devotions for youth and teens

Our Favorite Devotions for Youth

By Doug Franklin December 6, 2019

We compiled some of our favorite devotions for youth because we believe that spending time in God’s word everyday will transform students’ attitude, behavior, and their treatment towards other people.

Daily devotions are about habits and vision. We want to develop habits in our students that will make them fully devoted followers of Christ. Through studying God’s word daily, students will develop the habit of listening to his voice and they will also begin to see his vision for their lives.

You can also find more resources in our post about how to teach students to study the bible.

Devotional on “Authentic community”

This first devotion for youth comes from I Am A Disciple, a 40-Day Student Discipleship Journal.

Use this devotional to help your students strengthen their spiritual muscles and learn to become more like Jesus.

Devotional Reading :

Being a part of a community is more than being surrounded by people or having a position on a team or group. Many people are part of several groups but are still lonely. This happens because the depth of their community is shallow; it lacks authenticity and purpose. Often these shallow groups are filled with people who refuse to open up or pretend to be someone they’re not.

The thing is, to follow Christ, to join his mission of making disciples and reaching the lost and the least of this world, we need some serious help. We need a ton of abilities, gifts, talents, resources, and wisdom. Thankfully, God already knew that! He set up the church to be a community where Christ-followers could get together, worship him, and do great things. The people who make up Christ’s church should help each other out, rely on each other and reach the corners of the world with the story of Jesus. Unfortunately, many of us have downgraded church to just the place we go on Sundays.

Take some time to evaluate your own community. Think of five to ten friends (maybe the ones in your small group or youth group) and write their names in the circles below according to the depth of your relationship.

Passage :

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25

answer the following questions :

  • What’s the deepest level of friendship you have with someone? Describe how your friendship progressed all the way to that level.
  • What level are most of your friendships on? Do you wish they were deeper? Why or why not?
  • How can you start moving your shallower friendships to deeper levels?

Marks of a disciple :

Disciples of Christ form DEEP RELATIONSHIPS with other disciples.

Devotional on “The Upside Down Triangle”

This devotion for youth comes from I Am A Leader, a 40-Day Student Discipleship Journal.

Use this devotional to invite new student leaders to learn what godly leadership looks like, and challenge growing student leaders to apply these essential principles to their lives and their leadership.


A pastor named Rick Warren once wrote this simple definition of humility: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” But we spend most of our time—even when we’re trying really hard to be humble—thinking about ourselves and our own needs. As a result, our lives end up looking like the first triangle; we might know that God should be at the top, but that’s just not the case. The more we understand true humility, the more our lives start to look like the upside-down triangle instead. We value God and others more than ourselves and our lives prove it as more of our thoughts and actions are directed toward them.

If our lives are supposed to look like the upside-down triangle, then our leadership should too. Humility has to be the foundation of our leadership. It orients our character, our thoughts, and our actions toward God. This isn’t easy, but we have the example Jesus set for us in his life on Earth to see what true humility in leadership looks like.

journal questions :

  • When you think of the word “humility,” what first springs to mind?
  • What are some examples of humility you’ve seen? Who are leaders you think of as humble?
  • How could a leader use the upside-down triangle to make leadership decisions?
  • What keeps you from living your life like the upside-down triangle?
  • How do you think you could make your life look more like the upside-down triangle?

Devotional on “becoming a cross-cultural missionary”

This devotion for youth comes from Flipping Missions, a student journal specifically designed for the three stages of your mission trip: before the trip, on the trip, after the trip.

This devotional will help your students see behind the scenes from all angles so your trip can change from a one-time experience to something life-changing.


It’s absolutely true that you are a missionary to the community you’re in today. It’s also possible that you may be called to go somewhere else as a missionary to another community.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus told his disciples they would be his witnesses (once they received the gift of the Holy Spirit) in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. In today’s language, it would be like him saying, “Once you’re grounded in me, let’s make a difference right where you are, then in your larger state region, then further out where people aren’t like you, and ultimately to the rest of the world.”

Jesus’ approach is not about enthusiasm. He wanted his disciples to begin with Spirit-led power and purpose. You have to start here, and then work your way out.

Passage :

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Flip it :

Being a cross-cultural missionary involves viewing the world through three different lenses:

1. SURRENDER YOUR PERSPECTIVE // Devote time and energy to surrendering your own way of thinking. You have to move from an “us and them” mentality to an “I am them, and they are me” focus. If Jesus waited 30 years before teaching and engaging in ministry, we should be willing to get to know a culture or community before trying to meet its needs.

2.DON’T GET OFFENDED // Avoid getting offended by your own culture. It can be difficult to spend time in a financially poor culture, only to come back and see people you love spending great sums of money on silly things. Just as you pre- pared to go on your trip to a new community, you have to slow down, look for more similarities than differences in your own community, and ask God to overcome your temptation to be critical.

3. SEE THINGS THROUGH GOD’S EYES // We’ll never see the world exactly the way God does, but we can keep moving one step further towards that goal. He is our holy Lord who, at one point, used a massive flood to cleanse the earth. He is also our gracious Savior who pursues us with an unrelenting love. Invite him to break your heart for what breaks his heart.

Take a look at the world. It’s in a mess. God wants to change and redeem it, and he’s looking for men and women of all ages willing to let that transformation start in them. Are you one of them?

own it :

  • If Jesus makes disciples, and his disciples are supposed to be like him, what does that mean for your life? Be as specific as possible.
  • Read Matthew 28:18–20. What words or commands stand out to you?


missionary acronym, mission devotions for teens

1. Review the MISSIONARY acronym:

2. Visualize how you would live this out in another culture where you wouldn’t have the resources you have now.

3. Write out a prayer for the Christ-followers serving in foreign cultures.

flipping missions, mission trip devotionals for teens

Devotional on “Seeing God Clearly”

This devotion for youth comes from No Filter, a follow up student journal for one of our DNow curriculum.

This youth devotional will help your students understand that when we see God clearly, we aren’t worried about the past mistakes we’ve made or about gaining others’ approval.


When things aren’t going great and it seems like everything in your life is crumbling around you, have you ever looked around and thought to yourself “Well, God, where are you?” When things are going poorly, it’s easy to blame God for not showing up.

In today’s passage, you’ll see that the disciples were having a rough couple of days. Their Messiah, the hope for all Israel, had been crucified. Their purpose in life was uncertain. And then they heard that Jesus’ body was missing. What else could go wrong? God, where are you?

The truth is God is always with us. He always shows up—just not always in the way we’d choose. Sometimes God shows up, and we don’t even recognize him.

Passage :

“They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him…” Luke 24: 13-25

bible study method :

bible study method, OPA study method

Use the OPA Method for Bible study: Observation, Principles, and Application.

Observation: Compile all the facts found in this passage.
Try to make 10–15 observations about what you read.

Principles: Draw a few principles from the observations you made. What is God trying to teach you in this passage?

Application: How will you apply these principles to your life?
Be specific—a good application will tell who, what, and when.

DNow No Filter journal, DNow student devotional

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More