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Temptations: Important Ways to Pray for Self and for Teens

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 8:11pm -- Rob
In Matthew 6, Jesus instructs and models how to pray.  He shows how we can connect with the heart of God through worship and adoration (hallowing, or exalting, God's name above our own and all others).  He points us to pray for God's will to be done here one earth, as His will is currently being done in heaven.  He directs us to pray that our daily needs are met in Him.  Jesus also shows us how we can pray for our sins/debts to be forgiven- as well as seeking God to help us forgive others who have sinned against us.  Lastly, Jesus shows us that we can pray for wisdom when it comes to dealing with temptation(s), as well as God's strength in overcoming temptations of all kinds.

Twice, in Luke 22:39-46, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation. 

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Whether we like it or not, temptations come our way.  We are naturally weak (prone to a variety of hungers, anger, loneliness, tiredness, and more)- no matter how strong we think we might be on our own.  Temptations work on our insufficiencies, and in a strange way, can especially work on us in areas where/when we feel self-sufficient (exposing our pride or lusts).

Temptations give us an opportunity to choose between trusting or leaning on our own perceived strengths, knowledge, or understanding, or to turn to Jesus' all-knowing (omniscient) and all-powerful (omnipotent), Self.  When we turn to Jesus, He empowers us to press through and past the temptation; to see God as greater than the temptation, and help us overcome the thought or matter.

Notice, that when facing temptation, our way of escape is to turn to, lean upon, and focus on Jesus; not to dwell or focus on the temptation or circumstance itself.  Doing the latter will only make it seem more overwhelming and make us focus on our own weakness or inability to overcome the matter in our own ways- thus making it easier to cave in to, or under the weight of the temptation itself.

Turning our focus on God, zeroing in on Him, His Word, and the ministry of His Holy Spirit, helps fill our focus and attention with the One who is greater than all; the One who sent His only Son as a perfect, unblemished, sacrifice for all mankind- that fully and permanently defeated sin, death, and the devil- after being tempted in every way as we are.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
  - Hebrews 2:14-18

Praying for Teens

Teenagers, as we all, are tempted daily to set ourselves, our motivations, goals, desires, and more ahead of God.  Narcissism, exalting of others and things, and more, are constantly working to turn and tear people, young and old, away from focusing upon God alone.

Parents, grandparents, and Christians of all ages and backgrounds, often struggle how to pray for children, youth, and teenagers.
It's important that we make and keep God as the first and only center of our prayers.  There are many things working to turn our attention, focus, even our prayers, and ability to pray, away from Him and His Word.

Bob Hostetler offers 31 ways to pray for your teen (or a teenager you know or see around you).  His first prayer point is vital to pray; and the Scriptures that each prayer point is focused or centered upon are worth looking up, reading, and praying through individually beyond simply praying or parroting what he's written!

Praying for Your Teen
is a link with additional Scripture-based prayer points to help focus on praying for teens.  A statement in the article, "There is a myth that teenagers cannot practice self-control, that the teenage and young adult years are the time for "sewing (sic) wild oats", and Scriptures refuting that idea, are also valuable.

As you'll see as you read and pray through many of the Scriptures and prayer points offered in these links, you may also find that you pray some of these points for yourself and your personal walk with Jesus Christ.  That's perfectly okay!

God often does His greatest work of answered prayer in the heart of the person praying- although He often reveals ways He's answered our prayers for others in their lives/circumstances as well.  Our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ is our most valuable possession- and it's one of, if not THE most valuable possession to God as well.  Let's continue seeking and pressing into Him through today, tonight, and the day(s) to come.  Whether we focus our prayers on children, teens, ourselves, or others, we won't be disappointed as we turn to God as our Rock, Center, Stronghold, and more!

In His grip,

Rob Griepentrog