More than 40 years ago, in a small store in northern Minnesota, a blond-haired, blue-eyed little girl stood mesmerized by trinkets in one aisle as her mother shopped in the adjacent one. Unexpectedly, a woman with a small boy told the little girl that she needed to go with them. The girl balked quietly, but she was not accustomed to opposing adults, even strangers.
From the back seat of the stranger's car, the little girl wondered how her mother would find her. By God's grace, within moments the girl's mother hurried to the parking lot and noticed her precious child in the car right next to her own. The mother jerked the door open, freed the little girl, and welcomed her back into her arms—thwarting the enemy's plans.
That little girl was me—and God did something in my life that day. Through my near abduction and other experiences, God gave me a passion for those who are taken, lured or even given away and sold for sex.
As prayer leaders, we need to understand the reality of human trafficking—and how we can pray.
Earlier this year, Minnesota hosted the Super Bowl. With any large event such as this, we can expect an increase in lewd behavior that includes purchasing women and children for sex. These hidden evils escape notice because often the transactions occur via the internet. In Minnesota, more than 200 such ads were posted daily in the online marketplace. The profile of a "buyer" is a white, married male, age 30–50, who has disposable income and, usually, a history of pornography.
What can the church do about all this? We offer the only true hope and healing. Jesus extends His hand to all those who are broken, lost and living apart from Him. This includes the men who are the sellers and buyers of sex as well as the abuse victims.
Each person is made in God's image and is valued by Him. His Word reminds us of our true enemy. His Word also reminds us that our prayers change things. As prayer leaders, we need to engage our congregations in praying about sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Here are some ways to take action through prayer:
1. Pray that the church:
—will be willing and prepared to engage in healthy and helpful conversations about sexual exploitation, pornography and abuse (Rom. 8:1, 5).
—will remember the gift of grace and offer prayer support and biblical truth (Eph. 2:1–9).
—will be unified and viewed as a valuable and necessary resource in this battle (John 17:23).
2. Pray that traffickers and buyers:
—will find their transactions interrupted and their wicked plans frustrated (Ps. 9:16, 10:15, 146:9).
—will see the reality of what they are doing and seek help (Phil. 2:3–4, 1 Cor. 6:18–20).
3. Pray that the sold and abused:
—will be found and will receive the offered help despite fear, threats and deception (Ps. 72:12–14, Matt. 10:28).
—will experience restored minds, bodies, and lives through Christ (Zech. 9:11–12, Rom. 12:2).
—will follow through on treatment plans and learn to live in a new, healthy, and productive way (Eph. 4:22–24).
—will desire Christ alone and allow Him to fill their need for belonging, acceptance, joy, hope and peace (Rom. 8:15; 15:13).
4. Pray that law enforcement and outreach workers:
—will have a shield of physical and spiritual protection as they hear about and see the horrible violations done to the victims (Ps. 5:11-12).
—will be strengthened in Christ for the battle (Phil. 4:13).
In addition, pray that God will bring confusion into the enemy's camp so that his schemes are unorganized and ineffective (Deut. 7:23, Ps. 71:24).
We desire all involved to come to repentance, to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and to find healing and redemption in Him (2 Peter 3:9, Rom. 10:9-10).
Those who are broken in body and spirit cannot be repaired without our God who heals, restores and provides true hope for both now and eternity. What the enemy means for evil—even the horror of sex trafficking—God can turn around for His good purposes (see Gen. 50:20).
If you suspect someone is a victim or perpetrator of human trafficking, call 911 or the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 888-373-7888.
Valerie Beck is on staff at Trinity Church in Lakeville, Minnesota, and oversees Outreach, Justice Ministries and Prayer. This prayer guide is taken from Prayer Connectmagazine, a quarterly prayer publication that regularly has prayer guides and prayer helps.
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