January 11, 2024

A Prayer for a Fresh Start with Sexual Faithfulness

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Read John 13:38. Father, I thought I meant it. I really did want to resist this time. . . to turn away from the desire that has bullied and hounded me. I’m sorry, Lord. I didn’t see temptation coming. Like Peter, I denied you last night—running away from you, refusing to pray, ignoring the Spirit’s warnings—even as I stepped toward sexual sin.

Read Psalm 40:1–2; 32:1–11; Mark 9:23–25. Oh Lord, I’m so discouraged. . . sad. . . beaten down. Help! Help me to not slide into despair. Hear my cry, Lord. Help me believe that you can reach my heart and lift me up out of this sinful mess I jumped into. Again. Cause me to hear your words of forgiveness, mercy, and hope. I want to believe but, God, it seems impossible that the change you promise actually works. 

Read James 5:16, 1 John 1:5–7. God, I know that if I make friends with this sin, like I’ve done so many times, it will crush me. I’ll be honest: I don’t feel bad about how this grieves you, Father. I hate the guilty way I feel afterwards. I hate the shame and self-hatred that pounds me down into the ground. And I’m so angry that now I must tell my accountability helper that I lied about how I was really doing. 

“You’re with me, God, and that will never change.”

Read Psalm 32:3; 143:7–8. I want to want godly sorrow. O God, give me the gift of tears (2 Cor. 7:9) over my fantasy life/pornography addiction/secret affair/cravings toward sex with my same-sex bestie/hooking up with my girlfriend every weekend/wearing my wife’s clothing/sex with myself. I can’t stay silent for another day about this pattern that controls me. Groaning, sighing, crying—please hear me and let me hear a fresh word of your love today, Lord. 

Read John 21:15–17; Luke 22:31–32. Lord Jesus…thank you. I just remembered your walk on the beach with Peter after he had messed up so badly in denying you. You had just fed him, and I wonder if he feared what you’d say to him after breakfast? Would you mock, shame, or call him out in front of his friends? And me—will you finally crush me down, Lord, after confessing the same thing to you for the hundredth time?! 

But your conversation with Peter warms me. You invited him to express his love for you on that beach. And then you told him to love others on your behalf—WHAT?! There’s nothing there about you telling Peter to deal with his anger first, or his impulsiveness, or even his pride. “Do you love me?” Three times you asked him. Are you asking me, too?

Lord, it feels weak, but I do love you and I want to be rid of this thing I hate and love. I want to overcome these desires that feel more real than your love or presence. Maybe my problem has been, in part, that I’ve focused so much on out-of-control desires that I forgot you. I’ve not simply focused on loving you and asking you for help. Could it be I’ve been blind, like Peter was, doing all of this ‘fighting’ and resisting sin, yet with a mix of motivations and ultimately depending on myself? 

“O God, show me your love and help me to receive it as I trust you to be true to your Word.”

Jesus, please give me the fresh start you gave to Peter on the beach. O Lord, help me to love you and to learn from his journey of change into a man you used so powerfully. O God, I pray his words back to you now, and cry out for courage to take the next step—one step back towards faithfulness. 

Read Psalm 34:1–10, James 1:12–18. O God, show me your love and help me to receive it as I trust you to be true to your Word. Cause me, Lord, to long for holiness, to desire you, to have changed appetites in my soul. I’m realizing that I need to make this a daily prayer rather than just when I’m at church or my Bible study group. Help me, Lord, to understand HOW to taste and see you as good and satisfying. Give me some opportunities this week, Lord, to experience you as my refuge and safe place. My sin is so alluring but I’m lying to myself every time I seek it as an escape, a safe place in which all my problems seem to go away amid a few minutes, even hours, of feeling pleasure. It. Just. Never. Lasts. 

Read 1 Peter 5:6–11: Lord, you’ve humbled me again and I receive it; I want to live under your care and authority in my life regardless of how I may feel. But I bring my feelings to you—my anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness, and deep loneliness. Your Word says you care for me and I’m trusting that this means you also care for all my overwhelming emotions. Father, thank you that I can be a mess in your presence!

“Your Word says you care for me and I’m trusting that this means you also care for all my overwhelming emotions.”

I’m unaware, so often, that the enemy is real, that he’s not out just to trip me up but to destroy me. Like Peter said, I choose to resist him by faith, Lord. I commit today, God, to reach out to my brother/sister who knows about this battle, and to ask for their encouragement and help. Don’t let me back out of texting or calling him/her TODAY, Lord. Not tomorrow. Not next week, but today.

Finally, God, thank you that one day this battle against temptation will be done. I feel so weak and ugly now. Yet the time is coming when I will be restored, confirmed, strengthened, and established fully. O God, thank you for hearing these prayers and for your promise to not just be with me then, but TODAY. You’re with me, God, and that will never change. Amen.

If you need help with a sexual sin struggle, our staff is here to help! Reach out to info@harvestusa.org.

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Ellen Mary Dykas

Director of Equipping for Ministry to Women

Ellen joined Harvest USA in 2007 as our first full-time women’s ministry staff. Ellen received her MA from Covenant Theological Seminary and a graduate certificate in biblical counseling from Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF).

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