You have probably heard the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, teenagers are not exactly “old,” but they are old enough to be set in their ways, especially if they addicted or prone to rebellion.
This is why praying for teenagers is so important for parents and others who work with young people. We may not be able to help a troubled teen from the outside in, but we can surrender to the power of God to restore a teen from the inside out.
How Praying for Teenagers Shows Our Submission to the Transformative Power of God
Today, in order to explain why praying for teenagers is so crucial and so powerful, I have decided to share an anecdote from the Shepherds Hill Academy (SHA) team.
This story involves a student who formerly invested all of his time into video games. Many children or teens experiencing an addiction like this sacrifice school attendance, normal eating habits, healthy hygiene, and other normal and necessary practices for more time in front of a television or computer screen. Shepherds Hill Academy offers these young people a change of environment by providing a wilderness program. In this program, teenagers live without many modern privileges such as electricity or the Internet. For those struggling with addiction, this is an opportunity to be removed from the distractions and temptations that surround them in their everyday lives and in our society in general.
While this student was attending Shepherds Hill Academy, he insisted that he would leave the school on the day of his 18th birthday, and he was similarly adamant about rejecting God and the Gospel. He and a couple of other male students even made an agreement that they would never be duped into believing in Jesus. He refused to let the Christ-centered approach of Shepherds Hill Academy trick him into believing what he perceived to be a myth.
As the weeks went on, this young man appeared to be committed to his negative position on the Gospel. At Shepherds Hill Academy, we absolutely do not force students to accept the Gospel or Jesus. Trying to force conversion is not the example that Christ left His followers. But we do believe in the power of prayer, and the team at Shepherds Hill Academy faithfully engaged in persistent prayer on his behalf.
When the day of graduation began to approach for this young man, we started to notice an air of conviction about him. He seemed to have dropped the resentful, bad-tempered, and sorrowful appearance of a rebel.
The most wonderful thing about this story is that, regardless of his active attempts to run from God, by the day of his graduation, he came to accept Christ as his Lord! The soul of this young man may have accepted Christ a month prior to his brain catching up to it.
John 12:32 records the words of Christ saying, “And I, when I am lifted up from this earth, will draw all people to Myself.” We do not employ some specific conversion plan, and our team does not win students for the Gospel. It is Jesus who works in us to win souls. It is for this reason that we can not expect certain time frames or force conviction on our students. Some people receive the Gospel mentally, but it takes a while for it to reach their heart—maybe even a lifetime. In the case of some others, the call of Christ resonates in their heart, but it takes a while for it to settle in their mind. The soul receives and accepts the Gospel. After this, the mind, heart, and body will accept it in their own time.
Picture provided by: congerdesign