God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
1 Thessalonians 4:7
But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
God tells our daughters to wait for sex until marriage because he loves them! But how do we persuade kids that he’s not just trying to keep something amazing out of their hands? The culture around us portrays sex as a natural part of love. Movies, TV shows, and popular music assume sex is part of every dating relationship. The attitude is that it’s just another way to have fun, everyone’s doing it, and it’s no big deal. Our society has stopped taking sex seriously. By offering the freedom to share intimacy with anyone and everyone, we’ve lost the awareness that through sex “the two will become one flesh” (1 Corinthians 6:16).
But when you see all the ways casual sex has affected our society, individuals, and even ourselves, you can see why God set such a high standard for his children. Young people suffer high rates of diseases, teen pregnancies, abortions, and emotional struggles because they don’t understand the consequences of their actions.
Addiction to pornography by both men and women is at an all-time high and continues to grow, permanently distorting the beauty of intimacy in marriage. A child’s first exposure to pornography is usually in elementary school, and 90 percent of kids have viewed it online by graduation. Countless adults are using porn on a daily basis. I wonder how many parents aren’t talking to their kids about purity because after their girls go to bed at night they’re visiting sites that damage their own sexual integrity.
Many of us have compromised our sexual purity in the past in ways we’re not proud of. Parents can feel disqualified to hold their kids to God’s standard since they failed in that area themselves as young people. We’re afraid of the hypocrisy of asking our children to live out values we didn’t hold to ourselves. It’s important to remember that in Christ, we are new creations. The person you are today does know the truth and seeks to live by it. Don’t let the enemy keep you from challenging your daughter in this area because of what the Lord has already forgiven and removed “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).
I don’t think it’s wise to air our dirty laundry to our kids, but it can help them to know that everyone wrestles with sexual sin and temptation at some point. They’ll be blessed by parents who are compassionate about what they’re going through. The Lord even promises to identify with the struggle. He says, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15–16). Because of Christ our daughters don’t have to go through it alone.
When it comes to praying for our daughters, sometimes it’s hard to know what to say. We could pray “Dear God, please kill any young man who tries to touch my daughter,” yet that’s probably not the approach we should take! Instead we can ask that she stays so secure in the love of God and her family that she doesn’t need the affection of another guy to find her worth. And that she makes mindful choices along the way, not giving ground in small areas that will lead to giving up everything in the end. That she surrounds herself with friends and mentors who follow God, giving accountability when she’s stumbling. We can pray for wisdom as parents to set boundaries around her social activities and media exposure that could influence her attitudes about sexuality. And we can pray that she trusts the Lord for her future—he intends for her to have a beautiful, loving relationship with a man of God who will cherish her mind, body, and soul.
When we see so many kids falling away from the values they were raised with, we can wonder if praying for our daughters really does any good. We can think, “Maybe kids are just going to do what kids are going to do.” Don’t give up hope that your influence and prayers make a difference. God reassures us in his Word that “this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14–15). Ask God to develop your trust in him as you place your daughter in his hands.
For parents who are grieving because their daughter has already lost her innocence in some way, take heart. God is in the business of making us new. He offers forgiveness, restoration, and a new beginning. Ask for his help in working through your anger and disappointment. Share Scriptures with your daughter about God’s grace, such as 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What an incredible promise to hold on to!
Our Father cherishes our daughters in every way, just as we do. In him we can find hope for our daughters’ futures. In God they can find all the strength they need to follow him in every area of their lives. Let’s never give up in encouraging our daughters and covering them in prayer.
*This post is an excerpt from “A Dad’s Prayers for His Daughter” by Rob and Joanna Teigen. Click below for more information and to purchase your copy.