Defeat Lust & Pornography
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51:58 Prayer for Purity

Last Updated: February 21, 2014

by Mary Ann Jiang and Noel Bouché

The request, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1) seems to reverberate in each of our hearts as we pursue God and seek intimacy with Him. We have a deep longing to commune with Him in the place of utmost vulnerability. And we know, scripturally and intuitively, that prayer is the vehicle for that communion.

Jesus answered the inquiry, of course, with what we know as “the Lord’s prayer”—a brief declaration of praise, petition, gratitude, and repentance. What He modeled, though, was a life of constant and dynamic prayer, one that we are to imitate by praying “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). And for those following Jesus in the sexualized, exploitative frenzy that is the twenty-first century, we need a prayer life that is rich in repentance and powerful in petition that addresses the sexual injustice and immorality (porneia, in the Greek) that, in the digital age, cascades over all of us.

Praying to God the words of God is always a wise place to start, and we recommend a practice of 51:58 prayer—praying through Psalm 51 in repentance for our own sin and Isaiah 58 for our active pursuit of justice and liberation for those enslaved by the commercial sex industry.

The Repentance Prayer: Psalm 51

Psalm 51 is perhaps the Bible’s greatest cry of contrition and repentance. Written after a deplorable sequence of lust, adultery, lies, and murder, King David confesses his sin, repents of his ways, and recommits his life to the Lord.

We are all similarly guilty; if we say we are not, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8) and ignore Scripture (see Matthew 5:28; Romans 7:23). And if we say we desire justice for those trafficked and exploited in the global sex trade, we must begin with our own need for purity and our own responsibility to repent. As William Wilberforce, the great British abolitionist, said about the trans-Atlantic slave trade: “We are all guilty—we ought all to plead guilty, and not to exculpate ourselves by throwing blame on others.” The same applies today to the injustice of sexual exploitation.

Consider praying Psalm 51 in response to that reality. In doing so, we present ourselves before God in repentance (v.3-4) seeking purification (v.7), forgiveness (v.9), renewal (v.10), joy (v.12), empowerment in ministry (v.13), and restored intimacy through praise (v 15).

The Liberation Prayer: Isaiah 58

Then, when we have humbled our own heart and recognized our own need for purity, we can rightly call upon the Lord for justice, “to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free” (Isaiah 58:6). And this is the intercession that is needed in our time, when millions across the globe are trafficked and enslaved and millions more are in bondage to sexual addiction. It is the fast which He chooses.

When we recognize the efficacy of prayer and the promise that God’s Word does not return to Him void, we see that 51:58 prayer is an important way to engage in the battle against sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation all around us.  Whether done individually or in a group, this prayer journey can powerfully transform us and the world around us in a way that brings glory to God and freedom to his children.

. . . .

Mary Ann Jiang served as an intern this summer with pureJUSTICE. She is a junior at the Ohio State University studying Psychology and Comparative Studies. Mary Ann serves with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and works at the Ohio State Medical Center’s Research Unit on Psychopharmacology for families with children who have autism.

  1. Trel Brown

    Thank you this really touches my heart and will help me in my continued fight for purity. The Lord Jesus has delivered me from all sin and I need to remember scriptures such as the ones you presented here so as not to fall back into porn. Please pray for me and other men and women(30%of them view porn) who are committed to staying away from sexual immorality.
    Bless God always indeed!

  2. Joanne

    Thank you Mary Ann, particularly for the suggestion of Isaiah 58. I had been looking for a prayer of this nature. My boyfriend recently broke up with me because of his porn addiction, but instead of focussing on how I feel about it, I would prefer to channel my energies and emotions into the kind of prayer that will break the stronghold the Enemy has over the man I love and all the other Christian guys like him. This is an end times battle that we are in and Isaiah 58 is the perfect place to start fighting back! If anyone has any other passages from the Bible, please speak up. I believe The Lord God will have victory here! And as for Satan, heads up, you’re gonna loose – big time!!! May God raise up many prayer warriors devoted to this specific spiritual battle, in Jesus’ mighty Name, Amen.

  3. Pastor Nadine Goodman

    Your words are so inspiring and are just what Doctor God has ordered for this day and time. I came upon this site when I was looking for some material on Purity IN PRAYER that I am led to teach on tonight in Bible Study. Continue to hear from God and bless His people with the inspiring insight of your words. Bless God Always Your sis in CHRIST

  4. Pastor Nadine Goodman

    Wonderful message, we all would do well to take heed. I came upon this article when I was looking for some material on Purity In Prayer that I AM LED TO TEACH tonight in Bible Study. May you continue to hear from GOD and continue to bless his people with your words of insight. Bless God Always

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