By: Beth Ann Baus
Nothing brings greater joy to a parent than to see their child walk with the Lord. On the flip side, nothing brings greater heartache to a parent than to see their child refuse to believe in Him.
This world we live in is full of distractions, temptations, and evil that draws our teens away from truth and towards self-gratification. There are countless reasons why teenagers turn from the godly foundation they were given as children and walk away from their faith.
But we must not give up hope. As long as there is breath in their lungs we must continue to plead with our Lord and Savior to bring them back to the fold or, in many cases, prick their hearts for the first time.
Discussing God with an unbelieving teen can be difficult.
What you intend to be a loving conversation can quickly escalate into raised voices and hurtful words. In these moments of desperation, it’s easy to feel that your child’s salvation rests in your hands, but we must remind ourselves that it does not.
The salvation of our children rests in God’s hands, and in God’s hands alone. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your child is to pray. Plead with the One who can bring about change in your teenager’s heart.
Pleading for the salvation of a child can leave a parent feeling desperate, exhausted, and speechless. These are the times when we can find comfort in knowing the Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27).
These are also the times when we, as parents, should turn to God’s Word and pray over the truths we find there.
Below are 10 prayers structured around specific Bible verses to help guide you in your prayers for your unbelieving teen. May the Lord hear the cries of all parents with unbelieving teenagers and know their “heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh…”
Father God, I come before you with thanksgiving. You have given me the joy of being a parent and I am ever so thankful. I praise You for who You are and I am filled with joy knowing that I am Your child. But as You know, my heart is also breaking. I am overwhelmed with sorrow that my teen doesn’t believe in You. The thought of my child spending eternity in Hell leaves me feeling desperate. Please take his heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh! Please give him a new heart that is bent towards You and fill him with Your Spirit.
“And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
Father, my heart aches as I see my teen rebelling against You. I want more than anything for my daughter to see that following her flesh may seem best now, but in the long run, it will only bring her to ruin. Please open her eyes to Your truth, put Your Spirit in her and cause her to walk in Your statutes. Please give her eyes to see that glorifying herself will only bring pain. Please soften her heart so that she will want to glorify You!
3. Acts 16:14
“The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”
Lord, we see in scripture that you open hearts and allow people to pay attention and understand Your Word. Please give this gift to my son. Open his heart so that he will follow You, live for You, and so that He will glorify You with his life! Please bring people into his life that will speak truth to him. Open his ears to hear. Open his heart to pay attention and understand. Please save him.
4. Romans 6:17
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed.”
Heavenly Father, I praise you for opening my eyes and freeing me from slavery to sin. I ask that you would please free my son as well! I see him following the ways of the world and it breaks my heart. Please save him. Please soften his heart and fill him with your Spirit so that he will be obedient to You and not follow the ways of this world.
“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Father God, I thank you so much for my daughter. You ask us to tell you the desires of our hearts, and my heart desires that my daughter would believe in You. She is being blinded by the god of this world. Please open her eyes so that she will see the light of the gospel! The thought of her soul being lost for eternity makes me feel sick inside. Please draw her to Yourself. Please save her.
“God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
Heavenly Father, I confess, I don’t understand why you gave me this son and now I have to watch him reject you. I ask that you help me to trust in Your ways even when I don’t understand. Please save my son. Grant him repentance, allow him to come to his senses and escape the snare of the devil. I want so badly to see Him follow You. Please save him.
7. Matthew 5:16
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Father God, I confess that when I try to talk to my daughter about you, I often lose my temper and say things I don't mean. I want to have a good, reasonable conversation, but she gets so angry and defensive, and I know I don’t always respond well. Please help me. Fill me with your Spirit and allow your Spirit to speak through me. Help me to let my light shine before my daughter so that she will see my good works and give You glory. I want to be a good example, I want to represent You well to her. Please help me and please help her. Please Lord, save my daughter.
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
Lord, I come to You regarding my son. He has surrounded himself with friends who don’t know you and he has chosen to follow their ways instead of Yours. Please open his eyes to see that he is being deceived and that he has chosen bad company. I ask that you would please bring new friends into his life - friends that know You and live for You; friends that will love him and walk with him even as he rejects You. Bring him friends who will pray for him, who will point him to You, and who will not shy away from sharing the hope they have found in You.
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret.”
Heavenly Father, I fear my daughter is engaging in the fruitless deeds of darkness. I know she is making poor decisions and dabbling in dangerous things. I love her so much and I fear for her safety, and even more so her soul. Please Lord, save her. As difficult as this is, I pray that she will be found out. I pray her fruitless deeds will be exposed. Even if it means the authorities have to be involved, I pray that what she does in secret will be brought to the light and I pray you will use this to open her eyes to how much she needs You!
10. Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Father God, I can’t help but think I’ve done something wrong as a parent that has caused my son to not believe in you. But I know I am not responsible for his salvation. I know that faith is a gift from you and I ask, I beg, that you would please give my son faith. I ask that this rebellion and unbelief is only a phase and won’t follow him into adulthood. Please save him. Please give him the gift of faith.
Heavenly Father, these prayers are for the many parents whose hearts have been broken as they watch their children grow up and reject You. We know that You sent Your only Son to die on the cross to save Your children from their sins. This is something we can’t fully comprehend or even fully appreciate this side of Heaven. But because of this, we know that You understand the heartache that many parents feel because You have watched Your Son suffer and die. We know that You are angered and sorrowful for the darkness in this world and that You grieve with us when our teens reject You.
You are the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We ask that You would extend the gift of faith to our children and save them. Give them soft hearts, open eyes, and ears to hear. Call them to Yourself and grant them repentance. Please, Lord. Allow our children to glorify You in their lives here on earth and to bow before Your throne one day in Heaven.
We pray these things in Your Son’s precious name, Amen.