by David Schrock, M.Div.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, Paul says that we are to be constantly in prayer: “Pray without ceasing . . . for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Earlier in his same letter to the faithful Thessalonian church, he states, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (4:3). In those two statements, you have a clear declaration of God’s will for our lives: that we prayerfully strive for the holiness of Jesus.
There can be no mistaking the will of God about prayer and purity, but perhaps we forget these basic truths, or perhaps we in our sinfulness do not know how to approach a holy God about our sexual purity. And it is probably the case that few of us have heard such prayers in our churches. So how do we learn to pray for purity?
Recently, I was reading through Scotty Smith’s prayer book, Everyday Prayers, and I came across a model prayer by Pastor Smith based on 1 Corinthians 6:14-18. It is a prayer that meditates on the “brokenness and beauty of human sexuality.” Take a listen:
Holy and loving Jesus, so many thoughts are swirling through my head this morning. I’ve never been more aware of the pervasiveness of sexual brokenness—everywhere I go, everywhere I look, including in the mirror. It’s like we’re living in the Corinth of Paul’s day. So many of us bear the wounds, feel the shame, know the disconnect of our sexual brokenness and sin. And yet the gospel dares us to hope.
Indeed, hope—that’s the greater impulse of my heart this morning. In fact, as I ponder what Paul was saying to the Corinthians, I am left speechless—overwhelmed at the beauty, Jesus, of belonging to you, being desired by you, being “known” by you in the most intimate of all ways.
Dare I say it, Lord Jesus? Whatever the “best sex” is between a husband and wife, it’s only a hint and a whisper of the intimacy you intend for yourself and your bride. Jesus, give me a greater capacity to understand, believe, and enjoy the wonders of the relationship you’ve established with us.
Why should I flee all forms of sexual immorality? Simply because it’s what I’m supposed to do as a Christian? Only because it’s “the rules”? That would never be enough to keep me from acting out in selfish and destructive ways. I’ll flee sexual immorality because you flee to us in the gospel.
You’ve died for us; you’ve been raised for us; you’ve married yourself to us; you’ve united everything that we are to yourself. We’re already one with you “in spirit,” and we await your return and our resurrection. Whatever the future and fulfillment of sexuality is, it belongs to you.
Until then, Lord Jesus, help us flee all forms of sexual immorality by fleeing to you, our great and gracious bridegroom. In our marriages, in our singleness, in our brokenness, in our need for repentance and healing, be glorified. I pray in your peerless name. Amen.
Smith’s prayer is the kind of prayer we must pray if we are to strive towards purity and holiness. It both recognizes our sin and shamelessly confesses it to our Lord, and simultaneously, it rests in the matchless beauty of the gospel.
May God use this prayer to spur you on in your prayers for purity, for indeed you have this promise from God that he gladly answers the prayers that are in his will (1 John 5:14). And knowing that purity is God’s will for your life (1 Thessalonians 4:3), you can pray with bold faith that God will give you wisdom to walk purely as you daily turn to him in prayer (James 1:5-7). In this way, you and I must pray continually to be pure and holy in a Corinthian age.
To find more daily prayers from Scotty Smith, click here to view his blog Heavenward.
David Schrock pastors Calvary Baptist Church in Seymour, IN. He is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently a doctoral student at SBTS. You can read more of David’s writings on his blog.