Prayer: The Source of a Spiritual Warrior’s Strength
By: Randall Mason
If you are like me, you find yourself trying to figure out how to be a godly warrior on most days. Really, although I may be in full-time ministry with men, I often find myself wondering how I will get through one of life’s tight moments. You know, it could be when the second car will not work and it throws the whole family shuttle schedule into chaos. Or maybe it is when you can’t work the kinks out of a project at work. Or it might be when you notice where your marriage is—thinking of some times when there was still a night of romance, before the kids’ schedules took over, and wondering how you can get that part of your marriage back.
Whatever the concern is in your life, you probably spend much time in thought about it. Today we are expected to be warriors in all areas of our lives. Most of us feel like we must overcome any and all of these types of pressures by knocking them out and conquering them with our personal strength. We feel like we should have a plan for it all and in our male strength have it all taken care of. How much pressure does that fallacy place on our shoulders?
Let me create a word picture for you. This warrior of his own personal strength is moving at light speed through life. He is going in so many directions, always trying to be the best at what he is doing, whether it’s father, husband, worker or servant of others through ministry at church. But he never develops the one true area that makes a warrior strong. Christ was a warrior, but why did it seem like He was always cool under fire? Since we as Christian men are to become molded by the Holy Spirit to be more like Christ, what attribute should we make a priority in our warrior life? Hint: It’s the one that we often place dead last—prayer.
Here are three insights about where the warrior can find and maintain his strength.
First, Christ knew God’s voice and looked for it often. He first references it with His Father’s strong support of His upcoming ministry: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). This is what we men warriors want to hear from our own fathers here on earth. How much more should we long for to hear it from our Father God in Heaven? For me, I long for the day that I will stand before God and have Him say these words. For then I will know that the obedience it required for me to be molded into more of Him and less of me will have brought me to the prize of the high calling. I want to seek His voice in my life, because the wisdom that comes through the quiet nudging of the Holy Spirit lets me know how to juggle all that demands my time and energy. These will somehow bring joy beyond my earthly understanding.
Second, it seems very interesting to me that immediately after Christ went on a 40-day fast in the wilderness He was tempted. Much has been written and preached about the temptations of the devil, but the lesson here is really that Jesus fasted for 40 days and night’s right after His Father had given Him a blessing. When have you fasted for increasing your connection to Father God—the maker of the universe who is all knowledge and wisdom? For me, I must confess, the practice of fasting has only happened once in a while. It is an area I can reflect on, recognizing that I need to improve in it and find new solace there.
Third, early in Christ’s ministry He began to teach a large following of people in the Sermon on the Mount. When He taught about prayer, in Matthew 6, He warned the people about praying like the religious hypocrites. In verse 6 He states, “But when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father, who sees what is done in secret and will reward you” We are to draw away from daily activities to enjoy communion with Christ. I think He was telling us that real prayer is earnest prayer; it is done to Him and for Him and isn’t about us. It means being humbled in spirit because of being alone with God’s Son, offering ourselves up to Him. As male warriors, we are completely dependent on knowing what the Father’s will is in our lives. That is so humbling to me. I would not want to offer these utterances to God in front of others, so I want to be behind closed doors.
Fourth, there are many verses that talk about the majesty of God, the splendor of God and His covenant with His people. For me, I like to call this part of my prayer life a time of reflection. Twice each year I try set apart time for reflection. I try to have this time in the spring when nature is really beginning to bud and before the pollens take over my nose. The other time is in the fall, just before it is too cold to be outside with a light fleece. These are inspirational times for me. I usually take my Bible and a notebook and just read His Word for some time, and then reflect and wait for Him to speak to my soul. I am amazed at how moving this time can be. I allow His inspired Word to speak wisdom into my life or reveal some part of who He is that I may not have given serious consideration to. I have so much more to learn about, as He asks me to explore it with Him this next year.
If you thought that by reading this you were going to hear something about male bravado and the fierceness of a warrior, I am sorry for disappointing you. I do know that I, like you, am trying to live as a warrior for God. Let’s use Ephesians 6:10-18 to the fullest extent, remembering that it is through verse 18, which explains the power of prayer, that a warrior finds his real strength.
Randall Mason is the director of Vision4men, a regional men’s ministry in the Michigan area.
From: www.vision4men.org April 2008
“This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”