Welcome to Pray-Day Thursday.
Today, February 23rd is Shine a Light on Slavery Day.
Did you know that about twenty-seven million men, women, and children are slaves in the sex industry?! I would encourage you to get involved. A21 is one of many great organizations that help fight this in the name of Christ. And, in keeping with that theme, I want to do something a bit different this week for Pray-Day Thursday. Below you will find a story, altered slightly with the author’s permission, to fit this ministry.
In the suburbs of Chicago, a five-year-old little boy was the apple of his parents’ eye. They delighted in him and enjoyed spending time with him. One afternoon, while his mother was at the grocery, the little boy and his dad were playing ball in the yard. Eventually, the father told the boy it was time to go outside. The boy wanted to stay out longer, and so that dad said he could continue to play, but told the boy he was going inside. The father went in, pulled a chair up to the living room window and began to read the newspaper. Whenever he would glance up, he would wave and smile at his son who was enjoying kicking the ball in the front yard.
The boy didn’t notice the car that had pulled up to the yard, but he stopped playing when a man asked him if his dad was home. When the boy said yes, the man said, “Oh good! I have a surprise for him. Would you mind helping me carry it in?” As the little boy walked towards the stranger’s car, the man threw the boy in the back seat, slammed the door, and drove away.
The father, sitting inside, heard the door slamming and immediately ran after the car. He ran as fast as he could down the street. He could see his son in the back pounding on the glass screaming for his daddy to come and save him. The dad ran until he couldn’t run anymore. The car had gotten away. When the police came, they searched, but no luck.
The abductor changed cars a few times and successfully evaded the police. Once home, he threw the little boy into a closet and locked the door. Three times a day, he brought the boy meals, but the boy refused to eat and continually cried for his daddy. The evil man said, “Your daddy isn’t coming for you. In fact, he was the one who told me to do this. He said he was tired of you and didn’t want you around anymore. Your dad could have rescued you by now if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want you. You are mine now.” At first the boy didn’t believe this about his hero, but eventually, he began to think it must be the truth and began to surrender to the will of his kidnapper.
The little boy was trafficked and from a young age experienced one horrific sexual act after another. To cope, he became addicted to drinking and hard-core drugs. Over a decade later, he eventually escaped his captor, but with the monkey on his back and not knowing any other lifestyle, he began a life of prostitution on the streets. More years passed, and eventually, he found himself on a train in the inner city of Chicago. Feeling numb to the world, the young man missed his stop and continued staring at the window as the train rolled along the tracks. At one point he looked out the window and thought he had been there before, but he couldn’t place when. Feeling moved, he stepped off the train.
His feet began to walk in a particular direction, but he was still confused as to where he was or what he was doing there. He looked at the houses with cars parked neatly in driveways, and he shook his head in disbelief that there could be such a peaceful existence. As he continued down the sidewalk, he noticed people avoiding him and walking to the other side of the street. That is when he realized he didn’t look like everyone else. His clothes were smelly, shabby, and too big for his skinny body. Under his long fingernails was a thick layer of dirt. It had been weeks since he had washed his scraggly, greasy hair. He began asking himself what he was doing in this neighborhood when he saw a house that interrupted his thoughts.
He didn’t know what it was about this house, but something about it felt familiar. Had he been here before? Did a man who once used him live there and tell him about it? Before he could think it through, he found himself knocking on the door.
His dad answered the door.
The boy stared, unaware of who was looking at him. His father, however, knew. Instinctively, he went to hug his son, but the young man pulled back quickly. The dad acted accordingly and apologized. He invited his son inside. The young man was stiff and seemed uncomfortable as he sat on the edge of the couch in the living room. His father, doing everything in how power to give the boy some space, sat in a recliner several feet away.
A lot of time passed and the boy grabbed a cigarette. The dad, not used to have anyone smoking in his house, fumbled around trying to find a lighter. He allowed the boy to smoke and sit without saying anything. Eventually, he asked his son if he could show him something. The two walked upstairs, and the dad opened the door to his childhood room–untouched since his disappearance. He tried to explain that he was his dad, but the boy quickly said he didn’t have a father.
The dad wanted to show him all the newspaper clipping and private investor reports to prove that he was his dad and had been looking for him since the moment he was taken, but he knew his son wasn’t ready for that. So, he closed the door and showed the boy the guest room and offered that he stay a while. Without knowing why the boy accepted. Their relationship didn’t magically merge into a family. It took years to begin to heal the trust issues, but through it all the father never lost his paternal heart for the boy.
I share that today not only to draw your attention to the horrific slavery going on in the world today but to highlight Our Father’s heart for others.
Especially our husbands.
Satan is kidnapping God’s children, locking them in a closet of guilt and shame. He feeds them lies that their Abba Father does not want them. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t always see my husband this way. I don’t pray for him as if he were my kidnapped son. And while my husband is a follower of Christ, that doesn’t mean I should be prepared to figh off any oncoming attacker.
Father God, I pray that You would give me Your heart for my husband. I know he is Your child, and I pray that I will love him in such as way as to make you proud. Please block the lies that Satan is whispering to my husband at this very moment, and help my husband know that nothing will ever separate him from Your love (John 8:44 & Romans 8:38-39). In the areas of his life where my husband is tempted to turn to sin rather than to You, I pray that he will experience Your kindness drawing him to repentance (Romans 2:4). Make him a mouthpiece, Lord, for Your goodness. Help him to bring others back from the Evil One’s captivity. Stir up in my husband Your heart for those around him so that together we will see people the way You do. And lastly, Lord, I do pray today for the end of sexual slavery. Keep my husband and I far from being the consumers in this market, and break the chains of those who are held captive. Whenever they are, may they know You are there with them. I pray for earthly justice for those who are responsible in running the rings, but I pray also for their salvation. May they turn to You and away from their “business.” And through this whole wretched market, I pray that people will know that You are close to the brokenhearted and that You bind up wounds (Psalm 34:18 & 147:3). In the name of Jesus. Amen.
In it to End it!