“Would you please pray for my husband?" Abigail* asked our prayer group one day. “I want George to be the spiritual leader in our home and go to camp meeting. He brought me into the church, but he doesn’t want to go to church. I don’t want to go to camp meeting without him.”
We prayed for this request for many months, and yet George refused to go to camp meeting. After camp meeting, we decided to ask God how we should pray for him. So we prayed together for God to show us, then waited in silence. The idea came to us to pray that it would be his idea to go to the next camp meeting. So we started praying for that, and kept praying he would be the spiritual leader in the home and go to church.
Many months went by, and one morning my phone rang. It was Abigail. “Last night George came into the kitchen rubbing his head like he was not sure where this thought was coming from. ‘I want to go to camp meeting,’ he said. ‘I have some time I can take off from work, and I can borrow Frank’s trailer.’”
“Praise the Lord!” I was thrilled. “He has answered our prayers! You need to turn in the registration for camp meeting, because we fill up.”
“No, when it comes down to it, he won’t want to go,” she said.
Now I was frustrated. “God has answered your prayer. You need to send it in.”
Abigail wouldn’t do it. Instead she put the application on the front of her refrigerator with magnets.
About three weeks later Abigail called again. “Last night George came into the kitchen and asked why I hadn’t sent in this application for camp meeting since they fill up quickly. I told him, ‘Well, I thought when it came down to it you would not want to go to camp meeting.’ He said, ‘Of course I want to go to camp meeting! I told you I did, and I have extra time I can take off work, and I can borrow Frank’s trailer. I want to go to camp meeting!’”
She was a praying woman, and I think God had her wait until it was really his idea to go to camp meeting!
George and Abigail were there when camp meeting started. But not many days passed before Abigail found me. “Fine!” she said, her arms crossed and foot tapping. “He’s here at camp meeting, but he doesn’t go to any meetings. All he does is sit in our trailer. What good will it do?”
“I don’t know, but we’ll pray for God to get him into the meetings!” I quickly found some people who would pray, and we poured our hearts out to God, praying for Him to get George to go to all the meetings. We met several times and prayed this same prayer.
George never did go to all the meetings. But he did attend one seminar on prayer with Abigail. Previously, he had never participated in small-group prayer times during meetings. But this time, the speaker asked George and Abigail to pray with him at the end of the meeting. Whether that was what did it or not, I don’t know, but I know that George went home a changed man. He started reading his Bible, going to church, and leading out in family worships.
About two weeks later Abigail called me in tears. “He is leading out in family worships, but it’s terrible! He is so authoritarian and strict that the kids hate it!”
Well, she was a wise woman. She kept her mouth shut, and we earnestly prayed for God to mellow him. It took a few weeks, but he changed and it got better.
It is so important that when someone around us starts to grow spiritually, whether it is our husband, young adult child, or a new church member, that we not tell them what they are doing wrong. It is better just to pray. The Holy Spirit is fully able to tell them how they need to change.
Now whenever the church doors were open, George was there, asking how he could help. He was consistently having his own private time with God too.
One night after family worship, when the kids were in bed, he asked Abigail to help him with something in the living room. He asked her to wait, then returned with a huge stack of pornography magazines.
“Will you help me burn these in the fireplace?” he asked, shaking all over.
“I would love too!” she responded.
When the magazines were burning, she said, “They’re burning. Let’s go to bed.”
“No! Not till every one of them is in ashes. They have so controlled my life!”
George went on to become an elder in his church. He started preaching powerful sermons, giving Bible studies, and winning people to Jesus. Would all of this have happened if we had not prayed?
Our little prayer group had no idea George was suffering with a pornography addiction. But we knew he had a spiritual problem.
Today, because of the Internet, TV, and movies, pornography has become rampant. Men aren’t the only ones who struggle with it. Women and children are susceptible too. Many parents do not realize that their sons are addicted to pornography. We cannot let Satan win on this one! It is destroying lives, marriages, and ministries.
God is mighty to save and can help each one caught in Satan’s trap to win the battle with pornography. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NKJV).
Could I boldly suggest that we all join in fasting and prayer one day a week for this? As I write this, my heart goes out to those whose self-esteem and hopes of true love have been sickeningly destroyed through pornography. Could we also join in prayer for them to regain their self-worth and for their marriages to be filled with true love?
God promises that our prayers will be effective. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19, 20, NKJV).
Won’t you join me in persevering prayer for our brothers and sisters entangled in pornography? Let us “press [our] petitions to the throne, and hold on by strong faith” (Early Writings, p. 73).
*The names in this story are pseudonyms.