I don't remember my parents ever praying with me. It wasn't until I was a parent myself, and a born again believer, that I realized one of the outward signs of a committed Christian is their active prayer life.
Looking back I can now see what I didn't know then -- that my parents had never truly given their lives to the Lord.
Does your teen see you pray? If they don't, how do they know about your relationship with the Lord so they can model it in their own life?
Praying together makes us vulnerable to each other. We are encouraged to share genuine emotions not easily otherwise expressed. I know especially with my teen daughter, many deep discussions evolve into anger and frustration, often tears, getting to the point where my daughter is so involved in her emotions that she can't hear me any longer.
I've found that in these situations of intense emotion, prayer is often a very effective way to bring perspective to the situation and peace to all concerned. We just sit down and pray.
Family prayer has shown me a depth of character in my husband and daughter I never knew existed. My husband prays for the safety and well being of our family with emotion he normally finds hard to express. My daughter prays for the salvation of friends and family members with such fervency that you wonder how the Lord could possibly ignore such faithful prayer.
You don't have to pray together every day to have an impact on your teen. We often pray together at dinner, taking turns offering our prayers of thanksgiving for all the Lord has done in our lives.
My daughter and I often pray together when she's going through a particularly emotional struggle, often the result of spiritual battles she faces as she matures into a young Christian woman.
Being a teen in today's world isn't easy. One of the biggest blessings you can give your teen is to pray with them. It shows them you love them and that you care about their spiritual well being (as well as practicing what you preach).
Copyright 2001. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer, mom, and owner of four home and family web sites. For complete resources for the Christian home, visit her web site at http://www.Christian-Parent.com.