The Bible has given us clear instructions on how to pray against lust from Matthew 6:13. The instructions came directly from the mouth of Jesus.
Of all the struggles that believers experience, I don’t think there is any that is as hard to crack as lust. Lust is not only a struggle today but has been a struggle ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.
If you struggle with lust, understand that it is a common struggle and that is why Jesus directly addressed it.
Understand Lust before you pray against it
Before you open your mouth to pray against lust, make sure you understand what you are saying. Do not be like the fool who throws empty punches in the air as Apostle Paul puts it.
Every battle is won with a strategy. Spiritual battles are not any different. The battle against lust can only be won with a bulletproof strategy.
Most believers fail to win the battle against lust because they don’t understand lust. Misunderstanding lust will lead you to fight the wrong enemy and there is no way you will ever win with that approach.
When we mention lust, most believers assume it is sexual immorality. The truth is that lust is wider than just sexual immorality.
With this misunderstanding, most believers use tactics used to fight against sexual immorality on lust but they don’t succeed.
In 1st John 2:16, the Bible mentions the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes. From this description, we already realize that lust is not just about what our eyes see. Lust includes every desire that surpasses our love for God.
1st John 2:15 asks us not to love the world or anything in the world. We are told that if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
God wants us to love Him above everything else. There are many earthly possessions that God blesses us with but we should never love them more than God.
When we love earthly possessions and earthly pleasures more than God, that is called lust.
The usual interpretation of lust only accounts for the love of sexual pleasure more than God but there are other pleasures too.
Sex is pleasurable and desirable and it is God who made it that way but loving it more than God turns that pleasure into lust.
Living a life of luxury is desirable but if the desire to live a life of luxury surpasses the desire to know God, then that desire becomes lust.
Lust can take any form and the object of lust can be anything. The Bible calls objects of lust idols.
I hope you now understand what lust entails.
How to Pray against Lust
1. Pray that God keeps you from Lustful Temptations
The sin of lust heavily depends on temptation. There are believers who are in the bondage of lust. These believers are helpless against lust; they lust even when they are not tempted.
Such believers need deliverance from the spirit of lust.
But then there are believers who are not slaves to the spirit of lust but they lust when they are tempted. This type of believers often feel they have overcome lust but then occasionally they fall.
Going for deliverance prayers won’t help this type of believers because they are not slaves. These believers need to pray that God keeps them from lustful temptations.
The only way to be secure from lust is if God sets you free from the spirit of lust and keeps you away from lustful temptations.
Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13 saying we should ask God to ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one’.
You may ask yourself, why doesn’t God keep us from lustful temptations unless we have asked Him? And I’ll tell you the reason…
God doesn’t automatically keep us away from lustful temptations lest we become self-righteous. God wants us to be free from lust but He makes sure we acknowledge that we are powerless against lust unless He helps us.
Some believers try to avoid lust with their own strength and God allows lustful temptations to sweep them until they acknowledge that lust is too powerful for them.
When you acknowledge that lust is too powerful for you, your humility attracts God and He keeps the lustful temptations away from you.
God uses the lustful temptations to remind us that we need Him. Anytime we think of ourselves as strong and able to overcome lust without the help of God, God permits the lustful temptations to sweep us to remind us that we are not as strong as we think.
I hope you now understand why lust is not the type of sin you can say you are “done with”.
2. Pray that God gives you Self-Control
While God often permits lustful temptations to overcome us so that we humble ourselves, He also requires us to have self-control and withstand lustful temptations.
Jesus assured us in Luke 17:1 that temptations are bound to come. There is no believer who is exempted from temptations and that is why God provided the fruit of self-control through the Holy Spirit.
For as long as we live under the sun, we will face temptations and God expects us to overcome them. Without temptations, we would never need the Holy Spirit and the death of Christ on the cross would be in vain.
We sin when we are tempted. The sacrifice of Jesus washes us clean from our sin so that we can continue with the training of the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation.
When we are fully able to overcome temptation, God uses us to minister to others who are still struggling with the temptations we learned to overcome.
Being able to overcome temptation doesn’t mean temptations will stop coming, it only means we will overcome temptations when they come.
This is why you need to pray for self-control if you want to overcome lustful temptations. God can withhold them for a while for you to learn self-control from the Holy Spirit but He will eventually permit them to come and test the self-control you have learned from the Holy Spirit.
This process repeats until when you overcome all lustful temptations like Jesus.
3. Pray that God may teach you Love
Love is the ultimate weapon that destroys lust. We read earlier in 1st John 2:15 that loving the world means we have no love for the Father. Loving the world is lust, loving God is love.
When your love for the Father is perfect, lust will be completely destroyed. But as long as your love for the Father has flaws, lust will be a challenge.
The process of perfecting our love for the Father takes time and that is why the battle against lust also takes time. Expecting to overcome lust after one deliverance prayer is a recipe for disaster.
The right mindset to have is replacing lust with the love of God. The quicker you replace lust with the love of God, the sooner you overcome lust.
In Deuteronomy 7:22, the Bible says: And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.
You are like the Israelites whom God promised the land of Canaan. The Canaanite tribes represent lust. God will help you overcome lust and occupy its place with His love but He will do it little by little lest the beasts which represent pride become too numerous for you.
Therefore, as you pray against lust, remember to ask God to fill the void that lust leaves with His love. That way, you won’t keep falling back into lustful ways.
Sample Prayer against Lust
Heavenly Father, I am weak and sinful. With my strength I cannot resist lustful temptations. I acknowledge that you sent Jesus that He may set me free from my lustful pleasures. Today, I ask you Father that you may set me free from the power of lust through the power of the name of your Son Jesus.
I also pray Father that you keep me from lustful temptations and help me overcome those that I face. Teach me Self-Control through the Holy Spirit that I may be able to stand against lust for the glory of your Holy Name.
Above all, I desire to love you more than the world and anything in the world. Help me treasure you above all things. I look to you my LORD.