By Jennifer Slattery, Crosswalk.com
If only we could impart perfect wisdom into our teenagers’ brains and protect them from life’s most damaging pitfalls. Obviously, we can’t, but we can do something even better, even more life changing. We can point them to the God who always maintains full control, created their inmost beings, and knows precisely where they’re headed. We can teach them to converse daily with Him.
This 30-day prayer challenge is for those teenagers who are struggling to pray and also for those who simply want to add variety when talking to God.
Day 1: Ask God for the desire to pray.
The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus and a deeper relationship with Him. It’s easier and more rewarding to pray when we seek God’s help doing so. We can ask for increased desire and the ability to remain focused as we talk to God, especially for the times you just don't feel like you want to pray.
Day 2: Praise God for His goodness.
Pausing to reflect on who God is, in all His glory, helps us maintain a teachable, reachable heart. It also places our problems and concerns in proper perspective. We remember He’s more powerful than anything we might face, wise enough to know the best solution, and loving enough to bring that to pass.
Day 3: Ask for Forgiveness of sins.
There’s such power and freedom in admitting to God what He already knows—that we’ve blown things and haven’t loved Him and others as we should. Confessing our sins to God encourages the regular introspection necessary for growth and healing. It also helps break the power of sin over us. We admit each sin is contrary to God’s heart, ask for forgiveness, and the strength and desire to love better next time.
Day 4: Pray for help to forgive others.
Withheld forgiveness feeds bitterness, which crowds out love, and anger, which hinders joy. Forgiveness is a choice, not an emotion; it’s relinquishing the desire to get even or demand payment for a debt or hurt.
Day 5: Thank God for His wisdom.
He who created the universe knows more than the most brilliant or educated astrophysicist, and He who formed every human heart knows exactly what we need most at every moment. Celebrate these truths and thank Him for all the ways His wisdom brings you comfort, help, and peace.
Day 6: Thank God for His presence.
There’s no place we’ll go and nothing we’ll experience where God is not right there with us (Psalm 139:7-8). Proclaiming these truths in prayer encourages us to keep moving forward no matter what lies ahead. Though we may, at times, feel alone, we truly aren’t and never will be.
Day 7: Thank God for His perfect love.
God’s love is completely different from the often conditional and temporary emotion we often experience from others. It is unending and never-failing. We are deeply, wholly, and eternally loved by the God who is love. When we thank God for His love, we remind ourselves that, regardless how we may feel, we are indeed always loved.
Day 8: Thank God for how He cares for you.
Today’s advertising gurus tell us we need that next gadget, trendy blouse, or money for that next adventure to feel happy. It’s easy to believe this is true. Intentionally thanking God for all He’s given us helps protect us from the misery birthed in discontentment, promotes joy, and brings God great pleasure.
Day 9: Ask Him to guard you heart.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) tells us to “Guard [our hearts] above all else, for it determines the course of [our lives].”
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts,” Jesus said. “Murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony and slander” (Matthew 15:19). Similarly, a heart filled with God produces love, goodness, and self-control. Ask God to purge you of all that darkens that enslaves, that He fills you instead with all the qualities that reveal you belong to Him (Ephesians 4:25, 29-32).
Day 10: Ask Him to send quality friends.
Our peers can influence us for good or for harm. When we select quality friends who are progressing toward their goals, we’ll gain increased motivation to do the same.
Day 11: Pray God would bless others (enemies included).
It’s easy to pray for those we feel closest to, and we should. God wants us to pray for all people and for all situations. But Jesus told us to pray for our enemies and those who mistreat us as well. When we do, God may give us insight that changes our perspective regarding the situation. It can also free us from any emotional power the individual might hold over us.
Day 12: Seek God's for help to hear Him.
Rather, He whispers His will and words of encouragement to our hearts. The ways He speaks to us are as diverse as the children He created, but we likely won’t hear an audible voice. Therefore, we need help determining what thoughts come from Him and which ones originate from us.
Day 13: Pray to know your Father more.
Jesus wants to take us into a thriving, ever deepening relationship with Him. As we come to Him in prayer, He speaks quietly to our heart, drawing us to Himself and whispering revelations to our souls.
Day 14: Pray He gives you a love for Scripture.
Taking time to read Scripture means saying no to something else. This can be hard to do in our own strength, but God doesn’t want us to rely on ourselves. He wants us to rely on Him and His strength birthed within. Prayer helps us do that.
Day 15: Ask for help to recognize His hand.
Each day, God provides what I like to call “God kisses”—unexpected moments or blessings that reveal His love. In our busy, skeptical, and distracted world, however, these moments can be easy to miss. Ask the Holy Spirit to increase your sensitivity and awareness to how He works in, through, and around you.
Day 16: Ask that He reveals false identities.
We all have inner lies—untruths we believe about ourselves that impact our emotions, behaviors, and perceptions of the world and others. To eliminate them, they first must be aware they exist, and God loves to increase our self-awareness and anchor us deeper into truth.
Day 17: Pray for help to see yourself as God see you.
God says, in Christ, we’re chosen, adored, lavished with grace, uniquely created for a unique and glorious purpose, and that our lives have infinite value. Ask God to help you recognize, believe, and own every true thing He says about you and absolutely nothing else.
Day 18: Ask for a Your vision for your life.
God loves to birth God-sized dreams within us, not so that we can achieve wealth and fame but so that we can make Him famous. Ask God to create within you an expectation for the life He promised in John 10:10 and to give you His vision for your life. Where might He take you, if you were to practice always responding to His nudge with a yes?
Day 19: Pray for help to live as the person He created.
We understand, in theory, that God created everyone with personality, perspective, gifts, and preferences. Our desire to fit in, however, can begin to dominate our behavior. When we try to act like everyone else, we lose a huge part of who God created us to be and potentially rob ourselves of the life He’s planned uniquely for us.
Day 20: Pray for healthy relationships.
God wants us to bring life and light into all our interactions. We do so by speaking truth, setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries, and treating one another with love and kindness rather than manipulation and control.
Day 21: Ask for help to see others.
We encounter hurting people daily, but some who feel the most broken might hide behind cheerful smiles and hellos. God can give us the supernatural insight to see beyond our peers’ words and forced expressions to their wounded hearts.
Day 22: Ask for help to speak truth.
Others may tell us, when our friends engage in sin, that the most loving thing we can do is keep quiet. But we know from Scripture that truth leads to freedom. In fact, there is no real freedom apart from truth, and love dies when immersed in deception. Love and truth combined, however, transforms lives and entire communities for generations to come.
Day 23: Pray for the strength to surrender.
The more we know and trust God, the easier it becomes to surrender to His leading. When we resist doing so, we likely hold false ideas regarding who God is, or haven’t fully owned a truth. God alone can help us move past these areas of deception into deeper truth.
Day 24: Thank Him for the cross.
Pause to think deeply on the Christ’s death and resurrection. Thank Him for the love that drove Him to it and all that it means. Your past mistakes don’t define you and your current struggles won’t defeat you. You can live victoriously because you belong to the victorious, risen King who conquered the power of sin and death when He died in your place.
Day 25: Pray to experience resurrection power.
If we’ve trusted in Jesus for salvation, we have raise-a-dead-man-to-life power within us (Ephesians 1:19-20)! This means we can choose self-control and love over that sinful and impulsive behavior. We have everything we need, in Christ, to live the type of life He desires (2 Peter 1:3), and we receive God’s strength through prayer and surrender.
Day 26: Ask God to calm your emotions.
We were created to feel deeply but not to live dominated by our emotions. During our teen years, when our rapidly changing hormones and the chaos around us triggers depression and anxiety, may we turn to God for calm. May He soothe our hearts and calm us in His love. If negative emotions become unmanageable and persistent, may God show us how to get help and provide the courage for us to do so.
Day 27: Pray for increased perseverance.
We often like the results endurance produces but not how it’s usually formed—through trials. This means, when life feels hard, He’s inviting us to grow. Through prayer, we can cooperate with God in this unpleasant yet transformational process.
Day 28: Ask for courage to share the gospel.
Each day, God is placing you in the perfect position to form life-changing relationships. Every kind statement you make and smile you offer can draw others to Christ and soften their hearts to truth. Ask God to show you who’s ready to hear the gospel message and for the words to speak and courage to say them.
Day 29: Pray for long-term vision.
The choices we make today have long term effects; they also create habits that build our character or hinder its development. Ask God to help you focus not just on what you want today but behaviors and choices that will get you where He want to take you tomorrow.
Day 30: Ask God to guide your parents.
Your parents love you and want to do what’s best for you. Though they have decades of wisdom, the world is constantly changing. They may not always know which decision is best for which situation, and making hard choices can be, well, hard. So pray for them, often.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.
This article is part of our Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
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Jennifer Slattery is an author, speaker, and ministry leader passionate about helping God's children reach their full potential and live fully surrendered to Christ. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
In her new podcast Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.