A Prayer for Families With Teenagers
Lord, we need you, we need help.
This prayer might come across as desperate, but here we are just a few months into the school year and our whole family, parents, and teenagers are exhausted. We are exhausted from trying: trying to communicate with each other, trying to get the other one to see our side of things, trying to be right all the time. At night our heads hit the pillows with loud exasperated sighs and heavy hearts. All we want is to be understood.
Help us to learn to trust you to keep our children safe, and that in the midst of what can seem like blank stares, they hear us and take the advice we are trying to give. Please be with us when we stand in front of coaches, guidance counselors, teachers, and youth pastors to sound less overwhelmed. Sometimes they think we are over-protective or—worse—apathetic, but it’s because we just want them to understand we want what’s best for our kids. It just seems to come out all mixed up. We know we seem like lunatics with our rules or un-involved as ghosts in the distance. Could you please let them know just how grateful we are for each of them? In our exhaustion, we forget to tell them. They can see below the surface, past all the angst to the awesome kid we know is there, and we are beyond thankful.
A missionary once said that the word for love in a remote village of the Philippines means, “To have the roots of my heart tangled in another’s.” This is how we feel, and it is terrifying to wonder what will happen when those roots become untangled.
Lord we wonder…
Will this insecure, awkward teen, really be able to follow you, hold a job, and perhaps have a family of their own one day? We hope so. The time we have left with them at home is so short now, and we are worried we haven’t given them all the tools they need to be out on their own. Do our kids see when we dwell on completed chores, finished homework, and responsibility that we really just want them grow into amazing adults? Do they know that when we get that far away look and grab them unexpectedly we just aren’t ready quite yet to let them go? Growing adults is exhausting, and yet, what happens when we don’t have kids at home anymore? Can you help our teens see the roots of their heart are entangled in ours? And while it might come out wrong 99 percent of the time, we are trying. Most of all could you help our kids see we always have their back, and it’s why we do what we do right now. Could you give us a hint if we are doing a decent job?
Lord could you help our parents see we are trying, too? So often we wake up sad, tired, hungry, or panicked if we studied enough for the test in 5th hour. Anxiety sweeps over us as we worry whether or not coach will put us in at the game today, make the part we want in the play, or have to deal with that kid who obviously doesn’t like us, but we can’t for the life of us figure out why. We don’t know how to tell our parents what we feel most of the time, so we just keep our head low and avoid eye contact. It’s hard to tell our parents about that awkward moment when our heart started racing as our crush said, “Hi” in the hall today or that keeping it all together in front of our friends makes our palms sweat. It’s weird to start a conversation about how uncomfortable we are that we feel untalented, too chesty, too short, too acne ridden, or totally uncoordinated. Lord, can you help our parents notice we need them, even though we don’t know how to tell them most of the time? Our grunts, whines and eye rolls are a complicated mess of wanting more independence while we aren’t ready to bear the weight of being an adult quite yet. We need our parents to show us how to grow up well, and what that even means.
We’re afraid, too soon, we will leave home and we wonder if we’ll just be another statistic? Will we leave church, drop out of college, lose our job, or never find our way at all? Can you help us because we just want to be successful, whatever that means, and we don’t really know how to make that happen? Can you tell our parents to reassure us that it’s going to be all right, to tell us more often they have our back, and that they love us no matter what? Lord, actually could my parents remind us that they love us for who we are and not what we do at all?
Thank you Lord for our family.
It’s the only one we’ve got, and while we might be exhausted, help us to never give up on each other. Give us the ability to seek you with our whole hearts, to cast our cares on you, and to give you our lives. Remind each of us young and old that our identity isn’t in being a parent or a teen, but it is in you. We are exhausted Lord, so today in our weakness will you be our strength? Remind us you are the one in control of both the parents and the children of this family.
Lord, this family, hopes, fears, triumphs and failure, we give it all to you. The roots of our hearts are entangled in yours Lord, more so yours is in ours. Tonight when our heads hit the pillows will you let our sleep be sweet and a peace that passes everything to take hold of our hearts.