Our team member, Josh Proctor, shares some lessons he has learned in his walk of faith regarding prayer.
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of one of the most famous prayers in history: Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane asking the Father to find another way so that he doesn’t have to go to the cross – but within 24 hours, he is crucified and killed. If there was ever a prayer in the Bible that I relate to, it is this one.
Regardless of what others may think, most LGBT+ people do have a long history of prayer even starting from childhood. Most LGBT+ people admit having tried to “pray the gay away” as a child to no avail. In the same way, when families find out their loved one is LGBT+, they are many times driven to prayer hoping to make “the problem” go away – but seem to come up against a closed door.
Experiences like these can cause a sense of fear or hopelessness regarding prayer. Interestingly though, Andrew Marin in his book, Us Versus Us, records that 80% of LGBT+ people say they pray regularly. Prayer continues to be important in the lives of LGBT+ people, and I personally can attest to that.
I am not a prayer warrior, but God has grown me through my walk with Him as a celibate Christian with exclusive attractions towards other men and taught me 4 lessons that I wish every person could learn.
We Serve the God who Values Voices
The greatest appreciation for prayer I have as a LGBT+ person is God’s value on the importance of speaking. We have a Father who is eager to hear our voices and concerns. He already knows our thoughts, yet He is the God who values voices. He is the God who creates through speech, who said “Let there be light.” As an LGBT+ person in the church, there are many times when we feel we have no voice. Yet through prayer we have access to someone beyond our head pastor. We have access to the founder of the Church and the entire world.
Pray from God’s Perspective
Many times our prayers are denied because we are praying from our perspective, not God’s perspective. We are praying for what we want rather than what we need. Looking back at my childhood attempts to “pray the gay away”, I learned that God was more worried about my faith orientation than my sexual orientation.
God was more worried about my faith orientation than my sexual orientation
If you are a loved one of an LGBT+ person, just know that God wants to be in relationship with them more than to make them straight. Being straight is not automatically linked to being holy. We need to pray for God’s perspective because He wants to grow each of us into the purpose filled people he destined us to be, and that may end up looking different than what we expected.
In the Christian world, we put so much importance on the wording and length of prayers when God doesn’t even care about that. Prayer is about vulnerability and intentionality before the One person who loves you more than His own life. Sometimes the most powerful prayers are the most honest prayers regardless of their beauty or formality.
Prayer is about vulnerability and intentionality before the One person who loves you more than His own life.
Some of my most powerful prayers were after breaking up with my boyfriend and yelling at God in anger because I felt He had destroyed my life. Ironically, it’s one of the times I have felt God’s presence most in my life. We see Jesus being honest and vulnerable before his Father in the Garden. Tell God how you feel. Forget about sounding spiritual and just be honest.
Never Stop Praying
Like every other LGBT/SSA person of faith, I went through a long conflict in order reconcile my attractions with my faith. That conflict has the power to make you just want to leave faith altogether. Pressing on is the hardest part especially in prayer. Never let something keep you from praying. Make it a daily routine. Yes, at times it seems like all you get is silence, but keep praying. Keep talking to him. He hears you! He is with you. Jesus knows what it is like to feel like you are crying out to the sky with no response. He yelled from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet he kept praying. Never stop praying!
Read more about prayer in the new edition of Guiding Families being released on March 31st. Pre-order it today here
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