Stand for Truth Thursday: A Christian Girl's Guide to Prom

Here are ten questions to consider as you head into prom season.

1. Should I go to prom?

There isn't an eleventh commandment stating, "Thou shalt not go to prom!" and there's no New Testament verse stating, "Go to prom, as I went to prom." Since this is an area where God's Word doesn't draw a clear line one way or another, we get to use discernment. That's a fancy word for the process of gaining understanding. It works best when we use God's Word as our guide (Heb. 5:14).

When I am trying to make a similar decision, I run to this verse:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Phil. 4:8).

Can you go to prom and still be true to your faith, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise? I think the answer is yes, but before you pass go, run the decision by your parents. They have the final say.

2. Who should I go to prom with?

There's something about prom that nudges us to let our guard down a bit in the dating department. Maybe it's because we don't want to be dateless, so we convince ourselves prom isn't a real date. But with dinner, dancing, dresses, and tuxes, plus all of the emotions that come with such a big night, I think prom qualifies as a real, high-stakes date. So don't go to prom with someone you wouldn't consider being in a romantic relationship with.

(Note: For more on if you're ready to date, be sure to read Paula's post "How to Know if You're Ready to Date or Court".)

If you're not yet ready to date (or court) or haven't been asked by a guy who is good dating and marriage material, consider going with a group of friends instead. It's true, the night may not have the same romantic vibe you were hoping for, but romantic feelings that can only last one night are a recipe for disaster anyway. (Just ask Cinderella!)

3. What should I wear to prom?

Wear the same thing to prom you'd wear to school, church, or the grocery store! I don't mean that literally. You don't actually have to wear a Sunday morning dress or your soccer uniform to prom, but the same modesty standards that apply normally also apply to prom dress shopping.

Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness-with good works (1 Tim. 2:9–10).

Does this passage mean you can't have a braid in your updo or wear pearl earrings to prom? Not exactly. It's a reminder that nothing you can ever put on and nothing you can ever take off can give you more value than you already have because you are the beloved daughter of the King of kings.

When picking out your prom attire ask, "How can I showcase Christ well?"

Modesty and prom can co-exist.

It's okay to be beautiful; God made you that way after all. But don't lower the bar when it comes to modesty just because it's prom. Modesty and prom can co-exist. If I had prom to do over again, I'd go vintage, maybe even Gone with the Wind style! Make it your mission to prove that you don't have to be immodest to stand out.

4. Can I dance at prom?

The Bible never forbids dancing. In fact, in 2 Samuel 6:12–16, King David "danced before the Lord with all his might." He busted a major move because of his overflowing joy over the Lord's presence.

However, the Bible does give this warning:

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints (Eph. 5:3).

Dance in a way that steers clear of every "hint" of sexual sin. This makes a group date an even better idea. Circle up with a group of friends and have a blast.

5. What if I'm uncomfortable?

Have an exit strategy in place before you head to prom. Talk with your parents and develop a plan in case you find yourself in a questionable situation. Or create a secret signal with a friend to use if either of you needs an out. Because prom is a big deal, sometimes inhibitions get dropped and things can go sideways.

Solidarity and accountability can be great guardrails on this big night.

Make sure you have an escape hatch in place if the vibe makes you uncomfortable or someone you are with makes a poor choice. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is yet another reason to consider going to prom with a group of likeminded friends. Solidarity and accountability can be great guardrails on this big night.

6. What should I do after prom?

The after prom is where things can get very tricky. The best way to avoid the temptation to compromise is to avoid potentially compromising situations. For example, since God has called you to sexual purity (1 Cor. 6:18), don't plan to spend the evening alone with your guy. Steer clear of environments where there will be drinking, and refuse to watch something you wouldn't feel comfortable watching if you were spending the evening at home with your parents.

Failure to plan is planning to fail. Have a post-prom game plan in place. Here are a few ideas:

  • Go glow bowling.
  • Catch a late movie. (Go in your prom clothes. So fun!)
  • Find a twenty-four-hour diner, and get a late-night bite to eat.
  • Ask your parents if you can host a board game night at your house.
  • Rent the pool at your local YMCA, and host a late-night pool party.
  • Talk to your youth pastor about creating a post-prom event at the church for Christians and non-Christians alike.

7. What if my curfew is unfair?

Growing up, my curfew was always much earlier than my friends, even on prom night. To be honest, I hated it, but looking back I can see that my parents' logic that "nothing good happens after midnight" was spot on. (Hi, Mom!)

Prom is an opportunity to keep God's commandment to honor your parents (Ex. 20:12). Feel free to present your post-prom plan to them and respectfully ask them to consider an extension, but ultimately, obey their rules with a happy heart and a grateful attitude.

8. How can I have a pure prom?

Revisit questions 2 and 3. Who you go with and what you wear set the tone in the purity department. But in addition to a modest and fabulous prom dress, go armed with the full armor of God.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:10–17).

You have truth to guard you, Christ's righteousness to protect your heart, the gospel to give you a purpose higher than winning prom queen, faith to shield you from temptation, salvation to guard your mind, and God's Word to help you win any battle that may come your way. You already have everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Pure prom? You got this, with God's gracious help.

Let me encourage you to spend as much time preparing spiritually for prom as you do preparing physically. Make appointments for your hair and nails, but also set aside time to pray and focus on God's Word before the limo arrives.

9. What if I'm not prom queen material?

Moments of high expectation can often lead to deep insecurity. If you can't find the "perfect dress," don't get asked by the "perfect guy," or don't get nominated to compete for prom queen, you may find yourself feeling low. If that happens, remember this:

You are the beloved daughter of the King of kings. You are His treasured possession, no tiara required. Your worth is not tied to this single night.

10. Is prom a "once-in-a-lifetime" experience?

I'm several years post-prom, and while I do remember that night fondly, I also have the benefit of hindsight to show me it wasn't that big of a deal after all. If you want to go to prom, great! Go with God's truth in mind. If prom isn't your scene, that's great, too. I promise, it's not something you will "regret for the rest of your life," and it won't determine the trajectory of your future.

God has much more in store for you than a "perfect prom."

At the end of the day, it's just a dance. It can be a lot of fun, but it won't likely be a defining moment. The story of you is much bigger and more complex that any one single moment. God has much more in store for you than a "perfect prom." In fact, prom queen or not, if you are Christ's follower you will snag that tiara after all.

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (2 Tim. 4:8).

About the Author

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is married to her high school sweetheart, Jason, and together they parent four energetic boys on their small farm in the midwest. She is the author of more than a dozen books and Bible studies, the content manager for Revive Our Hearts, and a host of the Grounded videocast. You can hear her teach on The Deep Well with Erin Davis podcast.