"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1 Ti 2:8)
According to Paul, men are to put away petty differences and anger. Instead of fighting, they are to pray with one another. Paul gives this command to the men instead of the women because as one commentator says,
“As a general rule, men are more likely to agitate the church…they are critical and competitive. They tend to argue first and listen later. They would rather be right than be reconciled. They get angry when they don’t get their way. So the Bible reminds Christian men not to fight.”
Competitive and Dominate
Men, we know this is true. Competitiveness and dominate characteristics come naturally. When we don’t win or come out on top, we are more likely to get angry and fight with one another. As Christian men, however, we aren’t supposed to fight and burst out in anger. Instead, as Paul tells us, we are to be spiritual leaders who lead out in prayer.
Freed by the Gospel
While being a spiritual leader who leads out in prayer might be difficult and unnatural, it's possible because the gospel has changed us. It has freed us to love others more than ourselves, to forgive and let go, to lift others up and work alongside them.
What the Church and Country Needs
Prayer is what the church and country need. It especially needs men who are willing to lead spiritually, and specifically, to lead in the area of prayer. Men, we can’t abdicate our responsibility any longer to the women in the church. We must lead as God has called us to lead.
I am sure other pastors in other times have said this but I am going to say it now in our time.
Men, if we want our country and community to change, if we want to see people come to Jesus, we have to be spiritual leaders who are leading out in prayer.
I am not just talking to Pastors, Deacons, and Sunday School teachers. I am talking to all men. All of us need to be spiritual leaders, who are leading out in prayer.
With that in mind, then, let me issue a challenge to the men in the church. The next time you are with a group of men, your family, or your church family, and the conversation turns to a discussion about what needs to change in this country, instead of joining into that discussion, why don't you stop and lead them in prayer? Do this because simply talking about what needs to change isn’t going to change anything, but prayer with others will.
If you aren’t convinced, consider the story of Jeremiah Lanphier. He lived in New York City in the 1850's. New York City wasn't much different then than it is today. It was a place full of sin. Corruption, gambling, greed, atheism, and apathy toward God ran rampant.
Instead of issuing complaints, Lanphier decided to do something. Since he believed in the power of prayer, he put an ad in the newspaper which called for a weekly prayer meeting. The first meeting began with six men praying that the Lord would do a work in their city and the world. As they continued to meet, something amazing happened. Within six months, over 10,000 people were gathering daily, instead of weekly, to pray over the lunch hour for their city and the country. Their prayers lit a fire of mass revival.
It all started with one man's burden and an ad calling others to join him in prayer. Prayer is powerful. It changes things. Men, let’s be the spiritual leaders God has called us to be and lead out in prayer. The gospel has freed us to do that, so let’s do it.