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By Paul – See Paul’s Testimony.
Fighting Sin Through the Prayer of Praise
Jesus commanded us to, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation,” (Matthew 26:41, Mark 14:38).
Sounds simple enough. However, what about the times when you’re praying against crossdressing, and the more you pray, the more you desire to crossdress. You prayed, “Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me,” (Psalm 19:13, ESV) only to find that the presumptuous sin of crossdressing had dominion over you. I’ve had times where praying for deliverance from crossdressing has caused my mind to become so fixated on it that I’ve landed up by acting out later in the day. Praying over this sin has led me to think so much about it that I’ve used ‘prayer’ as a means of rehearsing my fantasies.
What’s going on? Did Jesus really mean what he said? Yes, Jesus meant what he said.
Does God not always answer our prayer for purity? God’s will is for our purity, so unlikely.
Was it a lack of faith on our part? Possibly, but some of us prayed with great faith yet have still fallen.
So what is the problem?
Well it could be that we are coming to God in prayer with right motives, great faith, but beginning our praying wrongly. In the pattern for prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples he taught us to begin our prayers by focusing on the honour of God, the growth of his kingdom, and the fulfilment of his will on earth. We call it the Lord’s Prayer, and it starts like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Jesus wants us to begin our prayers by focusing on the glory of God and the things that concern him. To begin our praying with worshiping God, and having a desire to see him honoured in our own lives and in the world. To focus on the glory of his grace to us through his son the Lord Jesus Christ. To take a text of scripture that exalts God, and meditate on it until our hearts are moved to praise. When we are in awe of God, we then are to ask him for the things that we need, like deliverance from temptation. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,” comes after we have focused our minds on seeing the glory of God.
What would happen if we did that? We would see far greater victory over our sin. The apostle Paul writes, “We all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV). When we are aware of God and his glory, we are less inclined to sin against him. When we are more aware of his power to deliver, and his grace to forgive and cleanse us, then we will have a healthy fear of God that will keep us from sinning against him.
That’s what happened to Isaiah when he saw the glory of God (Isaiah 6). He became aware of his sin, his need of cleansing, and had a greater commitment to obey God, even though he was called to a hard ministry.
For me the greatest victory has come when my heart has been set on seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It’s come when I’ve been praising God. It’s come when I’ve been in awe of him. That’s been the case in recent years. When the temptation comes, I confess it to the Lord, tell him what is in my heart and how I need his help, then I begin to meditate on some aspect of his being. Quite often I’ll think about Christ on the cross, suffering the physical agony of crucifixion. Experiencing Hell, in my place, as he is separated from his Father. I think about the love of the Father to offer up his Son in my place to redeem me from this sin, and it’s not long before crossdressing is no longer appealing in the light of God and his grace.
It’s hard to say “no” to crossdressing, especially when it’s had such a hold over our lives for such a long time. The pathway to victory is the pathway of prayer that first focuses on the glory of God, to have a heart in awe of God.