Editor's Note: On the weekends during the month of September, we'll be featuring excerpts from Barbara Canale's new daily devotional for parents of teens, Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer. In the introduction, the author describes this books as "a vitamin to boost the soul." Enjoy these reflections on how parents of teens can survive--and thrive--during those turbulent years, by turning to God in the troubled and joyful times. --Barb

hope and a whole lotta prayer

Seek God First

Have mercy on me, God, for I am treated harshly; attackers press me all the day. My foes treat me harshly all the day; yes, many are my attackers. O Most High, when I am afraid, in you I place my trust (Psalm 56:2–4).

David cried out to God when he was surrounded by enemies who trapped him. He had confidence that God would send him help from heaven. What troubles face you today?

One of the worst feelings a parent can experience is when his or her child is attacked physically, verbally, or online. No one wants his kid to be picked on by classmates. Is your teen a victim of bullying at school? You can help your kid deal with the problem before it gets out of hand by identifying it. Ask your teen if someone or something is bothering him and listen without bias. Perhaps you could offer guidance about coping with whatever is wrong.

If your child has been depressed or anxious, having difficulty sleeping or eating, or refusing to go to school, don’t ignore it. Ask what’s wrong, then talk to a teacher or guidance counselor. Encourage your teen to walk away, log off, and block numbers. Most bullies want a reaction, so ignoring them could end the problem. If it doesn’t, continue to pray for guidance and actively seek help.


Reaffirm your love and respect for your teen and remind him that if the problem becomes impossible, call out to God. Teach your teen that, just like David, when we are afraid we can place our trust in God. But remind your youth that it’s OK to ask for earthly help, too. God wants us to turn to him in silence, not to suffer alone.


Dear Heavenly Father,

O God on high, hear my prayer. Save (name) from the bullies who are tormenting him. Instill in him your limitless love and mercy. We place our trust in you. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


From Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer: Daily Devotions for Parents of Teenagers. Copyright Liguori Publications, 2015. Used with permission. Available at Liguori.org.

About the author:

Courtesy of Parker Stone Photography. All rights reserved. Courtesy of Parker Stone Photography. All rights reserved.

Barbara Canale’s writing career began after she adopted her two daughters, now young adults, from Romania. She writes for the Catholic Sun in Syracuse, NY and has contributed to eleven Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotional books include the latest Hope and a Whole Lotta Prayer (2015) for parents of teenagers, the award-winning Prayers, Papers, and Play (2013) for college students, and To Have and to Hold (2014) for married couples.