Friday, March 9, 2018


Then, fast forward to the night of the final Passover with Jesus at the helm, on the way to willingly give His life on the Cross.  He ( Jesus) asks them to pray and stay with Him awhile…..and they promptly fall asleep. Let us read Matthew 26:40-42 a "And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again a second time and prayed."

This is a perfect picture of men, as far back as we can remember, who not just do not pray, but do not see the value and absolute necessity of prayer…..except when they fall sick or need divine intervention on some family matter.  But it is indeed worse than it appears. We (men) will take the great mountaintop experiences with Jesus, like an exciting conference or seminar, but would drop the ball once we get back to the valleys and fields, where the actual real work of the Christian life is lived.

Latest (2017) PEW Research survey shows women
 pray more than men
I have seen places, in sound bible-teaching churches, where prayer is limited to the pastoral 3 minute prayer at the beginning and the prayer requests in some of the Sunday school classes where the teacher is more tuned into the Holy Spirit. The official policies of too many churches are more program than prayer oriented, regardless of the small groups that actually exist in most bible-teaching churches who pray to keep the spiritual fires burning. So, this trend with non-praying men is not happening in a vacuum.

During the first year, when after I was born-again (1988-89),  the passion to know the Lord Who saved me by His Grace so dramatically, so overwhelmed me that I would sit for hours by a freezing lake in the fall and winter and pray for hours. Later on, I sat by the window of my small sparse city apartment looking up into the sky just talking to Him – again for hours.  I never received an audible answer during those many months or when I devoured my little $2 New Testament on the banks of the Huron River on a regular basis, but something permanent and powerful happened within me.

Later on in life, around 2005-2006,  after assuming leadership of our local National Day of Prayer event, it was necessary to tap into fellow prayer warriors of a national prayer movement local chapter, for prayer cover and support. It was only then, more than 17 years into my permanent and close Walk with God, did I realize the lack of prayer in not just churches, but the men’s ministries with which I was closely involved.

Since 2007, I have been the Prayer Committee leader for the local leg of the Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences and staff two prayer rooms – one intercessory with men and women praying all day long for the conference. The other prayer room is open and available to all the men (now over 1000 annually) where two other ministers and myself pray with and counsel men all day long, who constantly flow in and out of the room. Over a decade of praying regularly and counseling with men, it is obvious why men do not pray.

In fact, if you look at the survey above by the Pew Research Center, from less than a year ago (2017) it is obvious that women pray more than men and here is why:
Modern men are more results oriented. When they do not see results immediately from "asking God to ....(fill in the blanks)", men move on.  This is obviously unacceptable to the King of Heaven and thus, the communication will remain broken. I have heard of guys who ask their wives to ask others to pray. This is not the plan of God for men, who call themselves by His Name.
Because men do not get immediate "relief or answers" the two times they prayed before, they do not see the value of prayer. Even worse, they do not comprehend what relationships are, whether it is with their families and most definitely with their Creator. 
Men are not inclined to pray for other people because they think it is not their fight or business or that these people in need are on their own. In essence, as callous as it may sound, they believe that what happened to the person in need of prayer, was either their own fault or God will take care of it..."if He is listening".
Finally, a main reason why men do not pray is - they don't know what to say! This is the easiest one to fix, by the way. It is hard for a man, especially over 40 years old, who has a target on his back, his job, his masculinity etc by a liberal-oriented society, to then sit down in silence, close his eyes and take to Someone he cannot see. Never mind some of these men go to church on Sunday, sing some songs, put checks in the plate, drink coffee and eat donuts, while smiling and glad-handing other people faking it, all around the church complex. Some of these same men would throw themselves on a grenade in combat or drive the biggest Cat heavy machinery on the construction site, but before the Great God of Heaven are speechless.

So we see the problems. They are real and they cause real emotional and spiritual damage. How do we fix this? As men in the business and life of Christ, we must step up to the plate and help as many of our brothers as we can. We all know men's ministry is the hardest thing to do in our churches. I have been involved for over two decades and can attest to the frustration of cooking bacon and eggs for two dozen men at the monthly church breakfast, for years, with my young sons, and have 10 or maybe 12 show up. The others will apologize the next morning at service. This happened year after year, but my sons and I never gave up until they moved on to different churches or walks in life. For me, it has gone on to conducting men's retreats for forty plus men, which is a win in our city. There, we pray and teach, and reach and build trust for over 14 years, so that the growing number of younger men who are coming out of addictions, or broken relationships or hard economic times can let their guard down and have 10 other guys lay hands and pray into their lives. How do you turn the big ship around? We do it one inch at a time. Inch by inch it's a cinch. Yard by yard - it's hard.

The keys to ministry to men, and leading men to pray who are not fellow ministers are the following: 
INTEGRITY. If you and I call ourselves disciples of Christ, we had better act like it when nobody is looking.  If people we are reaching out to, cannot verify these claims over time, through talking with our wives and children, we had better go fishing or something.  It has been said that integrity is what you do when no one is looking. Integrity defines us. Do not mess it up.
CREDIBILITY. If we are not known as a man of prayer and a go-to person for anything, including giving a homeless person a lift to the clinic, no one will believe us. We don't have to write blogs or books or preach on prayer all the time. All we have to do is be there for someone. When we say we are going to pray for someone, DO IT RIGHT THERE. Also, for goodness sake, DO NOT TELL SOMEONE THEY ARE IN YOUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS! Even the unsaved talk like that and never pray! Do it immediately, if the person declines in the middle of a busy sidewalk, while walking away or even driving to the office or grocery store.
CONSISTENCY. When there is a prayer meeting which you feel led to, just show up. Life is all about showing up. We show up for work. We should show up for our kids events. We show up for parades in town and on and on. When we are consistently in bible study or reaching out to invite even one guy to come to your men's group or offer a DVD like War Room the Movie etc., trust me, people notice these things and know to whom they can turn in times of trouble and need. Consistency leads to longevity which leads to credibility and being known as a man of integrity.
TESTIMONY. There is absolutely NOTHING better than a guy hearing the testimony of a miraculous healing from someone they know, or someone in church, all because someone prayed! These testimonies to prayers answered are results which men can wrap their minds around. Here is the perfect opportunity to reach some of these guys and say, hey - watch this movie at home when you have a few minutes, or read this book by Jim Cymbala like FRESH WIND FRESH FIRE (see below for free copy), which is such a fast good read, it will inspire even the most jaded Christian.
THE PSALMS. Most men do not read the Bible either. In every Christian church, across the world, there are more women's bible study groups, than men. To reach fallen men who have adopted passivity in their Christianity, we have to go to the source - the Psalms. The Psalms is the prayer book of the Bible. They were designed to be such, by the Holy Spirit of God and cover every emotion and  every situation known to humankind! Through the ups and downs of David, or the worship of Asaph and other Psalm writers we see the Hand of God leading us into the Paths of all Truth and the way we can talk to God....and be heard by Him. Even Moses wrote a Psalm which lays out the condition of mankind (Psalm 90). If we can teach others to just read part of a Psalm a day....and read it out loud at times in the privacy of their own homes, pretty soon, the Spirit of God will begin changing their hard hearts and opening their minds to a powerful truth. This truth is that God speaks through His Word and by reading His Psalms, and reading out loud sometimes, we are speaking it back to Him, thereby building back a relationship with Him. The sweet fellowship of the Psalms are a balm to the troubled soul who never prays, but which now cannot resist the Healing of Heaven electrifying the spirit within.

There are other ways, but it will take another book on prayer, like my book ACTIVATE, to fully flesh out, with testimonies and more. But if we do the following: live a life of consistent credibility which is full of Godly integrity and full of the Word of God pouring out of our conversations, we cannot help to be rub off on those around us. There are some serious and even understandable reasons why men do not pray. However, we who know better, have the responsibility to not leave it there. Let's get busy and take the bull by the horns. Time is short.
Post a Comment