I’m currently in a six month eldership process at my local church. This series is taken from questions asked during the process.
You are praying with folks up front after a Sunday Service and get a young man that would like you to pray for him in regards to an addiction to pornography. What would you do and how would you on the spot counsel this man?
I would share with him very briefly, first, of my own struggles with sin. I would seek to encourage him, by God’s grace, of the areas God has given me victory with the idea that he would feel the hope of Jesus to redeem all our lives.
I would then compliment him that he had the courage to come up front and be honest about this sin. The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of sin. The fact he is up here asking for prayer means God cares for him to be free from this sin.
I would, however, make sure I ask him about his belief in Jesus. If he’s trying to get free from pornography without Jesus as his Savior, then I need to tell him that his first priority is to trust Jesus as his Savior.
If he is a believer I would then pray thanking God that every sin of my brother’s is paid for on the cross. I would beg God that He would show my brother how to cling to his Savior and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to show him how to flee from this sin and cling to holy truth. After continuing to pray allowing the Spirit to direct how to best pray for him, I would then strongly encourage him to memorize a few verses. The Lord powerfully used Hebrews 12:11 in my life, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Another verse very helpful for me to internalize and meditate on for times of temptation has been 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
God used those two verses to drag me past many sins I thought would always be a struggle. I have probably recited those verses hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I would let him know the power of God’s Word to moment-by-moment make us more like our Savior.
I might end our conversation right there without trying to accomplish too much in one interaction. If it seems like he is soaking it all up and desiring for the conversation to continue then I’d probably encourage him in two more areas.
First, I’d tell him of the powerful spiritual discipline of fasting. If this sin is wrecking havoc on his conscience and life, then I would instruct him to fast for an extended time. I would encourage him to consider fasting a day for however months or years he has been struggling with this sin. If it’s been controlling him for 5 years, then fast for 5 days. Deny yourself so you can hunger for God to free this from your life.
I’d then ask him if he’s involved in community life at the church. If he isn’t I’d strongly encourage him, and possibly practically help him, to get in a group where he can have other brothers walk alongside him at a more intimate level as he seeks victory in this area of his life by God’s gracious power.
How would you respond?