A Pandemic Prayer for Teenagers
Every generation has a few “where were you when” moments. Defining moments that seem to stop time, grip your heart, and send the world in a new direction.
For my generation, it was 9/11. But I also vividly reminder Columbine and the economic recession of 2008.
COVID-19 will be one of these moments in history for Gen Z. The question is: how will this moment change them?
Undoubtedly, much will change as a result of this pandemic. We have no idea of all the ramifications. No one does really.
But my prayer for Gen Z has been for one specific change to take place in their generation as a result of this season.
My prayer is simply this: “God, show them what really matters.”
Gen Z is a busy generation. I’m always amazed at how much young people take on today all at once. Teenagers are expected to be busy. If they aren’t, then they must be lazy or not care about their futures. Teens are challenged to consider their future career, education, resume, and scholarship application starting in middle school, if not before.
They need community service hours, extracurricular activities, accolades and awards, job experience, a vibrant social life, academic excellence, musical ability, artistic prowess, athletic achievement, and on and on. If these things fill up your sheet of paper, you are primed for “success.” If not, good luck. These are the carrots that the world dangles in front of our children from the day they start school.
That was before COVID-19. Now in a matter of days, most of that has been stripped away, at least temporarily. School, sports, camps, social outings, concerts, tournaments, practices, recitals, vacations, trips, parties, church. Canceled. The list goes on.
Some of these young people have also witnessed their parents lose a job and face economic uncertainty. Some have suffered through the loss of a family member from COVID-19. And some have lost the two guaranteed meals they had each day at school.
No, I don’t think the average teenager is writhing in agony and weeping over what’s lost. I’ve talked to some who are mildly disappointed, and I’ve talked to some who have enjoyed the increase in free time and decrease in schoolwork.
But whether they realize it yet or not, their lives and futures will be changed in some way because of COVID-19.
So my prayer: “God, show them what really matters.”
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
The Bible makes clear: there are things that matter in this life, and there are things that matter in eternity. I pray teenagers learn to see the difference (2 Cor. 4:18).
Some things are more important than others. Some things should have a greater priority in our lives. Some things are worth more of our time, energy, money, etc. I pray students commit more of their lives to these things (Phil. 3:8).
When we stand before God, he will not look at our resume, bank account, batting average, or diploma as he judges our lives. On that day, what really matters will become abundantly clear, and it will be too late to change. I pray young people think more about their standing before God than their standing before man (2 Cor. 5:10).
Our lives are a mist (James 4:14), our days are numbered (Psalm 139:16), and our flesh is like grass (Isaiah 40:6). Each of us has a finite number of breaths, so what we spend them on is important. I pray teenagers see the brevity of their lives and pour out their days boldly for the kingdom.
I pray this season becomes a turning point and catalyst for Gen Z. I pray they receive a burning desire and desperation to make their lives count. I pray they gain a new love for the Word of God, prayer, the local church, and the mission of God.
I pray this pandemic brings a wave of passion for the lost that results in countless new souls in the kingdom of God. I pray that classrooms, sports teams, debate clubs, and social media accounts become mission fields. I pray every teenager lives like a missionary. I pray every day becomes a mission trip.
God can do it. Join me in praying he will. May this pandemic upend the world of Gen Z to the glory of God.
“God, show them what really matters."