I didn’t grow up with parents who loved the Lord, so when Kieran was born I read all the Christian parenting books I could find. I wanted to do it “right”. I believed that if I parent a certain way, my kids would love Jesus in their teenage years. When they struggled with selfishness or rudeness, I would let them know they were being unloving and unkind. I taught them the ways of God, believing that it would bring about right behavior.
However, when I came to the realization during these past two years that I had forgotten to consistently share the Gospel with my children, I felt like a failure. When they sinned I would point out their heart issues, but not emphasize how much they need a Savior. They knew God loved them, but I didn’t stress enough that they are spiritually dead without him. I didn’t pray with them to ask God to change their hearts. Instead, I had subtly sent them messages to change their behaviors, resulting in self-righteousness and self-reliance instead of dependence in a loving Savior who was their only hope and joy in this life. Why would they think they need Jesus in their teen years if this was not consistently taught to them as they were growing up?
This was a humbling realization as a parent and I went through periods of feeling defeated. I would then seek the Lord and preach to myself His promises and words of faithfulness and grace. But God, in His patient and loving mercy, reminded me of Psalm 46:10-11 “Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” He was trying to tell me that He is indeed much more powerful than I can ever imagine. That He alone can move and transform both my heart and my teenagers to worship Him. That He will be glorified from people of all nations. That I can rest in Him and focus on my own relationship with Him. I can trust God with my children because Salvation belongs to Him alone. It had taken a while, but I was finally able to surrender and lay my burdens at His feet.
God helped me turn my sadness into hope as I fixed my eyes on Christ and He is teaching me how to pray for my teens differently. He has changed my practical prayers to ones of more eternal value. I am learning to hold on to the prayers that God gives us in His Word. In John 17, Jesus prayed for his disciples in the final hours before his crucifixion. Even while we were enemies, he loved us so much and prayed passionately for his future believers. I am learning to model His prayer as I pray for my teens.
Lord, they are yours. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me… I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. “ (John 17:6, 9)
Lord, keep them from evil. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
Lord, give them your joy. I pray that their greatest joy will be found in God alone. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” (John 17:13)
Lord, make them holy. I pray that they will rely on God’s wisdom instead of what the world tells them. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
*Prayers taken from “The Prayers Our Teens Need Most”.
Each month there is a youth parents prayer meeting. This is a time that parents come together and seek the Lord for our teens, knowing that true heart change only comes through the good news of the Gospel. Will you join us as the family of GRC to pray for our youth? That they would be disciples of Jesus, growing in their faith in a living and active way. That we as parents and members of the family of Christ would guide them towards the cross, and not just towards right behavior. That self-dependance and self-reliance would be replaced with Christ-dependance and Christ-reliance. That above all they would love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Amen.
Kayla Chung and her family have been worshipping at GRC since 2008.