Where’d This Come From?
I think unless Jesus had grabbed a hold of my heart from a young age, without the solid Scriptural foundation I received from church and family, and if I wasn’t raised to be critical and thoughtful of culture, I would be at the front of the Pride Parade waving the rainbow flag. In a quote often attributed to the Christian martyr John Bradford, ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.” I don’t see myself as a different (better or worse) sinner from those who identify with the LGBT community or anyone reading these words. A critic might reply “How dare you call them sinners!” But that is precisely it! I’m no better than a mass murderer, or someone who cheats the elderly out of their money, or someone who would take candy from a baby. My struggles and sin might be unique, in some sense, or just less talked about but I see so many things more in terms of disease and symptoms now. My symptoms might be different than yours, but we’re all infected and going to die of the same disease without God. But because of the lens I’ve lived with and what God has done, I feel passionate about the Christian posture and response to the LGBT community, which is why I know praying during Pride Month is important for me to do.
Thank you for being willing to join, starting June 1st!
What Do I Believe?
I believe that God has created all of us, male, and female, in His Image (Gen 1:27). Each one of us uniquely carries His image and our gender and sexuality (capacity for sexual feelings/actions) are aspects of what it means to be human. I believe that we’re living in a world and bodies that have been impacted by our sin and rejection of God (Rom 3:23, Rom 6:23). I believe our sin is all weighted the same, in terms of our separation from God, but the Bible does seem to make a distinction in the consequences of our sexual sin (1 Cor 6:18 says “whoever sins sexually, sins against his own body).
We’re all guilty of sinning sexually, even if it’s just silently with our eyes and heart (Matt 5:28). What makes this month of prayer specifically important, as I see it, is for God to move in the hearts of people who have not turned from their sexual brokenness and sin to God’s healing, grace, and mercy. (I’m sure all of us reading this have areas we need God to move in our lives in this way as well!)
Who are You Praying For?
I think we should pray about a few different aspects of this topic. Broadly, I will pray for those in our leadership considering bills and laws and how to balance “freedoms” and “rights.” I don’t think any believers want people who identify within the LGBT community to face harassment, discrimination, or violence. That is not God’s heart. How to balance that, with the freedom to worship God as an individual sees fit, is something that can be very frustrating, so we should pray about it.
Next, I think we should pray for Christians in every sphere of public life who will face added pressure this month. From the school districts to big businesses, pray that those who follow Jesus will have the right words, tone, and heart to interact with anything that comes up. Finally, I encourage everyone to make a list of names you will pray for, including those who identify within the LGBT community or family/friends who have vocalized agreement with what the culture is telling us about the LGBT community.
When You See The Rainbow
Genesis teaches us the rainbow was created by God to represent a specific promise to humanity and the rest of creation. The colorful result of light through the prism of water represented God’s covenant between Himself and “Every living creature for all generations” that he would never again destroy the entire earth (for great human wickedness) with a flood (Gen 9:11-13). When you see the rainbow symbol everywhere this June, may it remind us to pray for everyone who wears it or flies it. May it be a constant reminder of God’s promise of compassion to sinners who humble themselves and turn to Him.
Here are some specific suggestions that might help you as you pray for your list:
- For a renewed openness to hearing God’s voice and feeling his Love drawing that person near.
- For Christian relationships in that person’s life that are meaningful and loving.
- For healing in any place that there is brokenness or hurt.
- For eyes that are opened to what is healthy and good and right in that person’s life.
- For God’s Word and Truth to be loud in his or her ears and heart this month, that God’s Spirit would pursue each individual on this list relentlessly and bring him or her into right relationship with Him if he or she is not already.
- For anyone who knows Jesus already and knows the Truth, that he or she will hear the Spirit’s loving voice loud and clear.
- That everything the person is turning to for comfort or love would not feel satisfying and he or she would instead, look to Jesus.
- That each individual would find a church that will welcome him or her at whatever part of the process he or she is in, with a balance of truth and grace.
Don’t Pray Alone!
I know for me, I can start Bible plans and prayer months with every good intention but it will get lost in the shuffle of whatever season I find myself in. I highly recommend finding at least one other person who would be willing to do this alongside you, so you can read and pray together (for the same people even) and encourage each other.
Have that be the person you get that nudge of encouragement if you feel discouraged, anxious, or angry about the sociopolitical dramas that will be occurring in the month of June. Consider sharing to a church Bible study, a pastor, friend, or your spouse so you’re not trying to remember and do this alone.
What Can Help Keep Me On Track for 30 Days?
I selected some verses, many about pride and humility, as an option for people who would like to be reading through the same verses as we pray together. We know God’s Word can be applicable across times, seasons, and cultures. We can trust that God will speak to us because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be completely, equipped for every good work” (1 Tim 3:16-17). (I’ll post this in a separate post.)