Ron Luce was the main speaker at the Acquire the Fire conference that several youth attended over the weekend.  Ron is preparing to run a marathon — just over 26 miles — with the goal of raising funds for his youth ministry, which originated 26 years ago and is passionate about reaching America’s 26 million teenagers.  Do you see a recurring theme with the number 26

From the race’s web page, here are 26 SHOCKING TEEN STATS:

Drug and Alcohol Use
• Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are the most-commonly abused drug among teens, with one in 12 seniors reporting abuse of Vicodin in the past year.
• About 2,800 teens abuse prescription drugs for the first time every day.
• 22.6% of high school seniors say they’ve used marijuana over within a 30-day period, compared with 18.7% who smoked cigarettes
• 8.2% of high school seniors reported using amphetamines at some point during the past year.
• 40% of high school seniors have drunk alcohol in the past month, with 25% reporting that they have gotten drunk, 22% reporting binge drinking, and 2% having a drink every day.

Teen Sex
• 48 percent of high school students report that they have had sex.
• 34 percent of teenagers have at least one pregnancy before they turn 20.
• 9 million new cases of sexually transmitted disease occur in teenagers each year.
• Only one-third of teen mothers complete high school and receive their diplomas.
• Nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15–24 years.

• 13 percent of all teen deaths are from suicide, which is the third-leading cause of death for young adults aged 15-24
• The top factors leading to teen suicide include: Divorce of parents; violence in the home; inability to find success at school; feelings of worthlessness; rejection by friends or peers; substance abuse; death of someone close to the teenager; the suicide of a friend or someone he or she “knows” online.
• An estimated 1 in 8 adolescents may be suffering from depression.

Violence/Self-Harm/Eating Disorders
• One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
• One-quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse, which puts them at 50% greater risk of suicide, six times as likely to become pregnant before age 20, and puts them at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
• An estimated one in every 200 girls aged 13-19 cut themselves regularly. They are typically intelligent , middle or upper-middle class, and well educated, but likely come from a home where they were physically and/or sexually abused and have at least one alcoholic parent.
• Estimates show that between 2.5 and 4% of teens have either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
• Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
• 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others

Video Games/TV
• Almost a third of teens play games that are listed as appropriate only for people older than they are.
• 23 percent of youth say that they have felt “addicted to video games.”
• Teens age 13 to 18 year play 14 hours of video games per week.
• Teens who see more sex on television are twice as likely to become pregnant or to be responsible for another person’s pregnancy.
• Television increases the risk of teen pregnancy by encouraging lax attitudes toward the need for contraceptive use. Mention of the risks or responsibilities of sex, including pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and condom or contraceptive use, occurs in only 10% to 15% of programs containing sexual content.
• Kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 additional hours on the computer (outside of schoolwork) and playing video games

Additionally, here are Ron’s 26 Declarations to pray over the teenagers of America.  I think it’s a great resource to pray through over the course of 26 days.  Of course, if you are into marathon running, pray through the miles!

MILE 1 – Authenticity: May they be full of authenticity to a world that offers only counterfeit.
MILE 2 – Calling: They will know that God has a unique calling on their life.
MILE 3 – Commitment: Their commitment to the Lord will bring about favor and blessing.
MILE 4 – Creativity: Using their creativity, they will bring about new ideas and new concepts.
MILE 5 – Dreamers: They will be dreamers and dream God sized dreams for a vision for their life.
MILE 6 – Energy: Their energy and excitement for life will infiltrate their environment.
MILE 7 – Fearlessness: They will walk in fearlessness, trusting the Lord under every circumstance.
MILE 8 – Forgiven: They will demonstrate forgiveness to others, knowing they are completely forgiven.
MILE 9 – Freedom: They will walk in freedom over everything that once held them captive.
MILE 10 – Grace: Grace will rule their lives and be the power to live the life God intended.
MILE 11 – Integrity: Integrity will guide their steps and their heart.
MILE 12 – Loved: They will know they are loved by the creator of the universe and the Savior of the world.
MILE 13 – Potential: They will realize their potential and let nothing hold them back.
MILE 14 – Purity: They will maintain purity in their relationships.
MILE 15 – Radical: They will have a radical faith that draws others to the life that Christ offers.
MILE 16 – Redeemed: The past will have no hold on them, for they are redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
MILE 17 – Relentless: They will chase God with a relentless pursuit, unyielding to the enemy.
MILE 18 – Rescue: They will rescue the hurting and the lost, loving them as Christ loves them.
MILE 19 – Righteous: They will know they are righteous in God’s eyes because of Jesus Christ.
MILE 20 – Salvation: They will understand their salvation is a gift from God and not something earned.
MILE 21 – Treasured: They will know they are treasured by their father in heaven.
MILE 22 – Thankful: With a thankful heart, they will praise God.
MILE 23 – Victorious: They will be victorious over sin, victorious over the enemy and victorious in life.
MILE 24 – Valued: They will be a valued part of their communities, making a difference and uplifting others.
MILE 25 – Unlimited: God is unlimited and therefore, nothing is impossible.
MILE 26 – Zealous: They will be zealous for God

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