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How to Keep Our Teens! Maria #409 CM/FM 3154 11/97
1. God bless you! I love you! You're all so precious to me and to the Lord, and it hurts me to think of any of you leaving the Family, especially our young people, who we've brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord all their lives. I've been concerned about the number of young people who say they're not happy in the Family, or who seem dissatisfied, discontent, unhappy, or are causing problems.
2.While we realize that not all our young people will remain in the Family and dedicate their lives to being missionaries like their parents, as I brought out in "When Teens Leave the Family," at the same time we want to keep as many as we can. Our young folks are dear to us, precious jewels in the Lord's sight and ours, and like the story goes, we don't have one to spare.
3.So I asked someone to pray and ask the Lord how we can keep our teens in the Family when they're discontent and having problems or being problems, and when they don't seem to want to remain with us. The Lord sent Dad with the following inspiring answer.
4.(Dad speaking:) Well, this is a million dollar question, but the answer is simple! The answer, as usual, is that you've gotta pray like a house afire! Get desperate! Get down on your hands and knees and seek the Lord in each situation for what you can do to help these kids. Be vigilant! Parents and guardians, shepherds, older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles--everybody get united. Get your heads and your hearts together and seek the Lord about each teen and what to do, and how to help'm through or help'm out. Whatever you do, don't sit still! Do something! Go on the attack! Expect miracles, and you'll get them!
5.You can't just sit there like bumps on a log, expecting the problems to solve themselves or to go away. You've gotta get active! You've gotta go on the attack! These kids are in life-and-death situations! Their lives and usefulness for the Lord are at stake! The Devil's playin' for keeps, and all hell is breaking loose against'm. You've gotta resist the temptation to get weary in well doing.
6.The Lord expects you to do all you can do, and then He'll do the rest! Follow God each and every day, and don't get stuck in a rut when it comes to these kids. Seek the Lord about what to do for the ones that seem to be having a hard time. The Lord has the solutions for each individual, and He'll not fail to guide you. He won't let you down as long as you're desperate and seeking, asking Him what to do. Ask Him to work miracles in their hearts. We specialize in the impossible, so expect miracles!
7.Each situation is different, each teen is different, and you can't put God in a box! You can't put the kids in a box, either! That's why it's so important to pray over each one, get solutions for each case, and let the Spirit lead.
8.I can tell you this: The way to handle these teens who are goin' through rough times and who say they don't want to be in the Family, the ones who aren't showing any interest and whatnot--the solution is to get desperate for them! Get down in prayer and ask God what to do with each teen who's having problems. Pray through solutions. Hold vigil for them. Everybody's gotta get united! There's power in united prayer! There's power in uniting and fighting the Enemy! The Enemy's trying to get our kids, so you folks had better unite to fight him off!
9.The Family's gonna find that unity is the answer to a lot of these problems! If everyone would just get united--parents and shepherds, older brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles--it'll go a long way in helping these teens. Unity is gonna bear lots of fruit all around. It will help to eliminate double standards and it'll bring on greater answers to prayer. As you unite in prayer, as you unite in directing your prayers, joining your prayers and beaming them over to the one in need in a united effort, the answer will be reflected with the same power with which you beam your prayers.
10.By uniting in prayer, you'll be able to aim and shoot those prayers with greater intensity and force. Your prayers for these kids can't just be a one-time thing. You can't get weary in prayer, because so much depends on it. Like the illustration I gave in the Letter "Prayer Power" (ML #302) and the example of ball games such as tennis, baseball, or billiards--the force of your prayers, the angle of your prayers, the twist and the spin you put on them, what you ask God to do and how you ask Him to answer--all this affects the outcome.
11.If you don't see immediate results to your prayers, then keep on praying! Because there are an awful lot of factors that affect the process of prayer--the position of the one you're praying for, the circumstances involved--all sorts of reasons why things might take a little longer, or why you might need to keep prayin'!
12.The spirit of God is not limited by time, space or physical distance when you're praying for someone. The effect of your prayers has nothing to do with the actual physical distance between you and the person you are praying for, but it does have something to do with that person's closeness to the Lord or their receptivity to His Spirit.
13. As I've taught you, prayer is dependent on many factors, and there are three main things: God's position, your position and the position of the person you are praying for. Like the sample I gave you of billiards in "Prayer Power"--remember, the balls are numbered and the player is supposed to hit them in sequence.
14. So when you're praying for someone, you might have to keep praying and following the right order until their number comes up. You might have to keep praying, keep making those shots to get your cue ball and the particular number of the ball you're trying to hit in the right position, so you can get it to where you want it to go.
15. Like billiards, as you play the game, the positions of the balls keep changing, and you need to keep making shots, keep directing those prayers, keep shooting straight with just the right amount of spin and at the right angle until you get the desired result. Each ball is in a different position, so you have to hit each one with a different spin, at a different angle and with a different amount of force.
16. There are all sorts of factors that determine the length of a tennis match or a ball game, and it might be that you just have to play out a few more games or innings. So keep praying, and change tactics if you must. Put more spin on the ball you're pitchin', or put a little more force on that cue ball!
17.Keep pitchin' those balls in the form of prayer for these kids! And remember that the intensity with which you throw the ball and the angle that you throw it, together with the force that it hits the bat, all affect the outcome of where the balls lands. So keep those prayers alive! Keep throwing'm in full force, and you'll get results!
18.You've gotta get united and get down to prayer to find solutions to these problems! These teens who say they don't want to be in the Family--well, in many cases they really don't know what they want! There may be a few who are decided in their hearts, who've made a decision and their hearts have become hardened and they want to go the way of the world. But many of them are just testing you. Most of them don't really know what they want, and they really can't make a definite decision because of lack of experience. When they say they'd like to try the System, they don't really know what they're talkin' about, because their feelings and emotions are motivating them in many cases.
19.If they're underage, and the parents have no way of making arrangements for them to live with relatives and there's no one who can take them in, that just might be the Lord's way of trying to get the point across that He has some other plan or solution. Where God guides, He provides, and if He's not providing a way out for some of these teens, maybe it's because He's not guiding in that direction.
20.Where there's life there's hope! Just because some of these kids say they don't want to be in the Family, or they seem to be showing it by their actions and acting uninterested, doesn't necessarily mean that they really don't want to be in the Family. Many of them are mixed up and don't really know what they want. For goodness sakes, that's what the teen years are all about--it's the age of confusion! One day you're up and the next day you're down.
21.The Enemy's fightin' like the dickens to stop these kids before they really get started and take off for the Lord! Satan is fighting them with all his might, because he knows he's gonna be defeated by them!You've gotta get the vision of the great things these kids are gonna do! Some of them are just testing you. They want attention. They want understanding. They're putting you, their parents and overseers, to the test, but deep in their hearts they really want what the Family has!
22.You shouldn't look at it like the end of the world if your young folks are putting you to the test. They don't necessarily do it on purpose--but even if they do, it oughtta keep everyone on their toes! You've gotta keep your eye on the donut, not on the hole. If you happen to have a young person in your Home right now who's a little dissatisfied or out of sorts, unhappy or discontent, causing problems, and it seems they don't really want to be there and there's no place for them to go--well, at least you can be thankful that you've got a challenge on your hands! You've got a reason to get united in prayer--something to desperately pray for, something to fight for, something to expect God to do a miracle for, something that He wants to use to teach you forbearance and faith, patience and love!
23.All things work together for good, beloved. Pray and ask God what He has for you in all these situations--what lessons, what solutions, what victories He has. It oughtta teach you to pray! It oughtta teach you to fight for one another! It oughtta teach you how to be militant, how to direct your prayers, how to become strong soldiers and mighty warriors!
24.What in Heaven's name is wrong with some of our parents and overseers? Can't they see that the Devil's fightin' with all he's got to get at these kids? Where are the parents and the shepherds, the older brothers and sisters, who are willing to lay down their lives for these kids? What better place could a young person be than in the Family? Sure, we've got a few problems and areas that need changing, but we're still the best! There's no better place! The Devil knows there's no better place than the Family, and that's why he's hittin' hard with his biggest artillery to knock'm out, and our folks need to fight back!
25.Now I realize that you parents are fighting for your kids and are desperate to help them. But there's always more that you could do, and especially more that you could do unitedly. Seek the Lord for His solutions and guidance every day. Hear from Him! Ask yourselves how you can help that teen or child every single day, and see what the Lord has in store for them. Each person in the Home who has anything to do with that teen can do the same. Get prophecies for'm, and then do what the Lord tells you. As you pray and obey, the Lord will make a way--not a way of escape for the teen, but a way of salvaging their service for the Lord, if they're willing to yield, humble themselves and accept what the Lord wants to do in their lives.
26.Do our older folks believe that the Family is the best place these kids could be? If so, that alone oughtta shake folks up to want to get down to business and seek the Lord for these young people. Are they gonna let the Devil come in so easily and walk off with the sheep? The solution is to go on the attack! Everybody! Shepherds, parents, overseers, aunts, uncles, older brothers and sisters--everybody's gotta see it as part of their responsibility and go on the attack, each one doing their part by praying and fighting in prayer for them, hearing from the Lord for solutions, jumping in there by spending time, paying attention, and everyone showing unconditional love.
27.I'm not talking here about compromising convictions. I'm not talking about letting kids get away with truly bad and ungodly behavior. I'm talking about uniting and finding solutions. I'm talking about everyone doing their part. I'm talking about loving them, about upholding the standard, but being Spirit-led. I'm talking about expecting God to do miracles, and above all taking action! Don't just stand there or sit there and let the Devil walk right over these kids! Do something!
28.I know some of these teens can certainly try your patience, but think back a minute. You forget all too easily how you once tried the patience of your parents--and how you tried my patience! Ha! Maybe you've forgotten. Back in the early days at the club, I think we went to the nth degree to become one with you hippies, didn't we? I put my life and my heart and my soul into you kids, and that's how we kept you.
29.If you want to know how to keep your teens in the Family, get on fire yourself! Put time into the kids. There's just no way around it. You've gotta put your time, your prayers, your blood, your sweat, and your tears into these kids. Deep in their hearts, that's what they want. They want your time and attention and your unconditional love.
30.Sure, they want to branch out and spread their wings. They want to be independent. They want to try new things. In many cases, they want to cut mom's apron strings. But they also want recognition. They want understanding. They want a friend. They want counsel and guidance--they just don't know it. They want to be appreciated. They want change and freedom. They want challenge. They want fulfillment. They want something they can sink their teeth into.
31.They also want thrills, excitement, kicks, highs and rushes! But where else could it be any better than right here in the Family, where we have true thrills, genuine excitement, and kicks and highs of the Spirit that'll take'm far beyond any cheap imitation the world has to offer!--And all for free, without any harmful side effects!
32.The cheap thrills of the System really take their toll. It's sad, so terribly sad--as some of those who have gone out from among us have found out. Some of our own who have wallowed out there in the muck and the mire are finding out that the cheap thrills of the world only leave'm empty inside while they take their toll on their minds, their hearts, their spirits, and even their bodies. Some of these who have left us have aged terribly in only a few short years--those who have gotten into riotous, ungodly System living, drugs, too much drink, and the rat race, living in a society where the love of many has grown cold.
33.They're finding that it's just plain hard living out there in the System, where day after day the people you meet aren't always so nice. There's all kinds of strife, bitterness, envy, you name it, and all that takes a toll on you! When you leave the loving atmosphere that surrounds us in our Homes, watch out! There's no other place on Earth where you can find so much love, companionship, a sense of belonging, and harmonious living. Compared to the System, our problems are relatively small. Of course, we make mistakes and there's always room for more loving. We can always be sweeter, more understanding, more loving to our brothers and sisters, and we need to keep moving ahead in these areas. But the Family is eons ahead of the System in this! And if you believe it, you oughtta be doing everything you can to help these kids!
34.If you wanna know how to keep our teens in the Family--those who say or act like they don't want to be here--pray'm through! Pour into them! Give of yourself. There's just no substitute for your time, and it's gonna take time. It's gonna take investment. Whether it's actual time spent with them, or whether it's time spent in fervent prayer for them, it will be well worth it!
35.This is why it's so important to unite together, because many hands make light work. "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." If you have a young person--or anyone, for that matter--in your Home who's going through times of testing or trials, who is dissatisfied or discouraged, then help bear their burdens. Everyone do their part to help in some way, and unitedly you'll find it much easier and you'll get better results. Some folks will naturally have to be more directly involved than others, but everyone in the Home or area can play a part, even if it's mostly to be a prayer warrior to help pull that teen through!
36.If you wanna keep'm, you're gonna have to invest in them. Do all you can do and let God do the rest. Let Him work in their hearts. There might be some who will still go out from among us when they come of age, but at least you parents and shepherds and folks can rest assured, knowing you did all you could do.
37.I know some of these kids can be real rascals and they can try your patience to the limit! I'm not expecting anyone to let'm get away with murder, either. But when you've got a situation like that, if your hands seem tied and little Billy and Sue don't seem like they want to be here, but they're underage and have nowhere to go, you need to ask God why. It just might be because this is where the Lord wants'm! That's the time to concentrate your prayer power on those kids and get some solutions to your particular situation.
38.Ask the Lord what to do! Ask Him to change their hearts! Concentrate your prayer power on their hearts. Unless the Lord has made it completely clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the kids are determined to have a change and spend some time outside the Family, like with their System relatives, and they're not going to change their mind, and He's providing a way for them to do so, even if they are underage, then my advice is that everybody in the Home should get united! You need to get desperate and get down to prayer and keep praying and concentrating your prayers on these teens. Ask the Lord to do something, to work in their hearts, to change their hearts and get through to them.
39.And don't forget to ask the Lord to change your heart as well, if need be! In many cases where the teens themselves are not entirely to blame, that will solve a lot of the problems. Ask the Lord for solutions, and ask Him to help you be part of that solution!
40.The Lord started this Family, and He chose each one here to follow Him. If He gave you children, it's because He wants those kids to serve Him. He has a plan and a purpose. He gave the kids, they're His, and He's not gonna fail them. One way or another He won't fail them, but He expects you to do all you can do. If the kids want to leave and they're down and discouraged and causing problems, well, God has the solutions!
41.I want to know where the folks with some guts are!--Those who aren't gonna be scared out at the first boo of the Devil, or even the second or third!--Those who aren't gonna give up these kids without a fight!
42.The Devil's playing around with these kids, folks! He's buffeting them on every side. Now, if they absolutely insist on going out there to the System and learning the hard way, well, if you've done all you can, then the Lord's gonna take it from there. He'll be with them and they'll learn sooner or later, and we can pray it's sooner. But even though they talk and act like they don't want to be in the Family, if they're underage and they have to stick around, as long as we have'm with us, you're gonna have to get down in desperate prayer and seek the Lord as to how to proceed, how to win'm, how to handle'm, what to do with'm.
43.The best thing you can do is to pray and hear fresh from God every day! And whatever you do, do something! Keep prayin', keep seekin', keep askin' the Lord for solutions every day. If one thing doesn't get through to them, then try another. For Heaven's sake, whatever you do, don't get stuck in a rut! Don't give up! You've gotta keep on trying, keep on praying, and keep on asking the Lord what they need and what to do. Keep on getting His directions on which way to go and what to do next.
44.Ask yourselves if you're really doing all you can to help pull them through. Are you getting out there with them in the thick of the battle, if not personally, at least in your prayers? Are you upholding them, fighting for them, interceding for them? I'm talking about everyone, because the power of unity is what's gonna help these kids. The only way to win the battle for our kids is to win it together! You've gotta unite and concentrate your prayers on the kids and on solutions! Zero in on'm! Wield those weapons of prayer on their behalf.
45.You need to deal with problems by concentrating on solutions! And only the Lord has the solutions, so ask Him in every case. Stay a step ahead of the Enemy by taking the initiative! Don't sit around waiting for the problems to crop up or to get worse--go on the attack! We know the Enemy's out to get these kids--they're live ones--so you need to head him off at the pass! Take initiative! If one thing doesn't seem to work or have success, try another. Try a new tactic with the kids. Don't just sit there and let the Enemy walk all over you or walk all over them--do something!
46.Keep moving, changing and hitting the Devil, who's trying to claim our kids! Hit him in sudden surprise attacks! Go on the offensive! If the problems are there, the solutions are there too, so you've just gotta ask the Lord in each case. Remember that where there's life, there's hope. If you're fighting for these kids unitedly in prayer and seeking the Lord for answers, He's not gonna let you down. Desperate prayer can radically change any situation or heart. If the kids are being real rascals, ask God to work in their hearts. He's able to do all you cannot do!
47.I think that's the best advice I can give you on how to help these kids. Give'm your all--your prayers, your time, your attention, and most of all your love. There's a time and a place for everything. Remind them of the definite boundaries and set the standard in love. Don't compromise your convictions, and in the long run they'll respect you when they see that you're upholding the standard. At the same time, give'm room. Be open. Lighten up. Be good listeners. Be Spirit-led.
48.This is why it's so important to unite in prayer. Getting united in visions, goals, heart, mind and spirit as a Home or area is going to go farther than all the lectures in the world. A false balance is an abomination to God, and the only way to get the proper balance is to pray. Seek the Lord often as to what He wants you to do in each situation.
49.Discipline and rules and punishment when justly deserved all have their place--but it needs to be well balanced with love, understanding, and tolerance. Put yourselves in their shoes. Ask yourselves if you're showing'm enough love and respect. Don't be afraid to share your hearts with'm. Open your lives and your hearts. Humble yourselves and admit what a helluva mess you are yourselves. Give'm room, but keep a line on'm. Let'm breathe! Cut'm some slack when you can. Get on fire yourselves! Be a sample in your own life. Live the Word! Love never fails! Pray through the solutions, and the Lord will guide. (End of message from Dad.)
The War of the Worlds!
50.(Maria:) In another message the Lord gave about our teens, He talked about the spiritual war taking place and again emphasized how much He was depending on our prayers. He has given our teens free choice, but our prayers empower them and enable them to make the right choices!
51.(Angel speaking:) There is a great war of the worlds taking place--great clashing of arms and steel, great explosions, and bolts of energy being released by both sides! There are many involved in this battle. Our King is calling for reinforcements, for the Evil One has pulled out his big guns. Our King is waiting on the command of your prayers for these additional forces to be released. He knows the need--that the battle will not be won without their help--and yet His hands are tied as if He had to wait, as earthly leaders wait on a bill being passed in parliament, or for a vote of confirmation from their counselors. So our King awaits the command of your prayers to make the difference, to turn the tide, to release the forces of love and of Heavenly power to intercede on behalf of your young ones who are coming of age, and those who are struggling so.
52.These who battle so severely at this time are not alone, for many of the King's children are facing the same battle and are being besieged. The Evil One seeks to win them as his property, as his spoils of war, and hopes to cripple the army through their loss. This will not be so, for our King knows that He can count on His mighty warriors of the spirit to intercede with strong prayers so that Heaven's power may be loosed and the victory may be won. But He waits upon your desperation. You might think your thoughts or prayers small, but it is for these that He waits.
53.Therefore stir up the gifts that are within you! Hesitate not to devote your time, your energy, your thoughts, your love, your compassion, and all that is within you to praying for your little ones, and not only for those beside you, but for all of your young ones who struggle so. They are not able to win the battle alone. Yes, the decision is in their hands whether to commit themselves or not, but even the power to make the right decision lies in your prayers.
54. Even those who are weak and downtrodden, wounded and unable to fight longer will be renewed, strengthened, and given the might to go on, if you will but pray. Some may not stay, but more will stay than if you hadn't prayed! They have free choice, and the Lord is bound by their choices, but your prayers build a reservoir of power in the Heavenlies that can influence them in their moments of yieldedness, or that can help them when they turn to the Lord and seek Him. Some may stray, but continue to pray!
55.This battle for your young ones is one of the greatest battles going on in the universe at this time. Yes, the Evil One always seeks for a way to get in, to hinder the work of God, and to enter the hearts and minds of men. But this is a concerted effort, an all-out attack, a militant war that he is waging in this day, trying to defeat the young of the children of David. He knows of the promise of their future. He knows the mighty weapon they will be in the hand of our God, and so he fights to defeat them now, when they are weak, before they can see the promises fulfilled.
56.So fight, loved ones, fight! Give all to this battle, for it is with one battle at a time that we win the war. This is now the greatest battle and the one which needs your prayers the most. This is the Enemy's battering ram with which he is trying to take out the gates of your city, and bring great defeat. He will not win, for as soon as the Heavenly reinforcements are released, he will meet with sure defeat.
57.But you must pray! You must pray and pray and pray again, so that the King can release the power needed to win this battle. It is not your battle; it is His. Pray! His power is released when you pray, and it is on hold when you do not pray. So please pray! All Heaven is waiting, the troops are assembled, and the hour is now. Pray, that they may march forward! (End of message from angel.)
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family