Do you find it challenging to make time for daily devotions? Although we are busy with our work lives and relationships, we are also distracted by our devices, to-do lists, and the demands of social media. This can be even more difficult for teens and young adults. The younger generation, known as digital natives, is more easily distracted online than anyone else. The challenge for them in making time for spiritual practice is perhaps even greater. Internet life for them is a 24-hour reality. So, how do we, as parents and caregivers, help teens connect with daily prayers?
Here are three things you can do today to help your child on their spiritual journey.
1. Make it easy
In his bestselling book Atomic tentOn it, James Clear writes about the importance of making new habits easy.
“Redesign your life so that the actions that matter most are also easiest operation to perform.“
He goes on to explain that we have to make our new habits accessible, engaging, and consistent within reach for them to really stick. For digital natives, the Glorify App can be an easy and accessible way for them to engage in helpful devotional content. For parents and carers, we can support them on their journey by collaborating with them on the app.
Get familiar with the app
Once you know your way around it, you can also encourage them to participate. You can offer to share statements or daily readings with them. Or play worship songs and meditation playlists through smart speakers around the house. You may even find some material on the topic of devotion helpful to work together.
Apps can be a shared space to build closer relationships with your kids and who doesn’t want that?
Handsets are here to stay
Helping our teens navigate their lives online has become a top priority for parents. The Bible reminds us:
“Start showing children the way they should go, and even when they get old, they won’t give it up.
In my own parenting journey, I’ve had to learn to resist the urge to talk to my kids about their phone use. Instead, I’m learning to find common ground and help them engage with impactful spiritual content online. Handheld communication devices are such an important part of our teenagers’ reality, so why not meet them where they are?
2. Make it regular
We all realize that forming habits takes time. Helping your child with daily prayer sessions will likely involve you in this habit-forming process. They may need some gentle reminders. But how can you encourage a spiritually formed habit without becoming a nag? By making it a regular habit.
Setting aside time once a week for a car trip or a coffee date can be a great start. Walking the dog or going shopping can be effective. Whatever you do, setting aside regular time to talk, even if it seems unplanned, can help faith-based conversations flow more naturally. . Learning how to ask open-ended questions can also help. You can ask them how they found their walk of faith. Or if they have anything they want to ask you about? Sites like gotquestions.org can be really helpful when it comes to answering the ‘big’ questions about life and faith. And it can also be a useful place to guide them when they realize that you don’t have all the answers!
A word of encouragement to those of us who wish we had good spiritual habits during our early teen years. Many of us wish we had started earlier but in the words of a famous Chinese proverb:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
3. Make it honest
One of the main characteristics of today’s teenagers (often referred to as Gen Z) is that they want to “reveals the truth behind everything”. We should take great comfort in knowing that the Bible is unabashedly honest on all sorts of confusing topics. King David’s sins, Peter’s betrayal and restoration, and the miracles in the book of Acts are exposed for us to read in detail. Daily honest prayer meetings can help solve these big problems for teenagers.
If the Bible opens up to these topics in real and authentic ways, it would be an encouragement for us to do the same. In fact, we know that we don’t have all the answers to life’s challenging problems. But we can empathize with our teenagers honestly. And we can lead them to the Savior who also sympathizes with them.
Honesty is an opportunity
And finally, be honest with your child about your own faith journey. Never underestimate the power of sharing your own experiences with them. Maybe they’re struggling with something you overcame? It can be a great moment to encourage them. Perhaps they also have a helpful perspective on something you’re going through? How many times have we, as parents, been overwhelmed by our children’s wisdom or discernment, just when we needed it most?
2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us that it is God who comforts us in all our troubles,
“So that we can comfort those in any difficulty with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
This kind of mutual support can help them progress on their dedication journey without the pressure to figure it all out. When you are appropriately honest about the challenges you are facing, you can show them what it means to receive God’s grace. And it’s one of the best examples of everyday devotion any parent can give to their child.
For more information on parenting and parenting, why not download some of the other resources on the Glorify App?
Marek Piwnicki’s photo on Unsplash
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