Rooted in Prayer: A Guide for One-on-One Prayer Time with Your Student
In the midst of our over-busy lives, there’s nothing quite so sweet as one-on-one time with an individual child. Grabbing coffee or walking a dog together allows us to listen and to share in ways we can’t do with other folks around, no matter how dear those other people might be. These times also offer us a unique opportunity to really pray for each other.
With that in mind, we created a script for praying one-on-one with a teenager. Each of the questions is designed to open up the conversation to real heart-level sharing, and the prayers that follow help us minister to each other through the Scripture. We used the word “student” to describe each teen, so that the prayers are useful to both parents and youth ministers. It is our hope that as a Rooted community, we will, “Let the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom… with thankfulness in [our] hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16).
We designed this so that you can print this out and take it with you to use as a discipleship tool as you parent and lead students. You can easily personalize the prayers to meet the specific needs and characteristics of your student. So for example, the first one (below) might sound something like this:
Father, teach Mary to cast all her cares on You. You know she has been worried about her little brother’s illness and she is really struggling in Spanish class. Please, Father, help her throw those worries on Your strong shoulders and trust how much You care for her. Help her remember You are mighty to save in any circumstance she might face. As You rejoice over her with singing, please quiet her with Your love. Amen.
Tomorrow on Rooted Parent we offer a version of this script that will guide your teenager in praying for you. Be sure to read today’s article on the youth ministry side of the blog for thoughts on what is appropriate to share with teenagers you disciple.
What are you worried about these days? What stresses you out?
Father, teach my student to cast all their cares on You, for You care for them. I pray that my student will remember that You, Lord God are with them and You are mighty to save; You rejoice over them with singing and quiet them with Your love. (1 Peter 5:7, Zephaniah 3:17).
Father, I pray that my student will be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let their requests be made known to You; and Your peace, which passes all understanding, will guard their heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Help my student to know and deeply believe that they can do all things through You who strengthen them. Help them to see Your wonderful promise to supply all that they need according to Your riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, 13, 19).
Let not my student’s heart be troubled, Father; help them to believe in You and believe also in Jesus. In this world, my student will have trouble, but they can be of good cheer because You have overcome the world. The Holy Spirit will teach them all things and help them to remember all the things You have said to us in Your word. Peace You leave with my student, Your peace You give them, not as the world gives, do You give to us. Let not their heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:1, 26-27, 16:33).
In what ways do you feel like you aren’t enough? Is there some place in your life where you don’t feel you measure up?
Father, remind my student that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away, and the new has come. Help my student to remember that they were washed, they were sanctified, they were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by Your Spirit, O God. (2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 6:11).
May my student be able to hear Your Spirit bearing witness with their spirit that they are a child of God – and if a child, then an heir, a fellow heir with Christ. (Romans 8:16).
Father, help my student to understand, deep in their heart, that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and in fact Your grace is sufficient for them, for Your strength is made perfect in weakness. (Romans 8:1, 2 Corinthians 12:9).
What is making it difficult for you to rest in the Gospel right now?
God, help my student to see that because You are rich in mercy, and because You have loved them with a great love, they have been saved by grace through faith. Help them to trust that salvation is not a result of their own doing, nor a result of works, but rather a gift that You have given them. (Ephesians 2:4-8).
Father, help my student to come to You when they are laboring and heavy laden. You will give them rest. I pray they will take your yoke upon them and learn from You, because You are gentle and lowly in heart. In You alone my student will find rest for their weary soul, for Your yoke is easy, and Your burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).
Father, my student is (like me) an earthen vessel with the treasure of Your Spirit within them, so that the excellence of Your power may be clearly from You, and not from them. Right now my student is hard pressed one every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
Therefore do not allow my student to lose heart. Help them to know they are being renewed by Your Spirit, day by day. Their light afflictions, which are but for a moment, are working in them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Teach my student to turn their gaze from the things which may be seen to the things which cannot be seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9-16-18).
What specific things do you need prayer for right now?
[This would be a good place to teach your student how to search Scripture to pray for themselves (see our article here), and to talk about the heart issues behind specific circumstances. Love, wisdom, and discernment apply to almost any need we can think of, so some prayers for these things are included here.]
I pray, Father, that my student’s love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all depth of insight, that they may be able to discern what is best. Keep them pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to Your glory and praise! (Philippians 1:9-11).
Father, I pray that my student will know how to refuse the evil and choose the good. Teach them, that they may distinguish between the holy and the unholy. (Isaiah 7:15, Leviticus 10:10).
Lord please bless my student with wisdom. I pray they will not walk in the way of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers. Instead, Father, I pray that they will delight in Your law, and meditate on it day and night. I pray You will plant them like a tree beside streams of water, so that they will yield fruit and never wither, so that all that they do will prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3).
What are some ways you see God at work in your life right now?
Father, open my student’s eyes to what You have done for them! Fill them with the wonder of Your saving love, and they will be like one who dreams. Then their mouths will be filled with laughter, and their tongues with singing. Then they will say among the people, “The Lord has done great things for me,” and they will be glad. (Psalm 126:1-2)
Let us thank You, Lord, for Your steadfast love, for Your wondrous works towards the children of man! You satisfy my student’s longing soul. When their soul is hungry, You fill it with good things. When they cry out to You in their trouble, You deliver them from their distress. You send out Your word and heal them, and You deliver them from their destruction. (Psalm 107: 8-9, 19-20).
Father, together we pray: “You are our Lord; we have no good apart from You. You, O Lord, are our chosen portion and You hold our future. The lines have fallen for us in pleasant places. We bless You, Lord, who have given us counsel. You are always before us, and because You are right beside us, we will not be shaken. Our hearts are glad; we rejoice in You; we dwell secure because You will never abandon our souls. Make known to us the path of life. May we find fullness of joy in Your presence and pleasures forevermore at Your right hand. Amen.” (adapted from Psalm 16).
When you are finished praying with your student, be sure to let them question you and pray for you. (You can bring out a pdf of this prayer guide below.) A careful amount of vulnerability is not only appropriate, it allows students to see that in this life we never “arrive” as Christians. We never stop needing God and we never stop needing each other.
Relationships that are rooted in prayer bring glory to God and draw us into closer fellowship with each other and with Jesus. Thank you for praying with the Rooted community this week. We thank God in all our remembrance of YOU – youth pastors, parents, and teenagers – always in every prayer of ours for you all making our prayers with joy, because of our partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5).
For the pdf version of this guide to prayer, click here.
For further reading, check out: “Why Vulnerability Matters to Your Kids” written to parents by college student Lauren Center.