I still remember when we hit a critical time in my son's life, when I was concerned over his spiritual growth and walk with God. He hadn't done anything wrong, but I could see there were changes coming. I had homeschooled him since 4th grade and I recognized the need for outside influence to begin to enter into the picture. I started to pray for the Lord to provide where I lacked, for people who could come alongside my son and encourage him and ask the hard questions. I could see the natural shift coming as he turned 15, when he wanted to seek out male advice and mentoring. As my son got involved in youth group, the Lord provided wonderful youth mentors who built relationships with him.
I also began to see evidence of God at work, when I would come in my son's room, and he would have notebooks with written out prayers and scriptures that were speaking to him. I saw sticky notes coming out of his Bible and highlighted scriptures that had spoken to him. God had answered my prayers and was at work in a mighty way, but not from me nagging or being too pushy, but by taking a step back and letting the Holy Spirit work.
How To Engage and Embrace Today's Teen
If you have a teen son or daughter from the age of 15-18, this is a great season to embrace their age, and begin to pray for ways to engage with them. Today's teen is very busy and distracted. They want radical faith and things that jump out at them. They want absolute truths and love being challenged, so don't be afraid to give them new ways to study and read the Bible.
You will see your position change as an instructional parent to a cheerleader and coach when your children reach this age. The days of the read aloud Bible stories will be over but never in vain, and just because you are less involved in the day to day reading, don't stop communicating and staying in touch, it is crucial to stay in touch.
Tips To Encourage Your Teens in Bible Reading.
- Take your teen shopping to the local bookstore to choose a devotional Bible, and/or study guides that fit their style. By letting them choose, it becomes their idea, and they are more inclined to dig in and enjoy.
- Seek out a mentor for your teen, that can keep them accountable, and pray with them. Encourage them to do weekly or daily texts and emails with a mentor to keep them on track.
- Provide your teenager with journals, highlighters, and sticky notes to keep it interesting and personal. Make it fun!
- Use technology to your advantage. One of the best things that my son and I did was to each download the Bible app. then we chose a reading plan. This was a great way to keep my son involved in Bible reading with me, and he loved that he was using technology to do so.
- Mix up the devotional and Bible reading materials. By changing to different versions of the Bible and styles of devotionals, it keeps your teen engaged and not bored.
- Coordinate a small group Bible study for your teen, or gather up a texting/emailing buddy system with other kids, who will send out scriptures each day, and pray for one another.
- Send your teenager to youth camps and retreats. I have seen my son always have great experiences and grow in the Lord while away, and come back inspired to be in the Word.
- Pray, pray, pray. It is a time to let the Holy Spirit speak to your teen through the Word, and to take a less involved approach.
A last word to moms: My best advice is to take advantage of the younger years when you have those teachable moments and time to do corporate Bible reading, even when its hard to fit it in, and even when you think they aren’t listening, they are! Your time will never be in vain and you will see the fruit your labor come later in their life.
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