By John Crist
1 Tim 2:8
8 “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (KJV)
1 Tim 2:8
8 “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” (NAS)
1 Tim 2:8
8 “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” (NIV)
1 Tim 2:8
8 “So I want men everywhere to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from sin and anger and resentment.” (TLB)
Most Christian men pray like wimps and brag like warriors. The truth is that real warriors are men who pray. Prayer is the most neglected and under-used resource in the kingdom of God. It is a secret weapon that Satan has hidden from men.
Prayer can be a special challenge to men because of their tendency toward nonverbal communication. Prayer requires us to express our need, articulate our pain, and describe our desire. We men avoid vocalizing our desire because we fear disappointment. We say, “Well, I didn’t want it anyway.” Prayer makes us confess desire.
When God made us in His likeness, He planted in our nature a need to be admired. We flourish when we are praised. One of the best-kept secrets about us men is how much we enjoy being complimented. Our Maker loves to be praised, and He is responsive to the praiser. We men shine when we are praised by our wives, parents, bosses, or coaches, and we gravitate to them for more. We love affirmations that suggest we are doing well.
As a man that occasionally has men working for me, I am shocked to discover, as you are also, that many men respond better to praises than to raises or other nonverbal rewards. Every time that I have ever acknowledged a job well done with a personal comment, I was in turn rewarded with an immediate smile and eagerness to receive more praise!
On the other hand, as a minister, I have noticed that nearly every man who comes to me for marital counseling brings up his wife’s words: “Pastor, she nags me; she complains all the time. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to please her.” These complaints are so serious that many times the man is ready to end his marriage in frustration.
Prayer is a struggle for people who need public affirmation. The praisers of men are not excited about prayer warriors. They love great preachers, but they don’t acknowledge great men of prayer. My friend, this should not matter. It is more important to move God than it is to move men! Great prayer only comes forth after we have been weaned from the accolades of others. Deep prayer cannot be done in public, for it concerns private issues that should not be overheard by casual ears.
1 Sam 16:7
7 “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”
Don’t avoid prayer because you think you are not articulate or expressive. God is not moved by vocabulary, enunciation, or articulation. He is only moved by the sincere longings of an open heart that “spills” the burdens of the day across the altar, baring every pain to the power of a God Who can! “Can what?” Can do whatever you have faith enough to believe Him for and whatever you have courage enough to beseech Him for!
The stumbling, bumbling words of a tear-stained heart ring out louder in the spirit realm than the finest resonating voice of an orator whose vocal risings and swellings have been rehearsed for the listening ears of men. When you pray about the real issues of life, your concern is not that others hear but that you have God’s ear!
PRAY WITH PASSION
We desperately need to come to God with the vital issues that plague us! These usually aren’t the things we want played on a loudspeaker. Often they are too private even for our wife or children to hear. Do you hear a grinding noise? It is the sound of rusted rudders being held on course by the fervent prayer of men who refuse to lose their way because they encounter the wind and surge of contrary waves!
Our greatest tragedy is that we left the praying to the women and the intercessors while we went off into “other areas of interest.” Those interests later drained us, and we wonder why we feel so depleted. What did we expect? Since we have abandoned the prayer closet, everything is “going out” and nothing is “coming back.” Prayer builds back what life has depleted. It is neither religious nor rehearsed. True prayers are spontaneous appeals by faith-filled men to a mighty God Who hears and answers.
My faith is not in my mouth’s ability to speak; it is in God’s uncanny ability to hear and understand my every prayer. He already knows what I am trying to say, even as I grope blindly through my inabilities looking for words that seem to evade me. Prayer is a spiritual act, and my communication is oiled by the fact that I know how well He understands.
The hymnist so aptly said, “In season of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief, and oft escaped the tempter’s snare, by thy return, sweet hour of prayer.” My brothers, if we fail to learn the healing art of prayer, we will practice the hideous habit of worry! If we don’t learn to kneel in prayer, we will stand in frustration. Our angry ranting and raving is only a telltale sign of how long it has been since we have had fervent prayer! True prayer is not bossy, domineering, or manipulative. True prayer brings domineering men to a place of submission.
Prayer is a confession that we are still limited men, and with that confession comes the same relief a woman finds in the arms of a strong man. No, this isn’t weakness. It is the wonderful privilege of turning our humanity to a higher authority.
Many men who have tried to continue the farce of rebellious independence from God are about to collapse because their strength has come to the end of the line. Everyone dumps their garbage on them, and they have no place to release it.
Beneath their religious facade, most men are overwhelmed and stressed. Many are secretly depressed and disenchanted. They have become their own god, so they must assume responsibility for the outcome of all issues. Praying men know they are not sovereign, so even as they pray, they are joyously releasing their stresses and confessing confidence in the God Who can!
Prayer is a compliment to God. It is an admission that we believe in His competence to deal with the issues.
GOD IS ABLE
On the natural plane, you never ask someone for something you don’t think he has. If you do ask, it is only because you believe he is able to deliver what you need. God is flattered and blessed when you pray. The heart of your boss is in His hand. The government is in His hand. The surgery you dread is in His hand. He is well able to intervene in everything you or your family will face, but you must learn to ask!
“Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”
You can discuss everything from impotence to emptiness with God. He healed Abraham of impotence when his body was “as good as dead.” God healed him without struggle with a promise that stirred his heart and revived his loins. God’s miracle in Abraham was so powerful that even after he had fathered Isaac, the after-effects stayed with him when Sarah died! Abraham married again and fathered an entirely new family!; His body had weakened, but not his faith. He was old, but he still had vision and hope.
Many men stop living as they age. they lose life and potency, and the gleam goes out of their eyes. Sometimes bitterness creeps into their hearts, or they just become bored and aloof. Nothing is really wrong medically; they just lose interest in life and living. Secretly depressed, they hide their inner death beneath work and business and other distractions. they go through the motions, but the thrill is gone. They can’t remember when it left them, by they have resigned from life. The flame has gone out in their emotions, their sexual drives, and even in their spirits Only the shells of the men remain. The hearts beat and the lungs still breathe, fooling the doctor’s clinical tools.
The book of Proverbs has the accurate diagnosis: “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14). This man’s enthusiasm for life itself has been beaten down by stress, emptiness, frustration, and loneliness.
If you need a revival of your passion, your excitement, and your intensity, then you need to pray for a revival. No, I’m not talking about the kind of “revival” that is just a date on a calendar or a meeting time at the church. You say, “But I can’t talk to God about that!” You can talk to God about everything. In the Bible, even old men kept living, giving, and feeling passion! they did it because they were men of prayer. Prayer increases passion. It is raw expectation that causes the heart to say each day, “Today either something is going to happen to me, or I am going to make it happen!”
67 “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
1 “Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.”
2 “And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”
Six more children were locked up in Abraham’s “dead loins.” God quickened him and brought him back to life. the is just what God wants, fervent men. He wants men who are alive. Yes, we will feel pain and suffer the loss of strength, of youth, and of loved ones, but by God’s grace, we will not lose our life, our vitality.
If you are not dead, then live! “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…” (James 5:16) If the prayer of an impotent man can produce a nation of descendants, then you should know that the prayer you offer in your emptiness will produce a world of abundance and joy!
The spirit of depression and emptiness feeds on fatigue! You can’t assume responsibility for the decisions of other people. The truth is that you are weary from self-enthronement. Any time you spend time worrying about things you can’t change, you will fail to enjoy the gift of life. You have to stop “playing God.” You are all worn out from your do-it-yourself godhead. Turn over your life, your family, and your future to God. Do it in prayer and give God the praise! He is able to lift that yoke from your shoulders and give you power over the enemy who binds you It doesn’t matter what or who the enemy is; only the answer matters. Prayer is better than counseling or therapy. Prayer is life changing!
THE PRIEST OF YOUR HOUSE
Most of the things we seek counseling for are areas in need of prayer. We used to be people of prayer, but now we seek the voice of a counselor instead of the voice of “the Counselor.” We have returned to Egypt. We want counselor-priests to hear God for us because we don’t think we can hear His voice ourselves. We must know Him for ourselves! We need men who will pray!
You are the New Covenant priest of your home. (I didn’t say, boss, I said priest.) You need to teach your children about their father’s God. they will learn when they see you bow your knees to Him. Your greatest message to your son is the one he sees, not the one he hears. Noah’s prayer life as a father saved his entire family when God warned him about the Great Flood.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
Do you live close enough to God to hear His warning of pending danger? Are you close enough to your family for them to have confidence in what God has spoken to you? You can’t make people believe in you. Respect is not commanded or inherited, it must be earned. You can earn respect by becoming a man of prayer. You can literally change the direction of your whole family, without argument or discussion, simply through old-fashioned prayer!
Your family needs to be sheltered under the covering of your fatherly prayer life. No wonder the disciple of the Jesus cried out, “Lord, teach us to pray!” The man didn’t ask the Lord to teach them “how” to pray; he wanted to learn “to” pray. The “why” of prayer and the urgency of prayer are more important than the mechanics.
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
We are emotionally overwhelmed and spiritually depleted because we have not learned the power of prayer. lack of prayer has left us carnal and worldly, and we blindly make decisions in business, ministry, and marriage without guidance and revelation. We can never prepare an ark in time without a warning from God. The rain is pelting us because we have not sought the direction of the Lord. Mere human weakness should never stop us from praying. In fact, it makes us pray harder when we make a manly commitment to stop running from God and start running to God!
Our epidemic lack of prayer has caused a rise in stress, hypertension, and affliction. We stubbornly insist on bearing our crosses alone! Why do angry husbands take out their wrath on their innocent families? If we will humble ourselves and pray, God has promised to heal the very things we are raging about! Anger and wrath do not heal anything or anyone. Man of God, I dare you to kneel down and pray! Don’t ask God to fix them; ask Him to fix you, and He will heal the land.
2 Chr 7:14-16
14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
15 “Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
16 “For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”
God promised to heal the land as a result of prayer. He promised to heal the land, the situations, and the things that pertain to the man who prays. In this passage, He specifically answered Solomon’s concerns about all the things that were beyond his power and authority as king. God made it clear that nothing is beyond His divine power and authority!
PURSUE GOD IN PRAYER
2 Chr 7:17-18
17 “And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;”
18 “Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.”
God taught Solomon about the value of being a man of prayer at the same time He spoke to him about morality and character.
Would God like to speak to you about the way you live? Is it possible that God wants to release another level of blessing to you, but He cannot because of your prayerless walk with Him? You may struggle more with procrastination and “busyness” than with rank sin. Are you so overwhelmed in pursuing things that you fail to pursue God? Perhaps you are so problem-conscious and self-conscious that you fail to be God- conscious. Have you allowed the reality of God’s ever-present glory to manifest in your life? Do you live as though He doesn’t exist? God forbid!
Character is one of the greatest assets a man can have to “accessorize” his prayer life. His godly holiness creates a barrier that hell cannot hurdle. A man’s holiness honors his commitment to God. It is a form of worship and an expression of preference. It is a lifestyle that openly demonstrates a “living sacrifice” to God. Anything less amounts to empty words and miserable failure.
Do you remember the prophet Samuel’s’ solemn warning to the disobedient and deceptive King Saul? Saul failed to destroy what God said to destroy. Instead, he told Samuel that he was “saving” the sheep and oxen so he could offer them to God as a sacrifice. Samuel, being a wise man of prayer, told Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams!” (I Samuel 15:22)
My friend, obedience is the highest form of praise to God! You can dance and shout, sing and raise your hands all day every day, but you have no real offering for God until you learn to conquer your flesh and obey Him! the greatest offering you can bring God as a praying man is your muffled passions that have been burned on the altar of sacrifice. god honors the man who esteems Him more important than his own selfish human need!
1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
It feels good to live above reproach When I fail, I feel miserable and ashamed. How about you? I have failed miserably many times. But along the way, I learned how to make holiness my objective. Some men have ceased to aim for holiness. they have obtained “written permission slips” for themselves; excuses to be weak, visas to fail, and a whole list of “reasons” to justify disappointing themselves and their God. The truth is that many have become weary in the fight for righteousness. It is a long, ongoing fight, but it can be won!
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
I confess to you that I am made of clay that has been hardened, misshapen, and so flawed it should have been thrown away. But God, Who is rich in mercy, recycled what everyone else would have discarded! God will reach you and me how to live above our past, our fears, and our incapacity’s if we will confess our faults and pray for one another!
Has your masculinity been scarred and your confidence wounded by the painful circumstances you’ve just come through? Are you still feeling pain? Have you confessed your faults, or are you still confessing your opponent’s? Whoever was at fault in the problem, you can never be healed confessing the faults of others! Confess your faults, and God will heal you. The enemy knows that the most effective prayers come from the man who is fervent and honest!
One of the first things we men need to recover from the devil’s thieving grip is our position in our homes. God wants us to step back into position in our families to perform three important biblical functions. Only prayer can help us develop true strength in these areas:
1. We are to guide.
2. We are to cover or gird.
3. We are to guard.
WE ARE TO GUIDE
We should be men of vision who have a God-ordained agenda! Women often take the dominant role in marriages because their husbands do not present the family with a God-ordained agenda. Men have been in “neutral” for so long that women have filled the leadership void. Now they run the whole house. Tragically, this has made men even more insecure and women, even more, stressed, depressed, and embittered. We will all be happier if the men of God will pay attention to Habakkuk the prophet:
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.”
2 “And the Lord said to me, “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.”
3 “But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!”
True masculine guidance under God’s authority always respects the often keen insight of feminine perception. To be the “head of the house” does not mean to be domineering and authoritarian. It simply means that men are responsible for setting progressive agendas and being firm enough to hold their families to the track. First, godly men must be prayerful enough to hear from God. then they must clearly communicate the vision. Write the vision and make it plain!
Once you know you have heard from God, then you must be strong enough to stand by the plan. Abraham experienced struggle, but he continued toward the vision. He and Sarah made mistakes, but they didn’t deviate from the goal. Sarah is recognized for giving birth to Isaac, but Abraham is remembered for moving the family away from the known toward an unknown land of promise by faith.
You and I need to move our families forward. I can’t allow stagnancy because I have been conditioned to expect progress. I believe that because I am in the house, the house should be affected. God is progressive, and He is always moving, so you and I should expect perpetual progression in our lives and homes.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
And the Lord God said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs.”
Helpers are only supplied to productive people. What can a helper do if the one being helped has no plan or activity? Women have literally helped build churches, run offices, manage businesses, and much more. They are anointed to help. They have been abused because it is their nature to assist. Tragedies occur when the men that women were designed to assist haven’t fulfilled their function as guides and visionaries in the homes.
Guidance includes setting standards for children and enforcing those guidelines. My wife may help, but I must set the standards. Guidance also includes being a counselor and a friend. I am the shoulder they cry on when things are tough. I am my wife’s resting post and my children’s compass. If I do not affect my family in a positive way, then my presence in the home is a disgrace to God!
We all want to be appreciated, but some men who hear this are married to thankless spouses and rebellious children. You may need massive renovation and repair, but you won’t help the problem in your home by getting out of place in bitterness. Get on your knees if you want to see change in your home and feel joy in your heart!
WE ARE TO COVER OR GIRD
When Ruth came to the bed of Boaz, he covered her with the skirts of his robe as a sign that he assumed responsibility for her well-being. It was the act of a guardian. He was promising Ruth provision and redemption. When Boaz covered Ruth, she must have felt warm and safe. She knew that he was a hard-working, compassionate, and successful man who was well able to cover her and care for her.
Why would you come into a pastor’s office with an intended bride and not be able to cover her? It will be your responsibility to clothe her and provide for her and any children you may have together. She may “help” you, but it is still your responsibility to provide. Be sure you have a job before you set a date for the wedding! Even if the job you find is substandard, it is important that you fight with all your might to maintain your role as the “girder” or provider in the family.
It is a tribute to me when my wife looks good and my children are dressed well. It announces to everyone, “This woman is covered. She lacks nothing. There is someone in her life who loves her, cares for her, and girds her!” I want to set a standard of excellence that is so high I won’t be afraid for my daughter to marry “someone like their father.” No matter what condition that woman is in when you meet her, if she is yours, you should make it better. Your presence should affect her for good.
8 “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.”
9 “Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.”
10 “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.”
11 “I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck.”
12 “And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.”
13 “Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.”
14 “And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD.”
If you want to know how to treat your wife, then take a lesson from God’s Book. god describes how He treated His “wife,” Israel. It is not wrong, but right to be good to your wife. Other men have polluted us. they have made us think we were wrong to love our wives. Giving is a statement about the giver of the gift.
“Girding” goes far beyond the provision of clothing. We should “gird” our families with all legitimate life needs. Girding means covering their needs, whatever those needs may be. It means we must cover our family’s future needs as well as the present. I know it is a huge job, but don’t run from it. Do it to the best of your ability. Aspire to accomplish it through God!
Many of our children never completed their childhood because they were rushed to adulthood prematurely. They didn’t have the “safe feeling” that comes only from a father’s secure covering. They developed a hard-shell approach to life just to survive. The power of a praying father can protect his children and family from facing the chilling and destructive winds of life without protection and provision.
It is a challenge to attempt to be everyone’s hero. Turn the work over to God and make yourself available to Him! He is your unlimited Source for impossible tasks. Your extremity is God’s opportunity. But God won’t begin to work for you until you have exhausted your own resources. Get started. God will give you miracle after miracle if you are a praying man with a goal, an agenda, and faith in His name!
You and I are called to be effectual. We may not be able to change everything, but we should certainly affect it. I wouldn’t want to be on a job I didn’t affect. I wouldn’t want to belong to a church that couldn’t sense a change after I joined it. I am powerful enough to effect anything I am a part of. Aren’t you? Of course you are. When you get to be a part of the Church, both its income and its influence should be affected!
WE ARE TO GUARD
As a father, you are the defender who must personally stop every predator who tries to attack your home. Whether the attacker is spirit, man, or beast, to gain entrance it must face the awesome power and authority of the man of God at the gate. There are no guarantees that an adversary will not come. Sometimes, despite all that we do, challenging situations still arise but it is foolish not to take every precaution to make it as difficult as possible for a thief to break in.
Many men are ready to defend their family from physical assailants, but few men are prepared to defend their family against spiritual attacks. Although they have fought off thieves and criminals, they are still plagued by inner guilt, private perversion, and moral problems. They are poorly equipped to build defenses against depression, suicide, child abuse, or other spirits that may target their home. We can’t kill these things with guns, but we can stop them cold with prayer!
The devil hates to see prayer break out among men because he knows we guard our homes through intercession. We stand in the position of impregnable authority in our home when we cover our wives and children with prayer!
Man of God, you and I are not helpless! Even when we war against spiritual forces in high places, we come to the battle with unstoppable force and unbeatable weapons.
Stand guard over your loved ones with prayer. Let your children see you ministering through prayer. Prayer is a mighty tool to protect those you love. When you pray, God often gives direction and instruction to help you safeguard your family from attack. He did it for Noah and for Joseph and Mary, and He will do it for you.
There is a difference between a good idea and a “God idea.” The “God idea” is conceived and nurtured in the womb of prayer. It is not a venture or an attempt. Its birth comes by simply acting out the plan God gives you through prayer.
Once you know you have a “God idea,” refuse to allow anyone to intimidate you with earthly wisdom. when you have received God’s counsel on an issue, that settles it. don’t let the plans of the Lord be contaminated by well-wishers who may not have the mind of the Lord for that particular situation. Don’t be confused by the manipulation of others. Some men are so indecisive that they are difficult to follow. Men who never make definite decisions allow the enemy to shift God’s agenda right out of their lives!
5 “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.”
6 “But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind;”
7 “and every decision you then make will be uncertain, as you turn first this way and then that. If you don’t ask with faith, don’t expect the Lord to give you any solid answer.”
A godly man guards his plans, his wisdom, and his family from spiritual attack. He also guards the Word of God and the godly traditions he has passed down to his family. Train your children early to understand how to walk with your God. Teach them that you serve God, not some force of energy. You don’t merely “believe in some higher power” because your perception may be off-centered. Stand guard over spiritual truth! Teach your children the importance of faith. “Faith in faith” is a cheap disguise for humanism, which is man worshipping his own will. Your faith is not “disconnected energy looking for some object to attach itself to and alter.” Your faith is in God, and He has a name! He is reality!
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
A man of God tends to have strong powers of persuasion, even a shy, stammering man like Moses. People will sometimes follow what you teach simply because you teach it.
Make sure your message is solid and right. Many have neutralized their witness for God by saying, “Whatever you want to believe, it doesn’t matter.” How ridiculous! Give every man and woman, every boy and girl, a clear understanding of truth. You cannot make them believe, but you can make sure you clearly understand the faith yourself, and that you clearly communicate it to others.
A praying man collects a rich heritage. It is the accumulation of all the things he has learned about God. The special things a praying father does for his family ought to be passed through the curtain into the next generation as part of a godly inheritance! This kind of wisdom puts God in the very roots of a child’s being. He will not be easily shaken.
Do you have a spiritual heritage? Are there any miracles in your life? Are there any things you know God did for you? Guard this heritage of God’s faithfulness and preserve it by passing it on to your sons. It may save them from needless mistakes and sorrow. They will know what you know without having to suffer what you suffered!
21 “And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?”
22 “Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.”
23 “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:”
24 “That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.”
Finally, my brother, guard your heart. The enemy wants to embitter and corrupt you. Guard your heart against contamination by lust and loneliness, bigotry and arrogance, and everything in between. Your enemies may even hide in good deeds done for evil motives. Only you can mount this guard because no other man can discern your motives and intentions.
If Samson had guarded his heart, Delilah wouldn’t have weakened him. Had Samson guarded his heart with the breastplate of righteousness that Paul talked about, he would have continued to be productive in Israel. But in the heat of his passion and the weariness of his life, Samson “told her all his heart” (Judges 16:17). What a tragedy! Samson’s weakness caused him to pollute his heart with lust and loneliness, and he gave it to someone other than God.
There are some things you give to no one but God!
Many men have given their hearts to people, to careers, and to ideals (not a god idea). They were shocked when these persons or things betrayed their heartfelt investment. Always reserve the deepest and innermost portion of your heart and trust for God. To go beyond borders on idolatry, will produce a pagan’s reward of failure.
God wants your heart for Himself. It was the basis of your original union with Him. God didn’t appeal to your intellect; He asked for faith. The enemy despises your heart because it is with your heart that you believe unto righteousness.
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Divine peace is one of the greatest security systems you can use to guard your heart. This peace is born out of prayer. It causes you to trust what you cannot trace. It leads you to rely on the character of God. A character cannot be proven; it must be believed. Nothing you read, or no one you hear, will replace the personal experience that evolves from prayer and praise, and from time spent learning to know the god your heart has believed. There is a realm of faith that supersedes believing, and that is the realm of knowing.
2 Tim 1:12
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
You believe with your heart, and the process begins. Finally, your faith graduates through life’s experience into a confidence called knowing. Satan wants to stop the process because he knows that the people who know their God will be strong and do exploits! Guard your heart because there may be a Samson in you that the enemy wants to destroy!
When you lose your peace and become anxious and worried, you may make radical decisions that open up the door for demonic attack and turmoil! This allows the enemy to suggest threats of impending danger and leave you terrified and shaken, causing you to lose the guard that would preserve you in a storm. Don’t give up the peace of God! Peace empowers you to go through a test without the test going through you! You may lose things, but if you keep your peace, you can regain them again. If you are going to be a praying man, don’t give up the peace.
6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The word “keep” is better translated as “guard.” God’s peace will guard your heart and mind. It will cause you to pick out what thoughts you will entertain. Samson entertained Delilah, and she infiltrated his heart and took his secrets. Avoid entertaining thoughts that will destroy your peace. Whenever I catch myself rehearsing problems over and over, I know I am entertaining those problems. They will “cut my hair of anointing” if I don’t abort them! How can a thought be “aborted”?
8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
9 “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
If life has dealt you some tough cards, don’t give up. You may be down, but bless God, you are not out. Strengthen the things that remain and go on. You will never survive the challenges of life if you make the decisions without consultation. God wants to teach you the significance and power of daily communion with Him.
You are in the ring with a formidable opponent who wants to take you out right now! Your enemy knows that God has predestined you, through your obedience to His plan, for greatness. He would love to destroy you with a single blow. But he doesn’t have the power to take out a man who really prays.
Make a commitment to stand in God’s strength, regardless of the challenges or questions life brings, and regardless of how hard you are hit. You may feel the sting of the devil’s blows, and you may even wince in pain, but give him a clear message with fire in your eyes. There will be no towel-throwing in this fight! I now have a revelation of who I am. I, among other things am not a quitter! I will not, by the grace of God, give up! I will not shrink from my duty! I am a God-called man, and I will be no less!
That snake isn’t fighting a limp-wristed, emasculated coward of a man who has no stamina. You’ve been to hell’s door and back again for yourself, for your family, and maybe even for lost souls! You have been created and trained in the likeness and image of his worst nightmare! You are a resurrected man! You have been renewed in your faith, and you are firm in your conviction. Tell the enemy, “I am a man of prayer. I will be knocked no lower than my knees!”