Here’s a great story shared by the late Derek Prince. It can be found in the book Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual Battle.
Many years ago in London, the daughter of a Swedish pastor lived with us for about three months learning English, which I taught her. She was a very beautiful, talented girl with a lovely singing voice. Her father was the pastor of the largest Pentecostal church in Sweden, and she had grown up in a very strict Pentecostal environment.
When this girl was about fourteen years old, she was listening to what all her friends at school talked about—all the pleasures of the theater and dancing and things like that. And she became more and more interested. So one day she went to her father and said, “Father, I want to thank you for the care that you’ve given me, the way you trained me and brought me up. But I want to tell you that from now on I want to go another way. I want to find out what the world has to offer. I hear all my friends talking about it, and I want to find out for myself.” And her father, who was a wise man, said, “Barbara, your mother and I will pray for you.” He didn’t argue. He didn’t say it was wrong. He said, “We’ll pray.”
That night, the daughter had the most vivid dream of her life. In this dream she saw two cities, and one was a big, modern, beautiful city. It was filled with lights flashing and glittering everywhere. Across a valley there was another city that had a different kind of light. It didn’t flash, it didn’t glitter, but it was steady and calm. While she was looking at the city with the glittering neon lights, a man introduced himself to her. He was very cultivated, very educated and very well dressed. He said, “I’d like to show you around this city.” And she went with him.
The further she went with him, the uglier he became. Soon she realized it was the devil himself. As she stopped there in horror, all the lights in this neon city began to go out one by one by one until the city was in total darkness. She turned to look across at the other city, and it was as bright and clear as it had always been. The next day she went to her father and said, “Daddy, I’m coming to church with you.” She was a wise girl. She listened when the Lord spoke.
“Help! My teenager is uncontrollable”
Does this sound familiar?
I would like to share with you how one parent received relief. His name is Jim Cymbala, and he wrote about his experience in his book ‘Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God’s Spirit Invades the Hearts of His People‘:
“Our oldest daughter, Chrissy, had been a model child growing up. But around age sixteen she started to stray,…not only from us but also away from God. In time, she even left our home. There were many nights when we had no idea where she was.
As the situation grew more serious, I tried everything. I begged, I pleaded, I scolded, I argued, I tried to control her with money,…nothing worked! She just hardened more and more.
While this was going on, (my wife) Carol needed an operation. (During the post-surgical depression that followed), the devil took the opportunity to come after her and say, ‘You have a big choir, and you’re making albums and doing outreaches at Radio City music Hall. Fine, you and your husband can go ahead to reach the world for Christ—but I’m going to have your children. I’ve already got the first one. I’m coming after the next two!’…One day (Carol) said to me, ‘Listen, we need to leave New York. I’m serious. This atmosphere has already swallowed up our daughter. We can’t keep raising our kids here!’
Then in November, …I received a call from a pastor friend I had persuaded Chrissy to talk to. He said, ‘Jim I love you and Carol, but Chrissy is going to do what Chrissy wants to do. She’s eightenn. She’s determined. You have to accept what she decides. You don’t have much choice!’
I hung up the phone. I couldn’t accept Chrissy being away from the Lord!
God strongly impressed me that I was to converse with no one but God. In fact, I should have no further contact with Chrissy—until God acted!
Christmas came and it was nearly impossible to keep my composure, trying to open presents with the other children and no Chrissy.
February came. One cold Tuesday night during prayer meeting, I talked from Acts 4 about how the church boldly calling on God in the face of persecution. We entered into a time of prayer, everyone reaching out to the Lord simultaneously.
An usher handed me a note. A young woman whom I felt to be spiritually sensitive had written: ‘Pastor Cymbala, I feel impressed that we should stop the meeting and all pray for your daughter.’
In a few minutes I picked up the microphone and told the congregation what had just happened. ‘The truth of the matter,’ I said, ‘although I haven’t talked much about it, is that my daughter is very far from God these days. She thinks up is down and down is up; dark is light and light is dark. But I know God can break through to her, and so I’m going to ask Pastor Boestaaf to lead us in prayer for Chrissy. Let’s all join hands across the sanctuary.’
To describe what happened in the next few minutes, I can only imply a metaphor: There church turned into a labor room…. There arose a groaning, a sense of desperate determination, as if to say, ‘Satan, you will NOT have this girl! Take your hands off!’
When I got home that night, I said (to Carol), ‘It’s over!’
‘What’s over?’ she wondered.
‘It’s over with Chrissy…I tell you, if there is a God in Heaven, this whole nightmare is finally over!’
Thirty-two hours later…as I was shaving, Carol burst through the door. ‘Go downstairs!’ she blurted. ‘Chrissy’s here! It’s you she wanted to see!’
I wiped off the shaving foam and headed down the stairs, my heart pounding. As I came around the corner, I saw my daughter on the kitchen floor, rocking on her hands and knees, sobbing. Cautiously I spoke her name.
She grabbed my pantleg and began pouring out her anguish. ‘Daddy—Daddy—I’ve sinned against God. I’ve sinned against myself. I’ve sinned against you and Mommy. Please forgive me—‘
Then suddenly she drew back. ‘Daddy,’ she said with a start, ‘who was praying for me? Who was praying for me?’ Her voice was like that of a cross-examining attorney.
‘What do you mean, Chrissy?’
‘On Tuesday night, Daddy—who was praying for me? In the middle of the night, God woke me up and showed me I was heading toward this abyss. There was no bottom to it—it scared me to death. I was so frightened. I realized how hard I’ve been, how wrong, how rebellious. But at the same time, it was like God wrapped His arms around me and held me tight. He kept me from sliding any farther as He said, I still love you! Who was praying for me Tuesday night?”
I looked into her bloodshot eyes, and once again I recognized the daughter we had raised.
Chrissy’s return to the Lord became evident immediately. By that fall, God had opened a miraculous door for her to enrol at a Bible college, where she not only undertook studies but soon began directing music groups and a large choir, just like her mother. Today she is a pastor’s wife in the Midwest with three wonderful children. Through all this, Carol and I learned as never before that persistent calling upon the Lord breaks through every stronghold of the devil, for nothing is impossible with God.
For Christians in these troubled times, there is simply no other way.
Only fervent prayer — and nothing else — can help your teenager.
If you need support in praying for your teenager, I’d love to help you, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me by clicking the ‘Leave a comment’ link beneath the title, and write “Please contact me” in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box that appears next. God bless you!