“Power without morality is no longer power.”
- James Baldwin
What will you be doing this Super Bowl Sunday?
I feel almost un-American admitting this, but I have no idea who is playing in the Super Bowl this year. In fact, I had no idea this weekend even was Super Bowl weekend until a few days ago. If I watch the Super Bowl at all this year, it will be for the commercials.
This Sunday, most Americans will gather around the television with family and friends to eat, cheer, laugh, and enjoy this annual sporting tradition. Wardrobe malfunctions excepting, it’s all mostly good clean fun.
Unfortunately, events like the Super Bowl have a seedy underbelly. Wherever the Super Bowl is hosted, the influx of fans brings with it a surge in sexual tourism. In particular, host cities typically see an increase in sex trafficking and child prostitution.
As awareness about human trafficking has risen, attention is primarily directed toward the victims who are caught in the sex trafficking industry. This focus is indeed paramount. However, there is a second front to this battle that also warrants our attention: the johns.
The term “johns” refers to men who purchase sex. While pimps surely need to be reckoned with, johns are the real engine fueling the industry because they create the demand.
In response to this component of the problem, writer Anna Broadway had a powerful idea. As important as it is to advocate for victims of sex trafficking through prayer and action, the johns need our prayer just as much.
For this reason, Anna started a movement called Pray for the Johns Day. Last year it took place on Valentine’s Day but this year she had a better idea. Why not observe Pray for the Johns Day during the Super Bowl, when prostitution and sex trafficking are at increased levels?
I think this is an important movement that we as Christians should get behind. So, as Super Bowl Sunday approaches, I hope you will pray for the johns for two specific reasons:
1. Prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Sex trafficking is one of the great evils of our time, and while it is vital that we destroy the visible systems that perpetuate it, we must also acknowledge the invisible Enemy behind it as well. There is a spiritual component to this battle, which means we must come to battle with spiritual arms.
2. The johns need Jesus too. I opened with the above quote from James Baldwin because it is a helpful reminder. While Christians believe in personal responsibility for sin, we also believe that individuals sin because they are broken and in need of salvation. The men who seek out women for sex are not powerful; they themselves are enslaved. They need God’s grace, God’s love, and God’s transformation. Until they know Jesus, they will continue to be in bondage to lust, loneliness, and consuming darkness.
If you are interested in learning more about this movement, visit the Pray for the Johns website and RSVP that you will be participating. The website also offers suggestions on how you might pray for the johns throughout the day.
Whatever you do on Sunday, I hope you will not be so distracted by the parties, the competition, or the entertaining commercials that you forget about the johns or the women they abuse. They desperately need our prayers, and you can help. Pray for the johns.