Mike Seaver continues his series of posts (I, II, III and IV) on Intentional Manhood. They originally appeared last year on Mike's blog Role Calling. Mike serves on the pastoral staff of CrossWay Community Church of Charlotte, North Carolina. Mike and his wife Kristin have been married since 2000. They have three daughters.
Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If this is the only way I pray, then shallow is my every day.
We are all busy, but are we too busy to speak with the Creator of our very being and the One who allows each breath that we take. Many men think that prayer is an optional part of the Christian life, but rather, it is the source of the Christian life. Communion with God is primary for a man to lead his wife and children well and to walk humbly with his God.
I recommend men praying in a devotional time in the morning. This starts the day off with a focus on God rather than on self. We can bring our thoughts and concerns before him, but we can also have our perspective on life change as we focus on Christ's substitutionary death on our behalf. My prayers and my review of the Gospel through my prayers help me fight for joy in the Lord each morning. It is a way to "speak the gospel to yourself" instead of listening to yourself (borrowed from Jerry Bridges).
Our prayer life is not only to be by ourselves. Praying with your spouse can be a wonderful window in hearing your wife's conversation with God. My wife and I are still growing in prioritizing this, but as we have grown in this area, it has been a joy to cast our burdens before Him and also hear what her primary concerns are in life. I have learned so much about the priority and purpose of prayer from a good friend, Philip, who is from India. Apparently, the Indian Christians take prayer to a whole new level and it also takes marriage to a whole new level. There is an added intimacy with God and with each other when couples pray together.
Lastly, we should pray with our children. The way we can teach our children to pray is by allowing them to hear us pray. I'll never forget the time I heard my brother-in-law pray the same phrase that my father-in-law often prays as we prayed before a meal one Christmas afternoon. We learn from those we are around. Our children hear us and they learn how to talk to God by our prayers. We can teach them to pray spontaneously as they see us praying spontaneously… in the car, at our house, before meals, before bed, when we wake up, as we hear bad news, as we evangelize, and in preparation for church.
Men, let me encourage you to pray. Lead your family by praying-pray for them and with them.
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