5 Prayers for Your High School Child

Peyton Garland

Peyton Garland

iBelieve Editor
Published: Aug 09, 2022
5 Prayers for Your High School Child

And God, as I step into a season of big, scary unknowns, allowing one teen to drive alone while another packs up and moves off to college, help me remember that You are the God who knows no unknowns, and you take each piece of my life, nanosecond by nanosecond, and pave the way for beautiful things ahead.

I'll be honest, the only teenagers I've ever reared walk on four legs... but let me say, their teen years (human year #2) were brutal. Alfie and Daisy were overly enthusiastic about involving themselves in ridiculous activities like running away, skinny-dipping in creeks, eating scissors, barking at me when they weren't ready to come inside and go to bed, trucking their friends, having sex in the middle of the park—inciting an alpha-male dog pile—for all other dog moms to see. 

Teen years, whether in dogs or humans, are awkward, spastic, and, well, _____________. 

(You fill in the blank with whichever riveting and roaring adjective best defines your quirky, rebellious kid.)

However, just last month, I helped host my high school's ten-year reunion. After catching up and chatting with old friends, it's a bit easier to recall who I was, or who I thought I was, uncovering which life lessons teen Peyton should have learned much sooner (like avoiding purple eye shadow and zebra-print everything... hello, 90s kid). Regardless, the beauty of becoming an adult is trying and failing at being an adult, over and over again. Such is the life we have lived into, and such is the life your high school child will live into.  

But, until your high school kiddo finds steadier rhythms of adulthood and slowly discovers who God created him/her to be, I have a few prayers that you can pray over them. Each prayer is inspired by an adjective I would use to fill in the above blank, creating conversations with God that directly center on teens' biggest struggles.

So, let's start off our prayers by addressing the unavoidable reality that teens are, well: 

1. Confusing

God, You make no mistakes. Each thing You do, each word You speak, serves a purpose, so I have no doubt You were meticulous in paralleling your children with sheep. We scatter easily, find ourselves trapped in briar thickets, and rarely know which way leads home. I feel this is especially true for teens. They scatter in hopes of finding a group of people who will offer value and purpose. Teens are trapped between so many seasons: childhood and adulthood, dependence and independence, complete innocence and full exposure, and the list drones on. Often, whether due to negative friends or pure innocence, they chase after a "home" that isn't safe or satisfying. 

But just as we are the sheep, You are the Good Shepherd. You know my child by name, and You watch over him/her with a sovereign protection and grace I could never muster as a parent. As my teen navigates an awkward, confusing time in life, I pray You will allow Psalm 23, though "overused," to resonate in his/her heart. Let my child recall that in You, the Good Shepherd, they can be led through dark, unknown valleys. They can find their home in You, a God who offers a cup that runs over. 

In their confusion, may they find Your fulfillment. 

In Your holy name, 

Amen.

2. Angry 

Father, second only to your salvation, the thing I most easily believe in is teenage hormones. That is, faith becomes sight every day of my life. No one need convince me of the invisible chemical fireworks exploding in my teen's body. However, You teach us the beauty in self-control, allowing our human self to pause long enough and consider the spirit self, or, in better words, the Spirit himself. 

Your Word offers plenty of examples of the destruction that untamed anger causes, such as Cain murdering Abel, Joseph murdering the Egyptian, Peter cutting off a man's ear, etc. Meanwhile, 2 Timothy 2:23-25 says, "But keep away from foolish and ignorant arguments; you know that they end up in quarrels. As the Lord’s servant, you must not quarrel. You must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, who is gentle as you correct your opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth.”

So, Father, please allow my teen, though hormones are raging and anger is an emotion that easily wins over feelings, to remember that untamed anger never has a good ending. Though it might feel good at the moment to lash out in anger, those feelings never have a good end. Give my teen Your Spirit’s nudge, and allow him/her to recall that uncontrolled anger is never the avenue to positive change or personal growth. 

In Your kind name,

Amen. 

3. Reckless

God, our culture near-worships recklessness. Risk-takers are the ones who trend on Tik Tok, snag all the social media followers, and have the dream boyfriend/girlfriend. Yet, you called us to a life of sober-mindedness. So, as my teen navigates a world that revels in the “benefits” of taking frivolous chances, please allow him/her access to Your Spirit’s discernment. 

You, Lord, are a fun God who calls us to great adventures; don’t ever let my child count out the pure joy and thrill of following You. However, let him/her understand the difference between chasing acceptance through the world’s dangerous outlets and finding fulfillment in a life dedicated to You, where reckless abandonment offers adventures with deep, satisfying meaning. 

Thank You for being an adventurous God,

Amen. 

4. Stuck in the Middle

Lord, I know I’ve brought this concern to You before, the reality that my teen is in between so many life phases, but I pray that he/she will not sit by and let these gray phases of life flit by. Rather, give my teen a vision, and grant them the space to discover their spiritual gifts. Please offer access to healthy mentors who will stand in the gap of the unknown and provide encouragement, prayer, and love for my child in ways that I can’t. 

If I’m being honest, God, I struggle with this idea of allowing You to steer my unknown seasons. We, teens and adults alike, desire control because, well, pride wants us to think we know what is best for us. And if we, as adults, never get a full grip on this world, our teens surely won’t. However, in this unraveling, as my teen slowly notices that they are standing in the gap of life decisions that won’t always allow them to control the outcomes, I pray You will be their Light in the darkness, the Sun amid the gray patches, showing them creative, healthy, challenging ways to step into their God-given gifts to use for Your glory. 

(And God, as I step into a season of big, scary unknowns, allowing one teen to drive alone while another packs up and moves off to college, help me remember that You are the God who knows no unknowns, and you take each piece of my life, nanosecond by nanosecond, and pave the way for beautiful things ahead.)

You’re a good, good God,

Amen. 

5. Malleable

Lord, the teen years are some of the most malleable years of a person's life. Of course, we can’t count out the formative years, those early days when babies first discover emotions and communication, and we are charged to show them healthy ways to control feelings and respond to others. But, teens begin to challenge those lessons we taught them in their formative years. 

They see their ability to drive themselves to school, the ability to go on a date, the ability to ask questions and search for answers on Google (Lord, be near), and they believe they are now the best at deciding what life means. But, God, I’m not naive. While they want to believe they are the best at discerning their lives, they are looking to influencers at school, on tv, on social media, and digesting trendy beliefs to curate what they think is the best way to navigate their lives. 

God, this is a two-fold prayer. I pray that, first, You remain the Captain of their ship and that while my son chases after fatal sirens and my daughter thinks looting pirates are hot, You will gently steer them on the path You chose for them before the oceans were made. You are kind and faithful, and I pray that my teen sees that. Meanwhile, I pray my child will see that humans are fallible, even the influencer kind. I ask that you allow my teen access to healthy takes on vulnerability and raw, real faith in Jesus by those he/she interacts with in reality and on the screen. 

Block the enemy from their phones, conversations, and minds, Lord. Teens are malleable creatures, and I pray that they are putty only in Your hands. 

In Your precious, holy name, I pray,

Amen. 

Photo Credit: ©Jeswin Thomas/Unsplash

Peyton Garland headshotPeyton Garland is an author and coffee shop hopper who loves showcasing God's beauty from ash. Check out her latest book, Tired, Hungry, & Kinda Faithful, Where Exhaustion and Exile Meet God, to discover how your cup can overflow—even in dry seasons. Meanwhile, follow her on Instagram @peytonmgarland for more insight into her writing and the terrors of raising gremlin dogs.

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