The Path to Personal Freedom
”When you ask [pray], you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”1
The following request for help came from a Daily Encounter reader in Europe. “Dear Mr. Innes, I have a terrible habit that I can’t stop. It is destroying my marriage. I keep having sexual relationships outside of my marriage and don’t know how to stop. All my prayers for deliverance seem to be in vain. Can you please help me?”
Dear Mr. X, “Thank you for being honest about your sexual problem. This is the starting point of recovery from any problem. You also need to realize and admit that any habit that controls your life is an addiction. In other words, you need to admit that you are a sex addict.
Next, also realize that oftentimes our prayers are not answered because we pray the wrong prayer. That is, when we have a problem, we tend to ask God to deliver us from the problem we see, when, in fact, the problem we see and focus on is just the symptom of a deeper problem. Furthermore, when we fail to see the root cause behind the problem, we pray for deliverance from the symptom all the more vigorously.
In other words, Mr. X’s acting out sexually is no doubt the fruit of a deeper root—a root that could have been caused by his never having felt truly loved and accepted by his mother when he was a child. Unconsciously, he may still be looking for this “mother love” in all the wrong ways and places.
No matter what one’s addiction is—either sexually, with alcohol, drugs, or even being a workaholic, there is always a reason behind why we act out in self-destructive ways. Obviously, to resolve the problem or addiction, one needs to face and deal with not merely the outward symptom, but the cause behind the problem or addiction.
I encourage you to pray the following prayer every day until your problem is resolved: “Dear God, I confess that I am a sex addict [or whatever addict]). Please confront me with the truth and reality of why I have this problem, and what is causing me to act out in this self-destructive way. And please lead me to the help I need to overcome this problem. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
P.S. Remember that Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."2 So be assured, as long as you are not free, there is some truth that you are not facing and dealing with.
1. James 4:3 (NIV).
2. John 8:32 (NIV).