You know the heavy burden my student is carrying as she wrestles with same-sex attraction and with the temptation to sin against you. And you know the sense of sadness and overwhelm I feel as I attempt to carry this burden with her.
Although I’m surprised by this revelation of her same-sex desire, you are neither surprised nor knocked backward. You know her fully—her desires and temptations, her beautiful strengths along with her most personal struggles. And knowing all these things, you have loved her to the heights. You sent Jesus to live the perfect life neither she nor I ever could, to die for her sin, and to rise again so that she could have fullness of life in fellowship with and submission to you. You alone are her true Burden-Bearer (Isa. 9:7). In Jesus, you have already carried the full freight of her sin and shame to the cross (Isa. 53:4-5) .
Lord I confess that I am tempted to see this dear student—your image bearer—in light only of this specific temptation. Would you guard my heart against hyper-focusing on this one area of sin in her life, and help me instead to prioritize relationship with her? Remind me regularly that you are sanctifying all who belong to you, leading us to our true identities in Christ.
By your Spirit, please help me to embody the grace and truth of the gospel, of your beloved Son who is Grace and Truth in a Person (John 1:14). Show me when to speak truthful words and when to simply listen. Make my countenance and my body language gracious through and through so that this student would feel your tender love for her in my presence. Please open her heart to receive correction from your Word through me in a spirit of love and friendship.
Meanwhile Lord, I pray that you would also guard my student’s heart. Help her to refrain from labeling herself or from identifying as LGBTQ in ways that would violate your word and be damaging to her relationship with you. Instead would you remind her daily of the identity you have given her as a beloved daughter (2 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 1:5). Because of this, neither temptation nor sin nor sexual desire can ever define her. I pray she would walk in this truth, even as the competing narratives she hears each day whisper lies that identity and belonging come through her sexuality.
God, would you be with this student’s parents, preparing their hearts as I encourage her to share her struggle with them? Help them to be unflappable in the face of this difficult disclosure, to affirm their relationship with their daughter no matter what, to ask for time to process if they need it. We know there is “now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), so we pray against the Evil One and his schemes against them. Please help these parents to know your acceptance of them in Christ. Strengthen them to set their hearts to obey you and to walk in your truth in the days to come. Lord, please embolden them to look to you for their courage and strength as they seek to walk in your wisdom and grace.
I pray that you would surround this student with people who love her and love you. Would you form our church and youth ministry into communities in which she would experience the welcome of Jesus (Rom. 15:7)? Please remind her she belongs not because of what she does, but because of what Christ has done for her. Help her fellow students to have compassion. Give them maturity beyond their years to walk with her faithfully even as they are learning the truth of your Word on these matters.
Together, help the adults and teenagers of our church to foster a sense of belonging that is richer, more grace-filled, and more compelling than anything this student has ever experienced—in the LGBTQ community or elsewhere. By your grace, please help this student not to measure her acceptance in the group in terms of whether people validate her sexuality.
Above all, Lord, would you be the Good Shepherd to my dear young friend, just as you have promised. May she follow you because she knows your voice (John 10:4). You have already given all of yourself for her (John 10:11). I pray she would behold your love and goodness in the midst of her struggle. Lord, please convict her of her sin and lead her to repentance by the grace and work of your Holy Spirit. May she remember that she is loved, known, chosen, adopted, forgiven, and included (Eph. 1:3-14) by you alone. May she follow you above her desires—all the days of her life.
In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.