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Prayers God Loves to Answer: Praying for the Church (pt. 3)

Perhaps no area of our walk with God is more challenged by our culture today than the area of sexuality.  Having strayed from the truth of God's word, as a society we no longer even know how to define gender.  More and more, our culture reflects Paul's warning to the Romans:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:21-27)

It's interesting that Paul ties sexual immorality so closely to idolatry in this passage.  The letters to the churches at Pergamum and at Thyatira also make this association:

I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Revelation 2:14-15)

I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)

Sexual purity, under so much attack in our culture today, is important not only on an individual level but also on a church level.  Jesus warned the churches at Pergamum and at Thyatira that their tolerance of sexual immorality was going to result in judgment.  These are words that our churches and church leaders today need to take seriously.  Perhaps one of the greatest testimonies to the transformation that God brings into a life is the difference that obedience to Scripture makes in our sexual lives.

So, how do we pray for our churches in light of this?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Pray for pastors and church leaders.  They face temptations and situations that the average church member may not face. Pray for wisdom to flee from temptation and to avoid compromising situations; for accountability with a close group of friends; for God to deliver them from evil.
  • Pray for youth.  Pre-marital sex is nearly assumed in today's culture, contrary to the wisdom of God's word.  Pray for students and youth - for commitment to sexual purity, for an end to any relationships that are not pure, for solid mentoring/discipling relationships, for God to protect them from temptation.
  • Pray for clarity.  Gender confusion reigns in our society, a result of straying from the truth of God's word.  Ask God to bring clarity and truth to any who are confused over gender and to restore the church to the truth of the creation of man and woman.
  • Pray for repentance and restoration. The evil one will use guilt to keep people in bondage to any kind of sin, and sexual sin seems to be particularly vulnerable in this area.  Pray for hearts of repentance for those who have committed sexual sin of any sort and for a strong sense of God's forgiveness.
  • Pray for marriages. Ask God to strengthen marriages and keep Satan from gaining a foothold there. Pray for husbands and wives to be faithful to each other, for the ending of any extra-marital relationships, for marriage relationships that are satisfying; for Biblical counseling for any marriages that are strained.
  • Pray for unborn children.  The real number one reason for abortions is that people don't want to take responsibility for their actions in the area of sexuality. Ask God to turn the hearts of expectant mothers and fathers to their unborn children.
  • Pray for clear, Scriptural teaching. Different churches will approach this differently, but Scripture doesn't really provide the option of ignoring this key area. Ask God to grant wisdom to pastors, church leaders, teachers and youth leaders with regard to how to communicate the truths of Scripture with regard to sexual purity.

 

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