There are loads of different subsections in 500 Prayers for Young People – as I discovered, 500 gives you a LOT of space. One of the things I definitely wanted to include was a series of prayers for young people who are struggling with self-esteem or even being bullied. Having experienced both of these issues as a teenager myself, I know that it can be exceptionally hard to find the words to pray about these things. So here are three prayers that I hope will be useful to you, whether you’re struggling with these things yourself, or helping others through them.
God I feel like nothing is going right,
As if every step I take becomes a stumble.
I feel useless,
Like I’m setting myself up to fail in everything I do.
God help me not to feel like this,
And help me to know that even when I fail, you still delight in me,
That there is nothing I can do to make you love me more,
Nothing I can do to make you love me less.
God if I loved my neighbour as I love myself,
My neighbours might not appreciate it.
I don’t like me;
If I was my own friend, I’d disown me.
I cannot see anything attractive, likeable or interesting in my personality,
I can’t bear to look in the mirror.
I want to see myself as you see me,
But right now all I see is ugliness.
Please draw near to me Lord, and help me to like myself.
This prayer may be helpful if you have suffered from bullying or teasing, and are starting to believe the unkind words that have been spoken over you.
When people mock me, perhaps they have a point;
There must be a reason why they pick on me?
I know I have my flaws; perhaps I deserve it.
Yet you don’t see me like that;
You love me unconditionally as your child –
When you look at me you can’t help breaking into a smile.
Help me God, especially when the bullies come,
To know that truth deep inside,
And to allow it to transform my thinking,
So that somehow I might begin to see myself as you see me.