Motivating Teenagers to Read Devotions

 

As the mother of two teenagers, I’m always looking for good influences, whether it be people, videos, or books, that will reinforce the lessons we have spent over a decade teaching them at home.

It came as a total shock to me when my husband and I transitioned from the coolest parents that our kids wanted to spend every waking minute with to the parents who elicit an eye roll with every word that exits our mouths. We keep reassuring them of our cool factor, but for some reason, they don’t buy it.

Tell me if this story is familiar to you. Mom and teen are having a conversation about the complexities of life. Mom shares brilliant piece of information to which the teen exclaims, “I know, Mom!” (Naturally teenagers know everything about life.) Mom and teen go about their day. Several days later, teen comes back to Mom excited about something he read that turned a light bulb on in his head. Teen walks away as Mom stands there incredulous thinking, “That’s exactly what I told him three days ago.”

This story plays on repeat in our house. Instead of getting insecure over it, I’ve decided to embrace the season and provide them with resources that will complement what we’ve spent years teaching them. I have faith that the Biblical lessons and truths we’ve instilled are buried deep down under that teenage angst.

One of my favorite resources for my teenagers are devotions. In our technology-driven day and age, attention spans are minimal. Devotions are quick reads packed with a lot of punch that will leave them pondering their impact for the rest of the day.

So, how can we motivate them to read devotions in the first place? Here are a few ideas:

  1. We can help them see what they will get out of it!

    Have you ever been frustrated by your teen’s selfishness as I have? Instead of getting bogged down by it, let’s use it to our advantage. We can share from our own experience how daily plummets into God’s Word have helped our own lives. The teenage years are an extremely hard time. As they see how devotions can help navigate the crazy emotions, they will come back hungry for more.

  2. Turn it into a book club discussion.

    One of the hardest things I’ve had to wrap my head around is transitioning my parenting from little kids to young adults. Treating my teenagers like young adults shows a level of respect and value to them. One of the ways I’ve found to do this is by asking them their thoughts on things and having a conversation about it. Both of us walk away the richer for it.

  3. Let them catch us reading God’s word.

    Teenagers have a way of pushing back. If we encourage our teens to be in God’s word, but they don’t see us doing it, they are likely to point that out. When we do what we preach, it goes a long way.

My kids are transitioning from little babies to young adults about to brave the world. They need good tools for the journey. There are many devotionals to choose from, but some of my favorites are Jesus Calling for Teens. Sarah Young has done it again with three different devotional books featuring three different topics. Packed with 50 devotions in each book, the focus of a Thankful Heart, Busy Days, and 50 Devotions to Grow Your Faith will hit home. This is the first set of Jesus Calling devotionals for teens centered around specific topics, or themes, and the arrangements are just the right dose of daily encouragement and inspiration.

One of my favorite devotions is on page 12 of Grow Your Faith. As she talks about those days where everything goes wrong and taking frustrations and disappointments and turning them into something good, all I can think about is, “Yes!” What a lifelong lesson that we all need to hear, especially teenagers who probably feel like they have one of “those” days just about every day.

So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. — Deuteronomy 11:18

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Your Turn

How do you motivate your teen to read God’s Word regularly?



Jennifer Price

Wife, mother, lover of people, photographer, knitter, blogger and world traveler, Jen Price has traveled to dozens of countries, not merely as a tourist, but rolling her sleeves up and going well off the beaten path so that she might get to know the people, learn the culture, and find the heart of the place. In 2005, Jen co- founded Ten Thousand Homes, an organization dedicated to bringing hope and homes to thousands of children orphaned in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently she and her family live in South Africa. Jen continues to travel internationally, camera in tow, with more passion than ever to tell the stories of beautiful people the world sometimes forgets. You can check out her stories and photos on her blog, I Believe In Love.

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