I remember the first time I told anyone outside my family about my same-sex attraction. A friend suggested we go and talk with a couple of guys from the church I’d just started attending. I was a nervous wreck thinking about it for a couple days.
But it was so good to confess and talk about my struggle! It went better than I could have imagined.
The thing that stands out most in my memory from that night is that we prayed before we left.
I often think about the Scripture that says: Confess your sins one to another, and pray … that ye might be healed.
I’m not sure I completely understand how that works yet…
As far as I know, I’m not “healed.” Or am I? Perhaps I’ve experienced more healing than I know about.
Do you think part of the healing comes from the actual act of praying?
Sometimes I call a friend on the phone and we pray before hanging up. Sometimes I pray with my roommates before we go to sleep. Another favorite moment is going to dinner with a friend or just hanging for the evening, and before parting, taking time for prayer.
I’ve probably taken praying together for granted all too often. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve noticed a couple different aspects of praying.
I’ve been thinking specifically about the unique power in the fact that I go to God with brothers at my side.
It’s like having a family member with you at the emergency room or an attorney by your side in a courtroom.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed about prayer. Maybe you can add to this list, but when we pray together, we agree in three major ways.
1. When we pray together, we agree that we stand in need.
We don’t have life all figured out. OSA or SSA — we need help.
I mean, going to prayer is primarily an act of humility. Why is it that sometimes it’s just so hard to admit we need help?
2. When we pray together, we acknowledge who our sustainer really is.
We’re totally indebted to worship Jehovah Jireh!
3. When we pray together, we really do encourage each other.
Whenever we have grand “prayer meetings” at church, we tend to be a little dispassionate with our “requests.” Maybe we’re walking a thin line between sharing all our “concerns” and outright gossip!
But in more heartfelt prayer times, if I pray for you, or vice versa, we thank God for the other’s positive attributes, his gifts and his pursuits, and then extend blessings to each other. I have yet to participate in prayer with a brother when he slanders me! We can also intercede for each other to the perfect Intercessor.
This seems like a simple, cliche post, incomplete in many ways. However, I hope it encourages you guys to keep going to the throne room.
Maybe you feel like prayer isn’t really helping you. I’d say I’ve felt that way, too.
But let’s not walk sans prayer — and let’s not do life without brothers!
What role does prayer play in your daily battles? Do you have a story to share of prayer with another brother in Christ? How often do you pray together with other believers?
* Photo courtesy sacks08, Creative Commons.
I am in constant prayer with God about my SSA, not that He will ‘cure’ me (which I had been doing for twenty years) but that I would not indulge. That part was kind of easy. But talking to someone else, especially about my SSA, that was more challenging. Even after the stroke, I wouldn’t talk about such things. I was content to go to church, sit in a pew, pray and hope that God would let me in to heaven. I only outed myself (to the preacher of all people) when a boy asked for prayers because he was gay. Now I talk about this all the time and we pray. Now, oddly enough, the ones I find hardest to talk to are gay people. I encourage abstinence and celibacy. Don’t know what good it does, but that is not my call. Being upfront and honest about SSA has made me a better Christian.
I pray all the time with others and I am inspired to ask people if I can pray for them…no one ever refuses prayer.
This verses from James 5: 15-16 were the verses that God used to begin my significant healing as far as my SSA goes. I told my best friend of 25+ years about my SSA, because these verses convicted me to ask for healing and to confess my sins. I expected to feel ashamed after I revealed my secret past, but instead I experience an unexpected freedom. I found that my shame was gone. The power the devil had held over me for so long while I kept my unwanted same-sex attraction a secret was broken.
Yes, God did answer my prayers. It was not an instant healing (pray the Gay away), but the beginning of a journey learning things about myself, my true needs, my true emotions and how to manage these things in healthy godly ways. My journey is not over and when I face challenges, I feel old patterns of thought or behavior getting stronger. But they are not controlling me like they once did. Today I feel primarily heterosexual in my attractions. I did not expect this. I work hard now to stay connected to God and my brothers. Prayer is essential, both private and prayer together with other men and women.
“This seems like a simple, cliche post, incomplete in many ways. However, I hope it encourages you guys to keep going to the throne room.”
Before getting to that line, was thinking how refreshing what you were writing is.
I’m connected long distance to another guy who struggles thru SSA to be faithful. It’s great being open with another human being. We talk about stuff trying to process not only our SSA history and current challenges, but also we process Christ and what it means to walk faithful with SSA and sometimes failing on this journey. We encourage each other and to this post, we pray for each other. We’re doing that now because we’re friends, and giving each other a headsup when facing things, and following up after. It’s great having a brother who will be there even when failing, but I’m finding that spiritually our fellowship is affected when I sin and that motivates me more.
Even with all that tho, the issue of staying faithful with SSA has more to do with my heart being all in with God. Find that my friend praying for me still leaves me with the question of the reality of my heart being set on God when tempted. If it’s the things of the flesh my heart still longs for, the prayers of my friend will not keep me from that. Prayer is a matter of the heart being in communion with God. The times I fail being tempted, it’s because it wasn’t God I wanted most. Looking back, can’t remember any times my heart was all in with God and I failed being tempted. It’s a pure heart that’s the measure of things, having a heart like Jesus, not what we didn’t do.
Hey C., you go on writing “simple, cliche posts” that encourage us.
Thanks for the encouragement blu!
I love this reminder to always pray together. A great challenge, man. Thank you for this post!
The reality is that prayer is just prayer. We feel good when we pray, but it hardly changes anything, neither SSA nor any other or mental or physical reality.
“We feel good when we pray, but it hardly changes anything…” Hey brother, prayer may not change the things we face on this journey but it does change the way we face them. And it is more than just psychology and feeling good. Commented above that prayer is a matter of the heart being in communion with God. This journey tests that, doesn’t it? It’s not just SSA, but SSA is a huge challenge to face in this life. It’s probably fair to say that most everyone who has some belief in God prayed that they wouldn’t have SSA and the attraction itself in the body didn’t get taken away. If the point of prayer is our outward circumstances change, then you could say prayer failed. But what if the point of prayer is that it changes us in the circumstances we face? If you live with SSA and also believe that acting on it would be wrong, then this journey could drive you to despair. And if faith is just a matter of psychology it probably would. There’s a verse in Philippians that talks about making your requests known to God, it’s in the context of having joy and not being anxious, and says make your prayers and supplications with thanksgiving. And the promise from that is the peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Christ. If this was all merely psychology then you might feel good reading that, but if it’s spiritual, if it’s reality, then the peace of God is living and it guards you, and your heart and your mind, so you can walk with SSA and have genuine joy and not be anxious even with SSA pulling on you. The point of prayer is that it changes the most important thing in your circumstances and that’s you. If the point of this journey is to make us more like Jesus in who we are at heart, then making us able to face things well rather than removing troubles may be the better answer to our prayers. Hey George, going on long here, take what’s good. Keep well brother.
◄ Matthew 7:7 ►
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
So we SSA Christians have been asking for change for decades…no answer, no change. It will be hard to find a SSA person whose orientation changed. I do t mean those celibate, but those who really desire to get married and have wife and kids. So have we been asking the wrong thing? Nowhere in bible is written that prayer only changes us. In bible we see prayers healed and cured people.
If it is just words and rituals, yes it is meditation. And phsichology.
I wished I would not be writing these, but this is my life experience.
Hey man, you quoted the right verse. There’s so much starting on this SSA journey that made no sense in terms of faith. Heck, there’s still so much. What do you do with children born with disabilities, or persecuted brothers imprisoned for decades for believing? It’s not just SSA that could use change. I don’t think we ask the wrong questions, but a lot of times we’re asking for the wrong thing. Jesus says the purpose of following him is to find his life thru losing our selves, that thru everything, all the trials and suffering being in this world means, find that Jesus is worth pursuing. And in the following and thru the trials, who we are becomes more like him as we go on in faith. Somewhere on this journey, knowing Christ and the reality of genuinely being like Jesus in this world matter more than the circumstances we’re in. So the one with disabilities can be alive in Christ and show Him in their disabilities, and the brother in prison be Christ to other prisoners. Bible says that we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God but more than that we rejoice in our troubles and sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character, hope.
Hey man, it’s not easy going thru life with SSA. I get it. And you’re right, if it’s just words and rituals and games, there’s not much there to give hope and you might as well be a Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu. But if there is a God, if the stories about Jesus are true, if the resurrection is true, if the Spirit has been given to us, then there is a reality to these things that mean life within and power to go on. It’s going on George, it’s that Matthew verse.
I don’t want to speak about diabilties now..its a big topic.
‘Asking for the wrong things’
So do you think when other brotners or I begged God to set us/ me free from SSA was a wrong thing to ask?
It was absolutely the right thing to ask George, I did too man. For me it was hard to reconcile being a Christian with SSA. But when that prayer doesn’t get answered with being straight, what do you do? Do you give up? Is God not real cause you still have SSA? Faith is the capacity of a new heart that God gives. If it’s something real God has done in you, then no matter where your road takes you or how low you get, it is God your heart returns to. And it doesn’t look like it in the depths, but it’s God’s mercy that’s living that holds you at the low points.
God answers that prayer, and the answer is found in being free in Christ. There is a spiritual reality of being alive in Christ that is better than merely being straight in this life. It’s like Paul’s prayer at the end of his life to gain Christ and be found in him, to know him. It was the passion of his heart. God’s answer is always His Son.
Am still angry with God. I don’t want, but can’t help.
Yeah, get that, but that’s not helping you move forward. Y’know what, it’s not God’s fault that you’re still SSA. If you can let go of your anger for a little while, maybe your heart can be open to the possibility that you are loved by God regardless of the SSA. Bible says it is with the heart we believe, your anger is hurting that more than your SSA. fwiw, dealing with SSA has been the biggest factor in my life in learning Christ. There is grace on this journey with SSA. Hey George, God loves you man, all of you.
Conversation going good here George. Check your email man.