The Standard of Liberty Voice
A publication of The Standard of Liberty Foundation
November 17, 2007, #36
For Those Who Struggle with SSA – don’t pray harder, pray differently
We have been told that some Latter-day Saints sincerely struggling with homosexual attractions have prayed unceasingly for relief and yet their prayers have gone unanswered. Sadly, these individuals, deciding their efforts are futile, fall into a hopeless state, become advocates for the homosexual orientation, and/or give in further to their homosexual thoughts, feelings, and acts.
Such individuals have undoubtedly prayed hard. But perhaps they could pray differently. Especially when we are under a lot of stress, it is easy to fall into habits of prayer that are not beneficial to us in the long run. We go on and on about our temptations and problems, describing them, feeling them, identifying with them, internalizing them, while pleading with Heavenly Father to take them away. In this way we may feel we’ve done our duty by praying, but in reality we’ve given our agency away and haven’t made progress. What we’ve done is focus on the weakness and actually affirmed it in our minds. It’s like trying to diet while praying all day about your favorite foods, which never works. Such prayer is focused on one’s own desires rather than seeking out God’s will. Chances are, there will be no significant progress in overcoming same sex sexual attraction by this temporal approach to prayer.
I submit that while prayer is generally a good thing, there are better ways to pray. The following is a sample prayer offered by a purely hypothetical struggler against SSA. (I know every situation can be different, but the same principles apply.)
In this prayer the young man is spiritually centered. He focuses on his relationship to each member of the Godhead, where he came from, why he is on earth, and where he desires to end up. He takes responsibility for his fallen human nature, asks to be shown truth and be corrected through the Holy Ghost, faces the fact that he has work to do, and affirms his decision to do God’s will out of love for Him. He concentrates on his spiritual desires rather than his earthly desires, and exercises his particle of faith. He is steadfast in Christ, meaning he chooses to believe in the Lord’s atoning power to change, forgive, and redeem us. Praying this way may feel uncomfortable at first and requires careful thought and courage, but it gets easier with practice. When we pray about truth, the Spirit always confirms it. No matter what our weaknesses and sins happen to be, persisting with this better type of prayer will yield great personal progress and spiritual growth.
See if this approach to prayer might be helpful to one who struggles with homosexual attractions.
I’m so grateful to know why I came to earth, to get this amazing body as a stewardship assignment from Thee. I know I am to treat my mind and body with great respect, and use them within the boundaries Thou has set. I came to earth to receive this body, and also to decide the kind of life I want hereafter. I’ve decided I want eternal life, to grow in knowledge and wisdom here and in the next life in order to glorify Thee. I know I am human and flawed, and that my goal of eternal life with Thee is only possible through my Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course you know the struggle I am having with my current weakness and the progress I am making. I know you want me to completely overcome this problem because it does not fit in with Thy plan for me. You know I have given up all my former associations and that I no longer use the internet or my own body to gratify myself. I’m so grateful to Thee for this progress – it’s such a great relief to be free of these things. I pray that you will continue to send the Holy Ghost to further humble me, to open my mind, to guide me to the right kind of support, and to testify of what’s true. Help me to discover where these wrong, sinful feelings came from and to root them out. I want to be clean and whole inside.
I know overcoming the natural man and cleansing the inner vessel are required. I know it is Thy will that I give up any desire to sin. This I want to do. I am beginning to understand the mighty change of heart Alma testified of, and it fills my poor heart with joy. I have a desire is to do Thy will, to be clean and forgiven through my Savior Jesus Christ. I want my love for Thee and the Savior to be stronger than any other feelings. I know that as I keep my mind and heart focused on Thee and Jesus Christ, I am becoming free of this particular temptation, and will soon be free entirely. I thank Thee for the progress I am making, even though it seems slow. I experience great joy on my journey toward purity and holiness. For this I give Thee all credit and glory and love.
I know that this difficult earthly journey is bringing me closer to Thee. This is because I have to pray so often and correct my thoughts so often to bring them in line with Thy will for me. My dependence on Thee and my Savior are complete. I know when I get over this problem, there will be other challenges. Sometimes it seems too hard, but I am exercising what faith I have been blessed with that you are making me into a new kind of person through these refining fires, more patient, more long-suffering, more spiritually-minded, more holy. I will continue to pray always, often throughout the day. I will trust in Thee and Thy word, and not in my own understanding.
I wish to do all of this out of love for Thee, Heavenly Father. And I do all this with intense gratitude for my Savior. It is only because of Christ’s gift that I can keep striving to overcome my various weaknesses and sins, one after the other. I know that all truth, wisdom, and goodness come from Thee. I desire to give up all my sins and become a new creature, unselfish, submissive to Thy will, full of love for Thee so I can progress spiritually and glorify Thee. I know Jesus is the only way for me to make this progress. I’m so grateful for my Savior. He is everything to me. He is the way, the truth, and the light. I thank Thee for the light I have been given. ________________________________________________________________________
Compare the words and prayers of Paul, Nephi, King Lamoni’s father, Alma, Enos, etc. as recorded in the scriptures.
See How to Qualify for the Celestial Kingdom Today (book) and Becoming Spiritually-Centered and Overcoming the World (set of tapes/CDs and workbook) by James B. Cox.
Copyright 2007 by Standard of Liberty Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.