Pray for pimps and johns.

I debated whether or not I should post these thoughts today, as I realize it can be an extremely emotionally charged topic for some.

It also might not be something we talk about much, but that’s exactly why I felt I needed to start (or at least re-emphasize) this conversation. Especially in light of our upcoming adventure. I hope you will give me grace for any aspects of the topic I may have overlooked.

Friends, we need to pray for pimps and johns.

We really do. We can talk all day about the factors of sex trafficking–ending demand, recognizing victims, providing restorative healing. All of these factors are so important. Yet when we talk about the role of prayer in anti-trafficking work, we tend to focus exclusively on the victims. We talk about the men who buy and sell them as “the enemy.” I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve talked to someone about the realities of sex trafficking, and they’ve mentioned how tempting it is to want to take “those guys” down with a shotgun.

Yes, there are men in this world doing incredibly inhumane and cruel things to vulnerable women and children. Yes, they deserve justice–including conviction and prison time. Yes, we should do everything we can (legally) to frustrate their efforts to abuse and keep them from re-offending.

But they are not the enemy. Our true enemy is evil itself, the father of all lies.

If anyone reading this has been exploited by a pimp, or suffered at the hands of a john, I can’t even express how sorry I am that those things happened to you. In no way was any of it your fault. I hope you have been able to find help and healing from those traumatic experiences–if not, contact me and I know many people who would love to walk alongside you in that process.

I just hope through this article we are able to remember that simply because we choose to pray for these perpetrators, we are in no way excusing the evil they have done. We are instead choosing to see that the source of that evil begins way beyond them, and therefore the power to end it does too. Our best chance to end their abuse and exploitation is to take our case directly before the Father, who is more passionate about the cause of the vulnerable than we can possibly imagine.

In light of that, here are several key ways we can be praying for them:

  • For true repentance. First and foremost, we should mercifully plead with God to bring these offenders to repentance. The New Testament story of Saul comes to mind whenever I think about this one. He embodied the full spectrum of abusive power–and yet through God’s grace and genuine repentance he went on to become one of the most explosive forces for good the world had ever seen. We should be asking God to do the same for perpetrators, desiring to see them also brought to new life in Christ.
  • If they will not repent, for removal from positions of power. Because God has given us all free will, we know that not all perpetrators will repent. If their hearts are hardened, I believe it is entirely biblical to ask God to remove them from any positions of power, or any further opportunities to exploit–whether through a sudden change in circumstances, tragedy, legal conviction, or even death. The Psalms are full of passionate pleas for God to destroy the authority of evildoers. However, we must be cautious not to make these prayers vengefully, as God can be trusted to bring full justice in his way and his timing.
  • For their deeds to not carry on through future generations. We must continue to pray that boys and girls will not grow up seeing “pimping” as a synonym for “cool,” or think that it’s normal for men to buy sex from women and girls. We need to pray that violent and abusive relationships–especially against women and children–will not perpetuate in a cycle of brokenness.
  • For their victims to find hope and healing. I certainly don’t want to ignore the fact that the acts these offenders have committed caused trauma, shame, and a complex level of pain. Praying for both perpetrators and victims goes hand-in-hand, as their terrible and destructive choices have affected many lives.

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