Hey folks -
Well, Scott's been quiet.
But it's not for lack of something to say.
He was working diligently.
Collecting his thoughts.
Saving his best for the last.
(Or so he says, but I believe he's on to this blogging thing!)
Please women, this one is a biggie.
Grab your guy.
Encourage a good challenge.
Or better yet, just pray for his heart to be conformed into the likeness of Christ!
A.W. Tozer often said “As a man prays, so is he.” As one of the greatest evangelists of the last century, Tozer considered prayer the most sacred occupation of man. Everything thing he did (preaching, teaching, living) flowed from his fervent prayer life. In fact, he was so passionate about practicing the presence of God that some people would open their eyes when he prayed to see if God was next to him.
If ever there was a subject that deserved more than a cursory discussion, it’s prayer. What follows will not (and could not) convey the shear weight of importance that prayer plays in our marriages and families. It is crucial for us to lead spiritually in order to fulfill our covenant role as head of our families, and prayer is central to that leadership.
As husbands and fathers, we must take this seriously. Dismissing prayer is like saying you don’t need to breathe today. It is our lifeline. So if we are not regularly in prayer (alone and with our wives and children), if we are not initiating it and leading our families in it, if there is a faint desire to commune with God and be with Him in prayer, we need to examine our lives and ask why.
I finally got to a point where I had to be honest and admit this was a struggle for me. I deeply desire a strong prayer life and to pursue God with passion, but there are so many obstacles and distractions. John Piper said that Twitter and facebook are proof positive that prayerlessness in our day is not due to a lack of time. I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, it’s due to something much deeper.
There are many obstacles to prayer in our lives including busyness, misplaced priorities, sin, and spiritual warfare. The one obstacle that scares me the most for myself and other fathers is self-reliance. In our society, we have become so self-reliant that we are in danger of failing to believe God and trust in Him. And it shows in our prayer lives.
I look around and see a church culture that is less and less dependent on prayer and the power of God, and more concerned with numbers, and metrics and programs. I see men less consumed with God’s Word and His work in their lives and more concerned with sports, and politics, and social mobility. I see Christians content to settle for what is possible and realistic instead of praying for God to manifest His miraculous and supernatural power through His people. We trust so much in our resources and not in God.
I feel like we’ve forgotten the basics. At this very moment, do you believe that God holds your breath in His hands? That your entire existence hinges upon His incredible mercy and grace? That your life, your children, your family, your job, your home, your health, everything you have (yes even your faith) are miraculous gifts from a loving Creator? Do you believe He is bigger than any problem you’re experiencing right now?
The bottom line is we have strayed. Our lack of trust in God is one of the most obvious reasons (in my mind) we have weak prayer lives. And so the foundations (marriages, families, homes) start to crumble.
In my limited experience, a thriving prayer life begins with humility. In my life, God is the most active when I am the most broken. This is the one whom He esteems: he who is humble, contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:2. If only we would display such humility instead of the arrogance, and pride and puffing up that marks many of our gatherings. A heart felt confession of brokenness and hunger for God would do wonders for our marriages and families and the church. If only we would acknowledge our desperate need of Him and be continually astonished by His grace.
Some people say prayer is deeply personal and private. I consider it deeply intimate. Prayer ushers us into the presence of God and draws us close to others in ways that are unexplainable. I have felt closer to my wife, my children and my friends through prayer than through anything else.
I must confess sometimes I’ve been intimidated by prayer. Not knowing what to say or how to say it. In those moments, I find a quiet stillness before God is the best approach. But prayer doesn’t have to be wordy, or eloquent, or poetic. The objective is not to impress. Prayer should be sincere and heartfelt. The smallest and shortest of prayers are often the most beautiful and grandest. Faith like a child.
For those dads that struggle, I pray you break out of your shell. If you need help, seek out like-minded men. Pray for your family, your children and your marriage. They need your leadership and you need to lead. Even if you’re not comfortable praying with your wife or family, please step out in faith! Grab your family by the hand and lead them to the Father. Trust Him and He will meet you right where you are.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10.