Consider this: once we have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, we begin to encounter numerous amazing and even outrageous ideas about who God is and how He wants us to live.

Why Teens Need the Presence of God

by David Sliker
7/7/15 Fascinate

Restoration, healing, love, confidence, identity, security, and joy all come through intimacy with the One who is intimately near to our teens.

Unless teens experience the God who likes them, it is difficult for them to even want to draw near to Him. However, when they believe and feel that God enjoys them—even though they are immature and “in process” in their spiritual journeys—then they will grow in confidence to pursue Jesus and enjoy the richness of His presence.

What does it mean to pursue and experience the “presence of Jesus”?

At our new birth, God places the full measure of His Holy Spirit inside us. He fills up the small capacity of our human spirits with His Spirit. As we come into the presence of Jesus, our human spirits grow so that we have more capacity for His Spirit inside us. When this happens to our teens, they grow in the confidence of their relationship with Jesus and their new identity in Him.

However, young believers rarely believe and experience the truth about who they are in Christ. Though they have the Spirit of Jesus in them, they often fail to enjoy the reality that “the love of God has been poured out in [their] hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to [them]” (Romans 5:5).

Enjoying the presence of God is about something so much more than being momentarily moved by God on an emotional level. It is the power of truth connecting deep within our hearts in a way that completely transforms our emotions and desires. The apostle Paul called this “the spirit of revelation” (Ephesians 1:17). Young people want more than feeling that God loves them. They want to experience the truth of God’s affections in a manner that causes small but permanent changes in how they view God, themselves, others, their future, and life around them.

I have seen Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16–19 radically transform teens’ lives when they internalize the truth of it and grasp the depth of it for themselves. It breaks the strongholds, moving them from rejection and shame into the presence of Jesus, where He lavishes them with acceptance, confidence, and truth.

Consider this: once we have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, we begin to encounter numerous amazing and even outrageous ideas about who God is and how He wants us to live.

Over time, we become so overly familiar with these ideas that we forget how truly outrageous they are. So often it really doesn’t sink in that God became a human being and lived among us for a while; or that He died and rose again, and then ascended to heaven to take His place upon His throne of glory; or that, shortly afterwards, He opened up the heavens and sent His Spirit to invade the earth and dwell within His followers.

These are incredible thoughts! The last one—that He would dwell within His followers—seems beyond preposterous. Yet it’s true—the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us, in all of His fullness. The same God who created everything, upholds all things, and will restore and renew all things, dwells in me and you and the young Christ-followers in your ministry!

The fire of a billion suns and beyond is exploding within my innermost being; incalculable power beyond measure is alive inside of me.

Yet because of the condition of my heart, my mind, and my emotions, I often forget that He is there. I forget that I can enjoy union in the deepest part of my being with my best friend and most intimate companion—Jesus.

In youth ministry, we will do well to remember the consequences of forgetting, ignoring, or minimizing this reality. When this happens, we rob ourselves of the joy of walking in moment-by-moment intimacy with Jesus. When we move through life content in our personal experience of the presence of God, then the students to whom we minister benefit and gain from that time we invest, experiencing His presence as well.

How can you experience God’s presence with your teens?

If you’re seeking a place to encounter God, we invite you to Fascinate: Your Identity in God; Your calling in life, July 26-28 in Kansas City. This high school conference is open to all ages, and features Mike Bickle, Misty Edwards, David Sliker, Corey Russell, Jon Thurlow, Cory Asbury of Bethel Music, and more with times of passionate worship, anointed teaching, and ministry in the Holy Spirit’s power. Group rates available. Register here »

David Sliker


  • President, IHOPU
  • Executive Director, Internships

David Sliker has been a senior leader at the International House of Prayer Missions Base in Kansas City, Missouri, for the past 20 years. Ministering and serving with his wife, Tracey, and their four children, Riley, Lauren, Daniel, and Finney, David’s primary ministry calling is as an intercessor. Additionally, he ministers internationally, equipping saints in prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit, passion for the Word of God, and the proclamation of Jesus’ return. He is the president of International House of Prayer University, where he teaches about prayer and intimacy with Jesus, missions, biblical studies, and the return of Jesus. He is the author of End-Times Simplified: Preparing Your Heart for the Coming StormThe Nations Rage: Prayer, Promise, and Power in an Anti-Christian Age, and The Triumph of Beauty: God’s Radiant Answer to the World’s Growing Darkness.

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