Teaching Your Teen to Listen to God

Give them one of the best gifts: teaching your teen to listen to God.

Teaching Your Teen to Listen to God

The most important subject to teach our homeschoolers (especially at high school level) is living our faith. One necessary part of living our faith is prayer. A helpful kind of prayer is listening to God.

Teaching Your Teen to Listen to God

It hit me recently, that I don’t do much active, in-person instruction with my kids on the topic of how to pray. Prayer- especially listening prayer- is SO necessary to their spiritual growth. But is is also so personal that it is almost embarrassing to talk about. (To me it is almost like having “The Talk” with my kids.)

On the other hand, how can I send them off into the world unarmed with the greatest tool for survival?

So here it is:

  • Prayer is important.
  • Prayer must be taught.
  • Half of prayer is listening.

Here are some tips for learning to listen to God:

Ever have a conversation with someone who never lets you get a word in edgewise? (I sometimes wonder how one person can have so much to say?)

Ever feel like that’s how it goes when you talk to God? Just that: YOU talking to God, a one-way conversation?

But how do you listen to an Invisible Person?

I can’t tell you exactly because God doesn’t give formulas, but if you try it, you’ll find out. Listening to Him is the loveliest part of a day!

While I can’t give you a formula for listening to God, I can give you some tips that might help your prayer time become more of a two-way conversation:

1) Start by getting stuff off your chest

The stressors in life are going to be nagging you while you try to listen. God cares about them. Talk to Him about them.

2) Physically quiet yourself

Did you know that the part of your brain that processes spiritual information is near the “watch-out!” parts of your brain? Sometimes we have to physically turn off the brain’s stress centers in order to allow our spiritual processing centers to be attentive. We do this by deep breathing! Oxygen turns off the stress hormones that are activated by the stresses in life. BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE…

3) Get your mind on God

Spend a few minutes thinking specifically about God, about Christ. Think about Jesus being the author and finisher of your faith. Think about His sacrifice for you. Think about the throne room of Heaven.

4) Now be quiet

No problem solving, no requests. Breathe and listen. If your mind wanders, direct it back to thoughts of Christ. Mostly be quiet and listen.

What you might hear at first is the crickets chirping outside your window, but eventually, you will start to recognize a still, small Voice. That Voice has been speaking all along. You just needed ears to hear- and practice listening.

5) Be grateful

When God has spoken, be sure to be grateful. Then, WRITE it down! (You WILL forget if you don’t.)

Practical tools for an interesting, interactive prayer life can be found in Prayer Journal and Prayer Journal 2.

These are easy, accessible prayer activities that I give my high schooler to help him grow in his walk with God.

Download them today for a practical prayer walk with your teens.

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Teaching Your Teen to Listen to God


Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

3 Replies to “Teaching Your Teen to Listen to God”

  1. Not sure I agree with Marilyn; I think it is possible for us to actively teach our kids to pray (even the listening part) just like Jesus did when His disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” He said, “Okay, pray like this…”

    I have always been really impressed with how my kids respond (especially once they are 11 years old or more) when we have a situation that comes up with stress attached, or a decision to be made, and I say, “Okay, we need to pray. This is really your situation, but I’ll be agreeing in prayer with you.”

    Usually the initial reaction is, “I don’t know what to say!” And I conversationally say, “Well, I’d start by telling God that I know He’s in charge even if I don’t feel it in my emotions right now. Can you start by saying something like that?”

    My kid will pray a sentence or so aloud, and then I’ll say, “I agree with Sam, and Lord, I thank You for already having the answer to this problem figured out because You know everything and Your plans for us are perfect. I’m pretty sure Sam is thankful for that, too……are ya, Sam?”

    And usually there’s an easy prayer that follows from Sam; “Yeah, thanks God for having a perfect plan for me.” And then I say, “Well, Sam, maybe the next step is to tell God you want to listen for His answer to your problem…are you up for that?” If Sam is willing to do that, then we wait silently together. After a bit, if Sam doesn’t volunteer anything, I’ll ask, “So what are you hearing, dude?” And we walk it out from there.

    Now he’s been walked through the process, just like walking him through his first time at the bank asking the teller how to make a withdrawl, or any other life skill. It’s less intimidating with someone he trusts “holding his hand” as he goes.

  2. Since you can’t truly “teach” a child how to pray, especially the listening part, I think modeling prayer and praying with them is the best way for them to learn.

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