Do you know what simple thing can have a huge impact when you’re praying for your teens or students, besides actually praying?
It’s to tell them you’re praying for them.
I remember a girl who had stopped coming to our church and to all youth activities. From her Facebook page it was pretty clear she was drifting further and further away from God. I put her on my prayer list and prayed for her regularly.
When I ran into her about two years later (!), we had some small talk and then I casually told her I was happy to see her, and that I was still praying for her. She was absolutely flabbergasted. She welled up as she asked me why I was still praying for her, as she hadn’t been to church for two years. It seemed she was certain everyone had forgotten all about her.
I explained to her that I prayed for all students that had left and that I missed her. One week later she came to one of our activities and decided she wanted to rejoin a small group. After that, she was still struggling and she didn’t make a real commitment to God yet, but at least she was back. I know that telling her I was praying for her made a huge difference.
You see, you’re already praying for your students, so God has heard your prayer and He is sure to answer. But you can help soften a teen’s heart by telling him or her that you’re praying for them. For students to know that someone is praying for them, is thinking about them, is seeing them, that’s a biggie.
Often, all teens want is to be seen in the crowd, to be recognized, to be remembered. Telling them you’re praying for them might just make the difference for them and may open their heart for whatever God is telling them.
More recently, the mother of two students was battling cancer. Since this was an outreach after-school program, most of the students who came were non-churched. Still, we prayed for this mom a few times, but I also prayed for her and for these students privately. Every time I saw them, I’d ask about their mom and reminded them I wasn’t just thinking about them but praying for them all. When their mom went into remission, these girls came to thank me for my prayers and it was clear how much it had impacted their faith in God.
Yes, praying for your students and their families is the most important thing you can do. But don’t forget to encourage them by telling them you’re praying either.