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     God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Ps. 46:1-3

Dear Lord Jesus, this Scripture seems appropriate in light of the phone call I just finished: a mom and dad in tears, shame, and great confusion—devastated to discover their son is gay. They feel like the earth has given way and the mountains have jumped into the ocean, for the world as they know it has just been turned upside down.

Lord Jesus, there’s no safer or more welcoming refuge than you. You give us strength when hard stories and fresh crises sap our energy and buckle our knees. No one is better suited to provide gracious help for troubled hearts than you. I come boldly to your throne of grace.

I pray for my friends in this situation, whose number seems to be multiplying. They love you and they love their child, but they have no clue what this means or what to do next. Please keep them free from stereotypes, bad information, and uninvited helpers.

Unfortunately, like me, these parents were led to believe that same-sex attraction is the most egregious and twisted form of sin. Because of this, their shock and fear makes them want to assign responsibility and find someone to blame, and that’s become one another. Bring your centering peace and powerful grace to bear, Lord Jesus. More than anything else they need you and the grace and wisdom you promise. They’re not the point, you are—and loving their son well is of preeminent importance.

In the next hours and days, calm their hearts and give them kindness beyond their own—your kindness. Understandably, there’s palpable tension and uncertainly in the home right now. I pray for a bridge of compassion and communication. Help them see their son not as a leper, but as their beloved son. Don’t let them objectify him, Jesus. Help them love him as a sinner-saint like they are, not as someone to fix. The gospel, not shame, must prevail.

And I pray for their son, Jesus. Help me know how to best serve and care for him. He’s confused about you now that he’s convinced of his homosexuality. Bring your mercy and grace to bear in powerful ways. Keep him far from those who would try to exploit his vulnerability—especially from those with evil intent.

The effects of the fall play out in our lives in so many ways—all kinds of broken sexuality, the idolatry of greed, and the lust for power, to name a few. Though this young man’s story, sin, and weakness are different than mine, I don’t need you any less than he does. Help me make that clear as we lean into this next season together. I ask for healing and deliverance for both of us. So very Amen I pray, in your gracious and powerful name.

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17 thoughts on “A Prayer for Parents Learning to Love Their Gay Child”

  1. Ben Hein says:

    “Help me know how to best serve and care for him.”

    May we all have such a heart to serve those who are lost, confused and struggling in this way.

  2. Brian says:

    Excellent Article…I think the reason homosexuality is more devistating is because it becomes a trap because it is socially acceptable and now being legitimized by gay marriage push. This is a difficult struggle to overcome because of these issues. But it is no worse than any other sinful struggle.

  3. Melissa A says:

    I really appreciate the gentleness and compassion of this letter, and value its application as I have encountered this issue even in my own family. One thing that threw me a bit, and I am merely looking for clarification, not assuming it’s an incorrect statement – when you say “help them love him as a sinner-saint like they are” – are we speaking of a son who claims to be a Christian and is now confessing that he is gay? I am sincerely not looking to pick apart statements, just seeking clarity because I would assume that one’s approach would depend somewhat on whether this son claims to have a relationship with Christ Jesus.

    Obviously, in either circumstance, compassion and kindness would be a critical part of our dealings, but the specifics of our conversation might vary depending on whether he has claimed to be in Christ or not.

    One thing I do appreciate most in this article is the call to not see his sin as somehow deeper than others. That is a prevailing attitude that many of us grew up amidst, and I thank you for pointing us to consider how broken our own lives would be without Christ.

  4. Shari says:

    Love your response to these broken parents, We have had our share of broken hearts raising our Son. I am sorry to say that we continue living with pain as our Son and his wife claim they are atheist! The hardest thing we are facing now is that they have a precious 15 month old Son! I constantly have to pray for the Lord to help me cope, There are days that are so hard for me! I also realize that if I am constantly living in fear for my Son and his family, I am not trusting in the Creator that I claim as my Savior. Parenting is tough, Even when they are adults! My Son was raised in a Christian home, He can quote the Bible to you and is very respectful regarding our faith in Christ! He even goes as far as to tell us that he is so thankful of our consistent example when he was growing up! It has ripped my heart out, Just knowing all that he knows and turning his back on the God who gave him his very life is hard to accept. We would covet your prayers for our family, We all get along wonderfully and love each other! My husband and I recently moved to the Nashville area, And it was very difficult. I kind of felt like we were the only stable, secure source that they were exposed to, Our move was a company move! I questioned God as to the why of moving us, I still don’t know the exact answer, But I trust Him for everything and know that he knows what is best! I would love to hear from you regarding this, However I don’t really want it all over facebook, As my family are all fb users.

    1. AStev says:

      I’m praying for your family right now.

    2. Carm says:

      Father grant Shari increasing faith to believe You are powerful and good. May the scriptures come alive for her and may Your joyful presence be near her as she believes You. Glorify Yourself through the flow of your mercy and grace to her, her husband and her son and his family.

    3. Chris Neilsen says:

      Thank you for sharing your heart! I feel the same grief over my sons homosexuality that you are experiencing from your son and his wife’s atheism. I no longer carry it personally and have had 5 years to come to the point of learning to love my son despite his sin and to reach out in love to his partner who doesn’t know Christ. I do still ask Sean how he is doing in his walk with Christ and try to encourage him to not stay away from God’s Word as it is the moral compass he will need to find his way back home. God is so big and sees us in our grief and meets with us in such a special way. He will bring our children home and like the prodigal’s father He will have His arms wide open to receive our children. I pray sooner than later but many in the old testament had to wait years for answered prayer so let us persevere until that time! God Bless!

  5. Connie Abbott says:

    It drives home the point that the ultimate goal in raising our kids is not that they ever live to please us but to please God…but we don’t ever have much control over that. At the same time, though it’s not a Bible verse, where there’s life, there’s hope, because a person who has been taught the truth can turn back from sinning; the Christian does this every day in less obvious ways. Though the parents can’t affirm his sin, they can still love and pray for their son, and the Holy Spirit’s specialty is to shine the light of Jesus into the deceived human heart that is in a dark spot. I hope that the Christian world is learning to lay aside their horror of the gay person, which has disabled so many of us from ministering well to those caught in it.

  6. anonymous says:

    I think the title of this article should be changed.

  7. Lori says:

    A few weeks ago, our eldest teenaged son very nervously handed me a handwritten, multi-page letter. As I read the words, I was aware he was watching my expression. In the letter, he told me he was gay, and had been attracted to men as long as he could remember. When I finished the letter, I told him,”Well, Duh!” I told him I loved him, and gave him a huge hug. He was so visibly relieved, and thankful for my reaction.

    I have suspected my son was gay — his interests, mannerisms, etc — from the time he was very very young. I have prayed and fasted that this was not a burden he would have to bear, and for God to remove those proclivities from him. I have raised my children in the light and truth of Jesus Christ. I pray and read scripture with them as a daily activity, and our entire family is active in our church. Our son is a believer, and understands that homosexual behavior is against scripture.He told me he believes God loves him, and he will probably remain single and celibate throughout his life.

    Here is what I told my son in response to his letter:
    1. Your sexual orientation does not define you, and it is NOT the most important thing about you. As a Christian, your identity is in Christ.
    2. Your sexual interests are private. (I asked him if he knew my sexual interests, or his dads? He said Noooo.) Do not feel you must tell everyone your private information, unless you think God is calling you to use it in ministry of some kind, or help another person in some way. Its not necessarily that you are hiding it, as much as it is private, just as my sex life is private.
    3. Everyone has their battlefield. For some it is marriage infidelity, or premarital sex when God has not brought you a partner. This is one of your battlegrounds.
    4. We love you very much, and God loves you even more. Seek to live a life worthy of his calling, and to His glory.

    Not sure if any of this would help your friends deal with this situation, but it helps to know they are not alone in this. Im sure their son is scared too.

    1. Betsy says:

      Lori, this is all such wise counsel. God bless you and your son.

  8. scott says:

    It is not a sin to be gay. We need to watch how we speak.

  9. Pat says:

    Highly recommend a book called OUT OF A FAR COUNTRY by Christopher Yuan and Angela Yuan. Very touching and inspirational memoir written by both son and mother.

    The mother prayed for many years and finally the son turned around from his homosexuality and drug abused lifestyle. God does listen to mother’s prayers!

    I had a chance to listen to his testimony recently. I believe you can get the book from Amazon or other bookstores.

  10. Kristin says:

    The comments are a bit alarming. Would you be willing to clarify what you mean when you prayed, “Help them love him as a sinner-saint like they are, not as someone to fix.” ?
    Thanks so much!

  11. SuzanneT says:

    Thank you for this beautiful, instructive, grace filled prayer.

    Kristin, I believe what is meant is that although born-again and abiding in Christ, we are still sinners who sin. Whatever the matter we have no ground to look down upon another person in their sin, whether or not they are fellow believers. But for God’s grace go we. It seems the parents here are in a state of blaming eachother, and perhaps are under the delusion that they can “fix” their son. I have been there, (thinking I was going to fix my son). The author’s words: “The gospel, not shame, must prevail.” says it all.

    Blessings ~

  12. Nate Collins says:

    Thanks so much for the example of humble and tender compassion. So many of us in the Church who struggle with same-sex attraction often hear more judgment and ridicule than empathy. To Scott’s point, however, it is important to distinguish between same-sex attraction (a particular condition of fallenness, but not actually “sin”), and homosexual behavior (I.e. lust, illicit sex, and other behaviors the Bible explicitly refers to as “sin”). The latter is sin, the former is merely an occasion for temptation. But overall, this is a refreshing reaction, thanks!

  13. Adam says:

    I am a happily married man and a very active and loving father who has struggled with same-sex attraction for over 20 years. My family does NOT know of my struggles. It is between God and myself. I have a perspective on this that many do not know. First of all, I am not attracted to men just the idea of sex with them and the “feeling” of the sex. And how did this happen? Porn. I was “on-line” in the late 80’s and even then, porn was easy to get and the first time I saw two men, it made me curious. I was also friends with closeted gay friends whom I never knew were but they never approached me. Over the years, viewing porn made me even more curious and often I am tempted to try very risky gay sex. It is a struggle and battle and I know it is a lie from satan. It is no worse than any sin but because it can often mix in love and that it “doesn’t hurt anyone”, it becomes accepted by society and in turn, it legitimizes is and thus, makes it harder for Christian’s to deal with. Because of the advent of the World Wide Web and ease of porn access and our sex obsessed culture, homosexuality has become more curious for everyone. Before I was married, I did “experiment” but the reality of it was always far from the fantasy of it. The majority of the men I met or had friendships with were not about monogamy. Even if they had partners, they were always open to swapping partners or group sex. I didn’t meet one guy who wasn’t open to multiple partners. I love my wife and I have never cheated on her, with a woman or man. I’ve struggled with thoughts of sex with men but I’ve never crossed the line. It is hard to live with but God does help with these thoughts and temptations.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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