A Prayer for Prostitutes, and Against the Sex Trade

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I have been given the honor of using my voice to speak and pray on behalf of human trafficking survivors and those who support their recovery. Since coming to Nashville, Patti and I have been terribly disheartened to discover that per capita, the sex trade is pervasive in Tennessee…not just in run-down and forsaken back alleys, but also in the alleys of grocery stores and restaurants frequented by us, our friends, our neighbors, and the members of our church. As nauseating as this is, I am glad to know that justice-warriors in our city and church are motivated, and that we at Christ Presbyterian get to be in partnership with them.

I am sharing a written prayer here, to raise awareness and also with the hope that you will join in this plea to the God of comfort and justice. I hope that you will also consider becoming involved, in whatever way you are able, to press against this nauseating, oppressive assault on the image of God.


Lord, no one knows suffering, oppression, and abuse like you do. As we come together on such a weighty subject as human slavery and trafficking, we pause to remember that you were sold for money by a scoundrel, so that other scoundrels could have their way with you. You were made a slave…kidnapped, exploited and discarded, though you had done no wrong. Your innocence was violated as you were led to a dark back alley. You were stripped naked and abused—pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. You sympathize with human suffering. And in time, you are committed to end it…to renew the world until there is no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. In the meantime, Father, you give solidarity to victims, and support to those who protect and defend them. We do not know what we would do if you were not a defender of the weak, a lover of justice, and full of grace and compassion toward those who hurt.

It is because you love justice and are full of compassion that certain things anger you, Father, just like they anger us. You get angry when vulnerable people, created in your image, are threatened, exploited, degraded, and used. The young female victims in whose honor and for whose protection and rescue we gather today, are most certainly among these people.

We are grieved and sickened by the way that shame, fear, manipulation, exploitation, injustice, and abuse destroy the lives and crush the spirits of girls around the world and also girls in our own state, municipality, and neighborhoods. We are comforted to know that you are sickened too—and that you, Lord, hold the power and will to change things. And so, Father, we ask, please…

Put an end to this wicked and ridiculous industry.

Bring justice. Crush evil under your feet.

Save the girls who are trafficked and exploited. Give them a chance to be physically, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally whole.

Protect all children, youth and adults who are the targets of abusers and human traffickers. Guard their lives and hold their hearts.

For the traffickers, for those who facilitate trafficking, and for those who buy their illicit services…frustrate their efforts. Bring them down and take them out. Bring them to justice. Change their hearts so they will forsake their ways.

And for those like ourselves who have the power to help, because it is often through people that you choose to bring about change—faith communities, potential donors of money and wisdom and time—please stir our consciences, enflame our hearts, call us to action. Show us what it means to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with you. Show us what it means to respond compassionately and decisively on behalf of those who need help and rescue. Show us what it means to give love away, just as we have ourselves received love from Jesus, the One who was exploited and handled and sold to his oppressors for thirty pieces of silver so that we could be saved from everything that’s wrong with us, and also from everything that’s wrong with the world—Jesus, by whose stripes we are healed—it is in his name that we pray.

Amen.


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