach them to pray. Get them journalling their prayers to God. Point them to the Psalms and show them how to cry out their prayers of “How long O Lord?” or “Why?” to the Father. And teach them how to pray through the frustration to faith…just like David did again and again throughout the Psalms.

3.  Do a series on prayer.

Sometimes teenagers don’t pray because they don’t know how to do it. Purchase or develop a good series on prayer that will show them how to pray with power. At Lead THE Cause we teach teenagers to pray by using the Lord’s prayer as a guideline. We use the acrostic PRAY…Praise, Request, Admit, Yield:

Praise  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name.” These eight words embody who God is (Our Father), how sovereign he is (in heaven) and how holy he is (hallowed by your Name.) Needless to say there’s a lot of potential truth to unpack in this singular sentence that will help teenagers know how to pray to and praise God.

Request “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is done in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” The first request we bring to God is not our Santa Claus wish list…or even our own personal needs (although these are important to God!) No, the first request is for HIS kingdom to come and HIS will to be done. We teach our teenagers to pray for revival in the youth group and their schools, for God’s kingdom to advance one Gospel conversation at a time until it saturates our campuses and communities and world. Then, of course, we teach them to ask for their “daily bread” of the ongoing provisions we need and want.

Admit “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.” This is where we teach teenagers to confess their sins to God, claiming the promise of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This trains our teenagers to refuse to linger in the mud when they fall and to get cleaned up through confession as they relentlessly pursue their relationship with God.

Yield “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”  This equips our teenagers to yield themselves to the Holy Spirit as they put on the full armor of God to wage war against Satan. This part of prayer keeps our teenagers alert to the reality of spiritual warfare and the temptations that the world, the flesh and the devil throw their way everyday.

I use the PRAY acrostic with my kids to teach them pray holisitically and give them a simple outline to use when they pray. It comes straight from the Lord’s prayer (and that prayer is kind of hard to beat!)

4.  Program prayer into your meetings.

What if?

What if you took used the worship time of your weekly meeting to make prayer part of your actual program? I blogged about how to do just that here.

Or, what if you used the last ten minutes of your youth group meeting to allow teenagers to pray?

Or what if the first or last half of your small groups allowed teenagers to pray with and for each other and their unreached friends?

You may be surprised how your teenagers are longing to pray down deep inside. They may just not know it yet. Programmed times of prayer can help this deep, divine desire to surface in powerful ways.

At the Dare 2 Share conferences we program prayer into our rundown and the results have been amazing. There’s something about a room full of teenagers praying at the same time. It brings us back to that elemental root in all of us. After all, at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of kids talking to their Daddy…their Daddy who happens to rule the universe!

5.  Take them out to share the Gospel.

“After they prayed the place where they were meeting was shaken and they went out and spoke the Word of God boldly.”  Acts 4:31

There’s nothing like evangelism to shake things up when it comes to prayer.The prospect of going out and engaging others in Gospel conversations creates holy tension that can burst out in the form of worry or prayer. But if we point teenagers upwardly to God as we are taking them outwardly to engage others with the Gospel it can transform them inwardly in powerful ways. 

When Jesus unleashed his disciples on an evangelistic mission (Matthew 10), he told them not to depend on their provisions but to depend on the Spirit. I’m sure that the prospect of going town to town to preach the message of the Gospel to potentially antagonistic crowds caused them to pray like never before!

The same is true of your teenagers! Take them out to share the Gospel, challenge them to begin a texting Gospel conversation with their friends or mobilize them to go on an evangelistic mission trip and you will see an opportunity to get them praying right away. Why? Because they’re probably very nervous! And outreaches like this create “desperate times” that can trigger teenagers to embrace the “drastic measure” of calling out to God for boldness and strength to proclaim his message.

These are my five ideas to teach teens to pray. What are some other ideas?
praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

There may be nothing kinder, more loving, more generous, or more beneficial that you can do for them than to pray.

Pray for those teenagers that God has placed in your life.

Pray for those teenagers that God has placed in your life! Click To Tweet

Lift them to heaven.

They need your prayer support.

They need people praying for them who love them dearly.

How should you pray?

Ask God to send men and women who will invest in their lives and give them wise counsel.

These can come in the form of teachers, coaches, mentors, older friends, neighbors, pastors, and youth leaders.

We have prayed this way and watched God send numerous wise men and women into the lives of our children. These folks have loved our kids, taught our kids, and given our kids such great advice and help along the way.

Ask God to send men and women who will invest in their lives and give them wise counsel. Click To Tweet

Here are two verses you can pray:

“Would you give _____ wise counselors, coaches, teachers, friends, and mentors? Help _____ to understand that without counsel, their plans fail. Give them the grace to listen and understand that with many advisers they succeed.”

(Proverbs 15:22)

“Help _____ to understand that arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord. Give _____ to see that wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel. Lead _____ to incredibly wise counsel.”  

(Proverbs 13:10)

We can pray that our kids will be drawn to the Lord and to spiritual things.

We can ask God to “woo” them and “pull” them toward Himself.

Here are two verses you can pray:

“Allow ____ to have a heart for you as King David did. But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ Encourage ____ to seek after You and to be willing to do everything you want him/her to do.”    

(Acts 13:22)

“Give _____ a new heart, and put a new spirit in ____ _. Take out _____’s stony, stubborn heart and give _____ a tender, responsive heart.”  

(Ezekiel 36:26)

We can pray that our kids will be drawn to the Lord and to spiritual things. Click To Tweet

Never before have your children spent so much time away from you as they will in their teens years. They are driving, dating, working, going to school, and facing the world as never before. It can be a very challenging season for parents.

Your prayer life should grow exponentially at this stage!

Sometimes, the only thing you can do for your teenagers is to pray for them!

Sometimes, the only thing you can do for your teenagers is to pray for them! Click To Tweet

Here are two verses you can pray:

“Father, keep _____ from all harm and watches over _____’s life. Keep watch over _____ as he/she comes and goes, both now and forever.”  

(Psalm 121:7-8)

“Don’t let _____ be afraid, for you are with him/her. Don’t let _____ be discouraged, for You are God. Strengthen _____ and help _____. Hold _____ up with my victorious right hand.”  

(Isaiah 41:10)

As our kids mature, they are learning so much.

Why not pray for them to be more than intelligent?

Why not ask God to make them wise?

Here is a passage you can pray:

“Let not mercy and truth forsake _____: help ______ to bind them about his/her neck. Encourage _____ to write mercy and truth upon the table of his/her heart. Allow _____ to find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Encourage _____ to trust in the Lord with all or his/her heart. Help _____ to not lean on his/her own understanding, but to acknowledge God. Clearly direct _____’s paths.”  

(Proverbs 3:3-6)

Why not ask God to make your teens wise? Click To Tweet

There is a great deal of stress, drama, and anxiety in the teenage years. And, your kids will likely face these things.

You can pray for them to have a deep peace in the middle of the chaos – for calm hearts.

You can also pray that they will sleep well at night and wake up refreshed. They need good rest at this age!

Here are three verses you can pray:

“Lord, let _____’s soul find rest in God. Let _____’s hope comes from Him.”

(Psalm 62:5)

“Allow _____ to return to a place of deep rest. Encourage _____ to know and understand that the Lord has been good to them.”  

(Psalm 116:7)

“Allow _____ to lie down and sleep in peace. Remind _____ that You alone, Lord, make them dwell in safety.”  

(Psalm 4:8)

You can also pray that they will sleep well at night and wake up refreshed. They need good rest at this age! Click To Tweet

When our daughter was beginning her senior year in high school, we asked God to send her a really great friend… someone she could really enjoy that last year with.

God sent the most precious friend in answer to our prayer. This young girl arrived at our high school as a senior. We believe God moved her to our town to become one of our daughter’s best friends. They are still close although in different colleges.

Pray for your teenager to have really good friends! Click To Tweet

Here are two verses you can pray:

“Father, send a friend to _____ who will be loyal. Give _____ a brother or sister to help in time of need.”  

(Proverbs 17:17)

“Allow _____ to walk with the wise and become wise. Keep _____ from becoming the companion of fools who suffer harm.”  

(Proverbs 13:20)

Ask God to bless your teenagers. Invite the Lord to show them favor.

Here is a wonderful verse you can pray for them:

“Lord, bless ____ and keep ____. Make Your face shine on ____, and be gracious to ____. Turn Your face toward _____, and give _____ peace.”  

(Numbers 6:24-26)

Ask God to bless your teenagers. Invite the Lord to show them favor. Click To Tweet

*Here’s a FREE PRINTABLE for you to save, print, and post on your frig or War Room Wall.

praying for teenagers

~ How have you prayed for your teens?

~ What verses have you used?

~ How have you seen God answer your prayers for your children?

How have you seen God answer your prayers for your children? Click To Tweet

praying for teenagers

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praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

praying for teenagers

One of the greatest discoveries I’ve made since becoming a Carmelite is Saint Teresa of the Andes.

Teresa grew up in Santiago, Chile, and lived a full, vibrant life. She loved horseback riding, swimming and tennis. Teresa had an extraordinary gift for friendship, and she influenced many young people to consider vocations to the religious life. Already a very holy young woman, she entered Carmel at the age of 18. Her stay was brief, as she died only 11 months later at the age of 19. Teresa was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Working on a hunch that she would be a particularly good intercessor for teenagers, I have prayed to her on several occasions in recent years. She is alive in heaven, and her prayers are quite powerful. I have seen her “deliver” more than once, and have come to believe that she is the perfect saint to pray to when a teenager is in need of some spiritual help.


If anyone else would like to share about their experiences with the intercessory power of Saint Teresa of the Andes (or any other saint), please write it up and e-mail it to [email protected]

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