Jodie Berndt: Parent Your Teens Through Prayer
The 700 Club
CBN.com Author Jodie Berndt says writing Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers was much more difficult from her earlier book, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. For one thing, the issues that teens face are often far more serious than the things we pray about for your children: things like eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and safety in the face of everything from self-injury to teenage driving.
Many Christian parents have no problem believing that God will help their teen become a fine, upstanding adult, but they have a harder time mustering the faith it takes to get through the weekend when the doors are slamming, the cell phones are ringing, and little Susie just called to say she wrecked the car.
Jodie still keeps Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by her bedside – the current book is an offshoot – things not covered by the first book are in this one and it is less eloquent. They are more like King David's prayers "Lord, help me..."
It is important for parents to pray the Scriptures for their teens because God's Word is alive and active, and accomplishes His purposes in our kids' lives. When we use the words of the Bible as the basis for our prayers, we tap into God's power and align our desires for our kids with God's divine purposes for their lives.
The end result, as evidenced by John 15:7-8, is that God gets glory and we/our teens enjoy fruitful lives that are a million times better than anything we might have planned on our own!
GIVING UP CONTROL
As parents raise their teens, Jodie says that the hardest thing for a mom or dad to do is give up control. The teen years show us, as never before, that our control and influence as a parent is limited. We all have plans for our kids, but God is showing Jodie that His plans are far better than anything she might wish for or design. Rather than getting her kids to do what she wants--whether it is to have a firm handshake and stop mumbling, or whether it's to say no to things like drugs and alcohol--she can do a much better job as a parent if she lets God accomplish what He wants in their lives.
When she let go of her parenting agenda, turning control over to God and aligning her will for her kids' lives with His plan for them--which is what we do when we pray the Scriptures--parenting teenagers becomes exhilarating, instead of exhausting.
How do you give up control? Jodie believes there is a huge link between thanking God for the answers that He has already provided, and trusting Him for the future. Many parents of teens are almost afraid to thank God for the blessings in their kids lives, thinking that by doing so they will be tempting fate, or that they will have to eat their words when Johnny breaks curfew next week. But that's not at all what God wants us to do. Jodie says parents need to stop and take an inventory of the ways that God has provided for our families, and thank Him--out loud, or in our prayer journals, or even through a family celebration around the dinner table. In addition to giving God the credit that He deserves, this attitude of gratitude provides a cushion for the trials that come our way, and it builds our faith to believe for the future.
PRAYER ADVICE FOR PARENTS
Jodie has this advice for parents as they pray for their teens: Don't give up! Jodie says she thinks it was Mother Teresa who said that God doesn't call us to be successful; He calls us to be faithful. All of us are going to make mistakes, and some of them will be really big, but that's okay. God is not looking for perfect parents. He wants praying parents--folks who are willing to believe that God is good, that he is faithful, and that he promises to finish the good work that he has already started in our kids--Phil. 1:6.
Also, if you don't already have one, ask God to give you a prayer partner. Maybe it's your spouse, maybe you want to join a Moms in Touch group to pray for kids at your school, maybe it's a best friend who knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about your family, and loves you anyway. Jesus says (Matt 18:20) that where two or more are gathered in His name, He is right there with them, and that's what
we want when we pray: the presence and the power of the Lord Almighty.
Galatuans 6:9 says, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." Giving up control: teens are more out of the parental sphere of influence, but with the power of prayer, they are never out of God's reach.
One of the most common prayers that parents have for their teens is that if their teens are doing something they shouldn't, that they would get caught. Numbers 32:23 says, "But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out."
It's humbling for parents to pray this, but it works – several parents have prayed it. It can be painful, but it works. Jodie says that her family isn't perfect by far, they still make mistakes – they're just like everybody else. She's also seen that no prayer is too small for God to answer. She's heard testimonies of how God has answered prayers from making a teen more kind to delivering a teen from drugs.
God cares for us. Jodie has seen God's character - that He is so faithful and loving. Parents can be a testimony to kids because they see God's strength and power. When teens know that their parents are praying, it makes them feel more secure. One teen thought it was "cool" that his mom was praying for him, and it was printed in Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers. Deep down, teens like parents that are praying for them. From a teenager's standpoint, teens see parents pray and it creates an extra beautiful dynamic in the parent/child relationship – more like brothers and sisters, equals in Christ.
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