"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
A man wrote me an email yesterday. It was a request to pray for his adult son who has made some poor decisions and now is going to face some pending legal consequences. As a parent this day will come - it's unavoidable. It's the combination of human desires gone wild, poor subsequent choices, and consequences that sometimes leave a permanent scar on their lives and others. As a parent, if you are one, you will experience feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and anxiety mostly because there is nothing you can do. And while you will want to "be anxious about" the things you cannot control, the command is to "not be anxious." But rather turn to "prayer and supplication" which is the right response.
DO THIS: Let go of anxiety and pray for your children today.
PRAYER: God, I cannot control it, but you can. Use these teachable moments to bring our sons and daughters back to you, and release us of our anxiety as we watch you work.
Learning to worship when the world prepares us to be entertained. How King David worshipped in a way that changed him and elevated God.
One of the great lessons King David teaches us is how to worship God. It's in the Psalms that we see him as a leader, king, warrior, and poet relentlessly pour out his heart to God. Sometimes he is filled with emotions of joy and celebration and other times with overwhelming confusion and doubt. If there's anything that commands our attention in the Psalms, it's David's transparency and his continuous worship of God despite his circumstances. It was in these moments of worship that David reconnected with God and once again made the conscious decision to trust Him - no matter what.
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Worship Is Not All About Us.
How many times have you attended a church service and yet came and went unchanged? This happens to us all the time, including me. We go to hear a sermon that includes a few intriguing ideas that make us feel good. We listen to a prayer, or two if we're lucky, where we bring our needs to God. We sing a few songs that hopefully generate a personal emotional response and attend our present needs. And then on the way home evaluate the experience as if our consumption was the center of the whole experience. And therein lies the problem.
Worship is not all about us. It's actually about God. It's about seeing God for who he is in contrast with ourselves. It's about elevating his name, receiving his grace, and recommitting our lives to him. It's about recentering our lives around God and not him centering around us or our issues. In worship, we recenter remembering he is God, and we are not. Worship is not about God meeting our needs at all, even though he is eager to do so when we come to worship him. David's secret in his most challenging moments was spending the time in worship of God. It was here that he time after time encountered the majesty, power, and love of God. It was his place to refresh, recommit, and reenergize his leadership and bring himself low to his high God.
What can we learn from David about worship?
There is so much we can learn from David about worship just read the Psalms regularly. In fact, reading a Psalm every day would be good for your worship. In them, we see David's transparency with God and some of his most personal and private journal musings. In them, we also see how in this worship his heart moved from despair to hope through open emotional conversations. And in them, we see that David practiced devotions in the morning and at night before he slept, so his day was bracketed by worship that elevated God and de-elevated himself.
Worship is exposure of self to God. In worship, God doesn't change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But in worship, we do change as we spend time in his presence. In worship, we learn to trust more, love more, and be less. Be intentional in practicing real worship rather than going through the motions: Sundays and every day.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.
Discover how to evangelize your workplace with prayer.
For many of us, evangelism in the workplace is completely off-limits, but is there a way around this? In this episode of Man Talk, Vince Miller is joined by Dan Clites, Director of Church Ministry Development at LCMC and planting pastor who coaches planting pastors across the country. Today we hear Dan’s thoughts on sharing our faith without being in someone’s face.
Vince: This is Resolute, and Man Talk. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re looking at how to engage in prayer evangelism as a man.
Gentlemen, welcome to Man Talk, by Resolute. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Here at Man Talk, we discuss every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 15 minute topics relevant to Christian men. This is because, at Resolute, it is our mission to disciple and develop men to lead. So never forget, if you’re looking for content for a men’s group or a men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today, at beresolute.org.
We have a number of great tools for men leading men, including a new small group series that I know you would love. Check it all out at beresolute.org/promo. That’s slash, promo. Or if you’re looking for more from this podcast, go to beresolute.org/mantalk. And you will find all of our podcasts, feeds, and connections to social media. But now guys, let’s dive in.
Well, I am excited to introduce to you, today – my good friend, Dan Clites – who oversees ministry development for LCMC. Dan has served as a church planter, lead Pastor, and Pastor for over 20 years. And today trains and equips church planners across the country. Before graduating from Luther Sem in 1995, Dan worked 9 years in television sports reporting in North Dakota. Dan, welcome to the show.
Dan: Thanks, Vince. It’s – you know what? It’s my understanding that you are celebrating another year of life.
Vince: Oh yeah, every day.
Dan: Yeah, exactly. So happy birthday.
Vince: I know you’re referring to my birthday, thank you.
Dan: Yeah, yeah.
Vince: I’m going to be 25. It’s really good.
Dan: Yeah, me too.
Vince: Again, I love it.
Vince: Well Dan, I am so excited to have you with us. And I’m so excited for the men to hear from you. Because I know that you’re a guy who has a strong passion for prayer. But you have also found a way to help guys to understand how to use prayer evangelism as a means of advancing conversations about Jesus Christ. You talk about these 4 biblical principles of prayer evangelism that you found in Luke chapter 10, verses 1 through 9.
Vince: And I would love for you to give us a little preview of what that looks like.
Dan: Hey, you know what, I think one of the things that a lot of guys are longing for, is a sense of a, “I feel like a hero.” Or, “I want to be a superhero.” Up until last year, I thought I was Batman, right? And we want to be a superhero to our wives and our kids and our neighborhoods. People had work. But I say, let’s become hero makers. In other words, let’s become contagious. So as I speak into–
Guys, around the country, when I travel, and I talk to– Especially I love talking to millennials, I really do. It’s the sense of – to build them up, to encourage them, to impart to them, to coach them, to mentor them. To see themselves as hero makers. And Jesus understood that when he downloaded into his disciples early on, a blueprint from God. He said, “Really, do this – because the creator has created you to practice these 4 steps. And in doing so, you will become a hero or a hero maker. Or better yet, a world changer.” Guys love to hear that. So prayer is not passive.
Dan: It’s a connection to the creator of the universe. So it’s not something we do when everything else fails. It’s something we do when we really want to exceed anything that the world can ever offer. And evangelism – you say that word to folks, and they scream and run the other way.
Vince: Yeah, that’s true.
Dan: ‘Cause they always picture guys up on soapboxes, on the corner of First and Second Street Downtown, waving a Bible yelling, “Repent you brute of vipers or you’re going to hell.” Or something like that. And Jesus never did that. Instead, he shows us a natural, a God-given, more relational way of discipling a man, women, children – and how to walk in the power and the authority of Jesus. And it comes to us from Luke, chapter 10, verses 1 through 9.
Vince: Okay, I am fired up right now. ‘Cause I’ve got to tell you – I want to be a world changer. And I think most men out there want that too, right?
Dan: They do.
Vince: And you have encountered that. So walk us through these 4 biblical principles.
Dan: Very good. Well, step number 1 – open up your Bibles to Luke chapter 10, verses 1 through 9. About verse 5, Jesus says, “The first thing you do–” Now, take note, “The first thing you do is – I want you to speak peace. I want you to bless and not blast.” And I used to be the champion of blasting things. And every once in a while, I still catch myself. You drive past a school or a business, and you go, “That business, they’re ripping me off.” Or, “That school, that coach didn’t do my kid right.”
And it’s like throwing up against the wind. And the only one that’s hurt is you. You’re the one who smells like vomit, if you will? And then you wonder why you feel like you stink all day. Well instead of blessing, how about – or blasting – how about blessing. Just the opposite. Because that’s what Kingdom work is. The opposite of what we want to do in the flesh.
Dan: And so–
Vince: So some of that is a mindset, it sounds like, right?
Dan: Oh, it’s all a mindset. It’s all a– Roman’s chapter 12 and 2. “Stop conforming to the ways that the world says to get back at people or make a change. Instead, why don’t you tap into the power source of God?” So when we speak peace, we’re speaking the name of Jesus. And it’s like a sword. And the sword is not to hurt people, but it is to cut through the darkness. So when you’re blessing, instead of blasting – when you’re speaking peace, you’re driving out anything that’s demonic. Spiritual squatters, if you will – who are sitting in our schools, on our government sector, in our marketplace business area. And they pretend like they own the place
Dan: But Jesus owns the place. But you simply need to remind those demonic that they don’t own it, they’re gone. When you do that, light pushes out darkness. This is something you can’t see in the flesh. You can see in the spirit realm. And you’re pushing out darkness, and – hear this guys – you’re giving yourself a home court advantage.
Vince: That’s good.
Dan: Now you can move to the next steps.
Vince: So you’re saying – these guys that are going to their places of business today – that they see their place as a place that they bless, and change their mindset on how they’re going to approach it. And not be scared of evangelizing through prayer – by beginning by blessing the place that they’re walking into today. By not seeing it as the enemy of Christ, by seeing it as something that Christ has created – including the people, the business, the process – the whole thing, and speaking a blessing into it.
Dan: Absolutely. And then I ask guys – can you see yourself as the Pastor of your workplace? And they go, “No, I didn’t go to seminary.” You go, “No, no, no, no. Don’t wreck it like that. You are the Pastor there. They may not recognize you as the Pastor–”
Dan: But you see yourself. And so you’re there to be an ambassador to Christ. It changes the atmosphere. People say, “Gosh Vince, you – there’s something different about you, there’s” And I always tell guys, “Live a questionable life.” And they think, “Well that’s – my mom – mom always told me not to do that. That was a bad thing.”
Dan: “Don’t live a questionable life.” But no, no – live a life where people say, “What’s going on in you? There’s something different about you, there’s”
Dan: “You’re attitude – when the boss is such a negative guy, you speak peace and blessing.” They won’t say that, but they say, “You’re just the opposite of that.”
Dan: And it draws the attention to – there’s something different about you, which leads us to step number 2.
Vince: Yeah, walk us through. What’s step 2?
Dan: Well Jesus says, “Don’t go jumping from house to house.” What he’s saying in the context of our world today is, “Don’t go jumping from sphere to sphere, just thinking you’re doing some kind of program.” Or grab someone and say, “Do you know Jesus? Well here’s a pamphlet. Read this, and I’ll come back and pray for you later.” He’s inviting us to be in a relationship. An ongoing, everyday – not a program, but a lifestyle of just hanging in there with people.
Because, again – let’s say you work in an office setting. And every day, you’re treating people in a different kind of way. Why? Because you opened up your own life when you walked into that sphere of influence, and you blessed and you spoke peace. And the transformation always begins in you. I know I need that. It begins in me.
And then suddenly now, people that thought, “You Christians are so judgemental,” or, “Don’t ramrod your religion down my throat.” You hear that all the time. They’re now asking you, “What’s the hope that you have?” And then they’ll say something like, “Is it a self-help book,” Or, “Are you watching Oprah?” And, “No, no, no. I’ve been hanging out with the one who calls himself the bread of life.” And they’ll say, “What are you talking about, the bread of life? And it – the question, the question they ask you, allows you to be able to talk about your faith. Develop that relationship of trust. So important. Get away from inviting guys to another program.
Dan: But invite them into a relationship first.
Vince: Okay, so what we begin to do here is we develop a mindset in that environment for the people that are there. Do less compartmentalizing our life–
Vince: And look at life as a whole. Long-term relationships over a long time.
Vince: Lots of seeds planted in hearts over that time. And then stop thinking about people as just human beings in passing. There are people to be ministered to over a period of time, looking and awaiting an opportunity, right?
Dan: Correct, Vince. And they’re not a project.
Dan: No one wants to be someone’s project.
Vince: The typical evangelism would view people that way, right? As like–
Dan: As a task.
Vince: I’m trying to – you’re a task, I’m trying to check off.
Vince: I’m trying to convert you. No, no, no. I’m trying to learn from you, just as much as you’re trying to learn from me. And yes, I’m going to pass on a very valid message to you. But you’re not a project.
Vince: You’re a brother, right?
Dan: Exactly. Otherwise, it’s 10:01 works, righteousness – rather than a discipling relationship. Exactly.
Vince: Okay. Step 3. Walk me on.
Dan: Step number– Well now you’ve been blessing, you’ve – pushing out darkness. This is a spirit realm thing. You’re gaining a home court advantage. You’re developing relationships of trust. Now you’re able to move into where Jesus says in verse 7, “I heal the sick, who are there.” And right away, when we think of sickness, we think of – usually physical sickness, as bad as that is.
Dan: But there’s also different kinds of sickness. There’s motivational sickness. Like, “What’s the use, I’m a loser anyway. Nothing ever goes well for me. I’m not making it.” There’s relational sickness. Where you’re – maybe you’re having problems at home with your spouse, your kids, with the boss?” There’s financial sickness. Where no matter what you do, you just never seem to make ends meet. But the worst sickness of all – and most people in our culture don’t know this, is spiritual sickness. You don’t know that Jesus is your hope.
Dan: He’s your hope that exceeds everything else. So – again, when you develop that relationship in step 2 – now you can– And people are talking about their issues. You can say, “Can I pray for you?”
Dan: I’ve done that at restaurants. I say, “Can I pray for you?” I’ve had one guy one time said, “Nope.” And he went away back to the kitchen. He comes back and says, “You know what? You can.” It took him a while to think about that, ’cause he had never been asked that before.
Dan: And then, you know what? You ask him questions. You try to develop that relationship – even though it might be short term – unless you go back to that same restaurant and see that same person again. And you pray for that person.
Vince: See, I like this. Because I have always said that ministry is really – has a lot to do with the presence at the right time.
Vince: And people experience pain. And presence at the right time, combined with pain or need or some tension or crisis or whatever it is – a problem in their life. Gives us an opportunity for Christian men, to lean into that issue and to love them. And to show them the love of Christ. And man – we need to keep our eyes open for pain in people’s lives, right?
Dan: Precisely. And if you were to say to them, “I know it’s Wednesday, but bring that pain to Sunday morning worship.” They won’t show up, or they just–
Vince: Who cares?
Dan: Dismiss it. Right then and there, see yourself as their minister at that moment. That’s the idea of a missionary, versus just a temple dweller. To be sent.
Vince: Yeah, and you don’t need a major education to meet people and their pain, right?
Vince: We’ve all experienced pain. Like I’ve experienced pain, I know you have as well. And we each have these unique pains that God has given us in our life, and we can use that to minister to other people. We’ve just got to keep our eyes open, right?
Dan: In the book of acts, they couldn’t understand Peter, James, and John. They were walking in power. But goodness sakes, these are just fishermen – they’re ordinary men. But they realize that they had been with Jesus.
Dan: Yeah, see? Now they were ministers in the marketplace. They didn’t say, “Get off the lake, stop fishing and come inside – be inside the church building.”
Dan: He said, “I’m going to take you fishermen, and create you to be fisher of men.”
Vince: Men. There you go.
Dan: Stay in the marketplace.
Vince: Okay, give us that last principle. What’s the 4th?
Dan: Alright, and the last one is – Jesus simply says, “Ah, behold. This is the Kingdom of God. It has drawn near to you.” He didn’t say, “Go inside a church building, and go to a worship service.” And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because that has its purpose and its place. But he was saying, “The power comes in 24/7 in the marketplace. Especially in your spheres of influence.”
Your home, your work, your hobbies. Look around, see people are blessing not blasting anymore. People are developing relationships. They’re not judging. And they’re healing. Or they’re meeting people’s felt needs. Generally, a person’s felt need may not be salvation initially. But that’s what they really need. Initially, what they might need is a friendship or someone to talk to, or someone that shows them that they can have a breakthrough or they have worth. From that, they say, “Tell me more about this God of Jesus Christ.”
Vince: Right, right, right.
Dan: So the Kingdom of God has drawn near to you. It is in the marketplace.
Vince: I love that. Okay, so real quick, give us the outline. What are the 4 steps again? The 4 principles of prayer evangelism.
Vince: They are–
Dan: From Luke chapter 10, verses 1 through 9. “I’ll bless and speak peace.” That comes from verse 5. Then move into, “Don’t jump from house to house.” Develop relationships where you’re at.
Dan: Trusting relationships. They move into healing. They can be supernatural healing, yes. Or it can simply be something as the presence of hope. Meeting someone’s felt needs. And the last step is – this is the Kingdom of God. And it’s not meant to be robot.
Dan: Like you don’t go around saying, “Have I done step 1 correctly yet?”
Vince: Right, right, right.
Dan: It’s like a song. It’s 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4. It’s a rhythm of life. Because the mission is a rhythm of life. It’s not an activity, it’s not a program. It’s a rhythm of life. So you don’t have to be bogged down in – have I done something correct yet or not?
Dan: And don’t go 4, 3, 2, 1.
Dan: Remember, God the creator of humans said, “The best way to do this is 1, 2, 3, 4.”
Vince: There we go. I love this. And I’ve got to say, Dan, this is a huge blessing to guys in the marketplace out there. If you are trying to figure out a way that your life can leave and leave a legacy with the people around you – you can be a hero and a world changer. You’ve heard a process today that you can apply to everyday life, by opening your eyes and engaging the environment around you.
Seeing it, and thinking about it differently. In 4 simple steps of just prayer evangelism. It’s walking into everyday life, looking for opportunities, speaking into them. And blessing the world around you that God created. That it’s his world. And gentlemen, I pray that you’ll go and be challenged today. And as you enter the marketplace – even your home or your neighborhood, that you would bless it with true evangelism that doesn’t see people as projects. It sees them as God’s creation. So guys, thanks so much for being with us again.
And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead. Check it all out at beresolute.org/free-trial. That’s free dash trial. And yes, I will see to it that you get a free trial and a Resolute Men’s study guide to go with it.
So I hope you enjoyed this episode of Man Talk. But please know that the time that we spent together today is worthless unless you choose to act on it. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of Man Talk.
SUMMARY: Mother Teresa said, ““Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Pastor and leader Justin Jeppesen as they discuss the topic of prayer. Today they focus on how to build a prayer as a discipline with the right motive.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. I’m Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re starting a new series on prayer, and we’re discussing the topic – the motive of prayer.
So men, welcome back to the program. If this is your very first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Our mission, as an organization is to disciple and develop men to lead. And if you’re looking for content for your men’s group or even just your men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today, which is beresolute.org.
We have a number of great tools for men who are leading other men, including a couple of new small group series’ that we know that your men would love in your groups. And so if you want to take a look at those, we would love to put those in your hand. You can reach out today through – to us, through the website. But now, let’s dive in.
I’m joined by a good friend of mine, Justin Jepson. And Justin has been a staff person with Resolute and also is on staff at a local church. And he’s had a heart for a long time to build prayer into the lives of men. And I’ve just been taken back by his faithfulness to this over the last few years, even though it’s a slow growing ministry – he has given his heart to it and his all. And today we’re going to be looking at the topic of the motive of prayer. And just simply getting after the heart of it, to begin with. So Justin, thank you so much for being with us.
Justin: Thank you, Vince, it’s an honor to be here.
Vince: So Justin, as a good friend and as a partner in ministry, you’ve had for a while – this passion around prayer. And I’ve, I’ve watched you in your own church build a house of prayer there. You have focused on moving men into praying together and to praying for the church, for their life, for their family, for their world, for their work etc. And I’m really moved by it. Because you have this incredible heart.
But over the years, you’ve learned a few things about prayer. And in this series, we’re looking at the motive of prayer, the method of prayer, and the mission of prayer. And today I want to spend some time talking about the motive of prayer. Because I think this is really important. As we dive into prayer, we’ve really got to understand our motives behind it, and how to understand the particular purpose in our own heart regarding our engagement in conversation with God. So tell us what you’ve learned Justin, about why prayer is so vital to the Christian life?
Justin: Yeah well, this has been a continual journey of learning, and just – something the Lord has been doing in my life for several years. And so you mentioned this phrase, “House of Prayer.” And that’s coming from the text Matthew 21. Specifically verse 13, Jesus said, it is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for the nations. But you have made it a den of robbers.”
And it’s really, it’s taking Jesus at his word. Where the reality of prayer and why it’s so important is – and why Jesus sought to restore the priority of prayer in his house – in his temple, with his people. Is because we were made, we were created to live in continual communion with our creator. And that’s what prayer is for. Prayer in it’s most basic definition. We can complicate it, but it’s real simple. It’s communication with God. And we were made to be and live in that vital connection and communication with – with our God.
Vince: Oh, let me ask you something along those lines. I – as you talk about this continual communication with God, Justin – I think about – probably how most guys think about it, or how I used to think about it is – it’s something that you do once in a while. That’s what prayer is. It’s something that maybe you do when you wake up in the morning, like I did this morning – probably like you did. We cast a prayer to God, we ask him for some things.
But we don’t really look at it as something that we’re doing all the time. But we really do live – we live in a physical world, but we’re spiritual creatures. And you say that we’re in constant communication with God. Do you think that most men and leaders look at it that way?
Justin: Well I think maybe in theory. But I think the – the hard reality is, is how do you actually do that? And really, it boils down to a heart issue. I’ve heard it said that prayer in the Christian life is what breathing is to our physical life. It’s our essential lifeline. And if – driving here this morning, if I would’ve held my breath – I wouldn’t have made it here. And really – prayer is really our declaration of our dependence upon God.
And conversely, our prayerlessness, it’s been said – is our declaration of independence from God. And it’s saying, “God, we don’t need you.” Or, “I only need you when I have a need or I have a – a trial or a crisis in my life.” But really prayer is – distilling it all the way back down, and that’s what Jesus is doing here in this text. It’s about living with, walking with your creator – no matter what you’re doing, no matter where you are. Where you’re going or who you’re with.
And while it’s important – yeah, to have those moments that are set aside in solitude – moments of concentrated prayer with others. It’s really a reality that we can be engaging in ongoing, continually. No matter what the circumstance, and no matter what our location or position is.
Vince: I think that’s a little bit of what Jesus is getting at here, isn’t it? When he says – he’s contrasting 2 ideas. First a den of robbers with a house of prayer. And he’s – I think saying to us that we’ve turned certain things into things that they’re not supposed to be. While we’re missing the ultimate point of what communion with God is really about. And it’s about this constant, incessant communion with God all the time. Yet we don’t engage in it.
Kinda like you say, until we need something, right? We – we’re kinda looking for God to give us something, or to give us a handout or a solution. Or we have an issue in our life that we bring to him, and we need an answer for. And unfortunately, that probably says something about our motives – when we only go to God when we need him, right? Have you found that to be true in people’s lives as you’ve tried to teach them about prayer?
Justin: Yeah, definitely. And honestly, I find that to be true in my own life all time.
Vince: Okay, yeah, yeah.
Justin: And that’s why – right before Jesus makes the declaration, “My house was a house of prayer.” It says that “He entered the temple and he drove out all who sold and bought in the temple. He overturned the tables of money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” This is a big deal for Jesus. And really what – a house of prayer, and a life of prayer, a man of prayer – is, is a man of purity. And we need to ask Jesus to purify us from our hypocrisy and our religiosity – and to give us that pure motive. ‘Cause ultimately, it’s something that He must do.
And so – something that I, that I do and I encourage and lead other men to do – is to ask Jesus to do it. Only he can do it do it just to purify our hearts so that we see him clearly. Because prayer is less about our activity, and it’s mostly about our intimacy. And we could use prayer as a crutch or as something to help us do what we think we’re supposed to do or accomplish our agenda.
But prayer is first supposed to bring us into an intimate connection with Jesus, from which we then do life with him – walking with him. And in this text, they had it the other way around. They had their own agenda. They had their own – their own perspective, their own purpose of why they were gathering in God’s house. And Jesus said, “No, no, no. You’re here to be with me. And right now, you’re so focused on yourself and all of your own activity – and not intimacy with me.”
Vince: Wow that – that’s a great explanation there. And I couldn’t agree with you more that we as men or leaders are going to struggle with this from time to time. I have felt the ebb and flow – I think as you’re insinuating – that there are times that prayer is just something that I go for when I need something from God, unfortunately, I have to confess that.
And there are times where – conversation with God in prayer is so intimate and so meaningful. It’s very just life giving. Just in general – not that I’m trying to get something from God, but that I’m really deeply communing with him, and I’m kinda lost in that conversation with Him. So I think what you’re saying is – when we approach prayer, we have to make sure our hearts are in the right place. That our motives are present to them.
And that we’ve got to be conscious of it throughout our lifetime. That there’s going to be times that we are going to ask for things. But it’s not exclusively just trying to get the things that we want. That we watch our heart, and we give it attention. Because there’s something different, something changed in a man and a leader when his motives are in the right place.
And as you say, Jesus cares deeply about this. I mean this is a pretty shocking moment, right? I mean Jesus is walking in and he’s – essentially slaying people that are sitting at tables and stealing – extorting money from people so that they can bring their prayers to God. And unfortunately, they’ve been leading people down the wrong path. And so I think it’s interesting that we as Christian men and leaders need to be guiding people toward true motive in prayer, by setting ourselves as an example as well in prayer.
I’ve got to tell you, Justin. I think one of the – the saddest things that I’ve seen in the church is a lack of prayer. I’m talking about a lack of prayer just generally, right? Would you say this is true in the church? That we don’t go to prayer enough?
Justin: Yeah. I think – sadly, we go to prayer as a, as a last resort – rather than our first action. And larger part, I think we don’t recognize our true dependence upon God. And we don’t recognize the actual desperation that we all have of Him. And there are numerous reasons why.
Vince: Yeah, sure.
Justin: I think it’s – large in part, I think we – we think we have all these other options. And we can, we can act first. And then when that doesn’t work – then we pray. Rather than if we were to pray first – and then we actually are led by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures, towards the right actions. I think we’d save ourselves a lot of heartaches. And ultimately, I think the church would have the supernatural impact that it’s intended to have.
Prayer really is the forgotten power of the church. If were to even go – I mean, the fact that Jesus – he expects his church to pray. Jesus himself modeled the life of prayer. If there’s anybody that didn’t need to pray, and could still be effective in this life, it would be Jesus. But he – he was the one. There’s a sense in which Jesus was the only person who lived on this earth, who didn’t need to pray – but did, in order to teach those who don’t pray, know how to – but do, and don’t know how to pray.
Justin: And it sounds like a little bit of a tongue twister. But in other words – that’s why the early church practiced a life of prayer. We all want this, this Acts 2 Pentecost experience of an explosion of power, and people coming to faith. But we often forget that Acts 1 precedes Acts 2. And what were they doing in Acts 1? Well, it says in Acts 1:14 that they met together continually in the place of prayer.
Vince: Yeah. There, there you go. And that’s probably where – prayer is not only a place of transformation, it’s a place where our heart motives get changed, right? And the less we do it properly – the more our motives begin to sway. And I – I would just ask you this one last question here, Justin for today on this topic. What would you say to a guy or a leader out there who are dealing with this question on the motive of prayer?
Like probably, I would assume there are some guys out there right now that are like you and me. They are probably having this moment as they listen to this podcast, realizing – well maybe their motives aren’t all that great. How do you get the motives aligned with God? What would you suggest to guys out there about how to get – how to get our heart in the right place?
Justin: Yeah, yeah. It’s a great question. I – I think it boils down to having a humble attitude and posture of saying, “I can’t purify my own heart.” It’s something that God needs to do. And it comes through seeking – our motive is really about seeking God for who he is. It’s been said that we seek God’s face, not his hand. And we could – and he wants to open his hand to us. He wants to give us, and answer our request. We’re commanded to bring our request to him. But if we only seek God’s hand for what he can give, and for what he can do – we may miss his face. But if we seek his face, he’s glad to open his hand to us.
And so, our motive for prayer is ultimate – it needs to be rooted in who God is, not in who we are or what we need. It’s founded upon his unchanging character, not our changing needs. And so, we need an enduring motive rooted in something that is unchanging. ‘Cause I’m – I’m turbulent every day, I’m changing all the time. But and if my prayer life is rooted in me, it’s going to be all over the place and inconsistent. But if it’s rooted in God, then it’s something that’s going to endure.
And a mentor of mine said that the only enduring motive of prayer is that God is worthy to be sought. It’s about his glory and who he is. And really that’s the type of prayer that we’re going to be doing in heaven. There’s going to be no requests in heaven.
Justin: It’s going to be a – of worship based. So I would say the best way to purify our heart motive, is to worship God for who he is. Have that high view of God that then will produce a humble heart and a pure heart, to have that pure motive that will endure in prayer.
Vince: I think that’s a good challenge for today, Justin. I – ’cause I think that often as men we sway towards the things that we want – as you say, the hand – the things that we need to receive. And that we forget that we’re talking to the God of all the universe. The infinite God, whose character we worship. And that we need to be focusing on Him all the time and the praise and the adoration and the thanksgiving that we give to him. And yes, he wants us to ask for things. But when we’re solely asking for things, then maybe it’s time to check the motive. Well Justin, thank you again for being with us.
Justin: Thank you so much, Vince. It’s great to be here with you.
Vince: And that’s the show, thanks for listening. As we close our time today, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead, and equip them to build the men around them. Check it all out at beresolute.org. Or you can send me a direct email at [email protected] And if you do that – you send me a personal email – I will give you a trial membership so that you can give it a spin with the men that you lead.
So I hope that you enjoyed this podcast today. But please know – that the time that we spent together is worthless unless you choose to act on it. So do something today by getting off the bench and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time, for another edition of the Resolute Podcast.
SUMMARY: Jesus’ disciples could have asked Jesus to teach them to do anything, but the one thing they wanted to learn was how to pray. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Pastor and leader Justin Jeppesen as they discuss the topic of prayer. Today they focus on the building a method of prayer that emulates the Lord’s prayer in four simple movements.
Vince: This is Resolute, and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. My name is Vince Miller, your founder and host. And today we’re in a series on prayer. Today’s lesson is entitled – the method of prayer.
Welcome back to the program. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Our mission – as Resolute, is to disciple and develop men to lead. And if you’re looking for content for your men’s group or men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today at beresolute.org. We have numerous great tools for men who are leading other men – including some new small group series’ that are kicking off this fall. That I think you would love for your men’s group. Just head there today, and check it all out at beresolute.org. And now guys lets dive in.
Well I’m joined one more time by Justin Jepson, good friend of mine who is part of our Resolute team, and also works at a local church. He’s been trying to start a prayer movement in his church with his men. Has been learning some great lessons over the last couple of years. Justin is a real man of prayer, and I’m excited to have him with us. Justin, welcome to the show.
Justin: Thanks, Vince, it’s great to be back again with you.
Vince: So last time we talked about the motive of prayer as we dove into our series here on prayer. And today we’re going to be looking at the method of prayer. And Justin, I know that you have got an incredible heart for prayer. And I want the guys out there to know as well that Justin’s no joke. He – he is a man who seeks after God in prayer, and struggles through it. Just like you and I do. But today we’re going to dig into the method of prayer. Like how do we do it?
And to begin, Justin – I want to ask you the big, ominous question. Because I think guys out there know that they should pray. I think many of them probably know generally how to pray. And then it’s a conversation. Last time we talked about getting our motives right. But you’ve got to ask the ominous question – the hard one to answer. Why don’t we engage in prayer as men?
Justin: Yeah that is the million dollar question. And I think if – there are probably various reasons. But I think you could all boil it down to – I think men have been taught a boring approach to prayer. I’ll be honest. And I think of the reason. I mean, the reason why I think men don’t go to prayer meetings at your church, is because they’ve been to prayer meetings at your church. And – and I don’t mean that in a way against, slight against anything. Because – again – I pool myself into this. But I think God is not the author or boredom, we are.
Justin: And it’s definitely not boring when we get to converse with him. And – and so, I think the big reason why is that we – we– Ultimately, we have a boring – a boring method – because we focus on ourselves and not who he is.
Vince: Okay, so let me interrupt there for a second because one of my favorite moments in the Old Testament – seriously, one of my favorite moments. Is the moment that we watch Joshua being prepared by Moses. And this happens over many years. And Joshua is watching Moses one evening in his tent, and Moses is praying to God. And Moses is just talking to God. And we don’t exactly know what this dialogue looks like at this moment.
But Joshua is entranced by this. That doesn’t sound very boring to me. I kinda wonder what that moment looks like. Because I’d bet it was pretty exciting. For the fact that Moses was just simply having a conversation with God. And Joshua’s watching it unfold. And really wasn’t interacting much, other than watching. And I assumed that he was probably pretty entertained by it, right? That sounds exciting to me.
Justin: Yeah, abs– And I’m right there along with you. I would love, I would love to, to – to see what that would be like. And you know the reality is, is that scripture’s full of examples like that. Especially in – in the life of Jesus. We have Jesus’ prayers recorded. Well because they were actually viewed by his disciples.
Vince: Yeah he literally – they literally viewed them. I think we take that for granted, right? Like we see Jesus pray because we hear him pray. And it isn’t something that he just does privately on his own quietly in the confines of his own mind. He was probably praying a lot of these things very much out loud, right? Almost embarrassingly out loud, right? So that the disciples could learn from it. But there was a moment, there was a moment where Jesus is asked by his disciples – because they were so entranced by it – not bored, entranced by it. To teach them how to pray. Correct?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely – yeah. And that, that’s coming from Luke 11. And it just simply says briefly – now Jesus was praying in a certain place. So this was Jesus – while he’s praying – this is when he was finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples.” And then he went on to teach them, “When you pray, pray like this.” Or, “This is how you should pray,” in Luke 11 and Matthew 6 record what that model prayer looks like.
And I find this so interesting. Because there is only 1 question recorded in scripture of Jesus’ disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to do something. I mean, at this point in the life of – in the ministry of Jesus, I mean they’ve witnessed Jesus work miracles – walk on water, heal the sick, feed thousands with a little boys’ lunch. They could’ve asked him how to teach them to do anything, but the only question we have here in scripture is Jesus’ disciples asking Jesus, “Teach us how to pray.
Vince: See, that’s fascinating, isn’t it? I mean doesn’t – doesn’t that just jazz you? Because that tells me it wasn’t boring to them. That they really saw something exciting about it. Right?
Justin: Yeah. And – absolutely. ‘Cause I think if – here’s the key. I think if we can learn to pray like Jesus, we’ll have the power to live like Jesus. And that’s why Jesus doesn’t leave us guessing in how to pray for him. He didn’t just – he modeled it for us, but he also equips us to do it like he did.
Vince: Okay so, you have this very simple, easy to remember the model that you have been taught. That you share with the men that you lead. So walk us through that. It’s modeled after the Lord’s Prayer. So take us through the movements. I don’t know if you call them 4 movements or 4 steps to a method of prayer. But why don’t you walk us through each one of those 4?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. And let me just say, there’s a lot of wonderful models of prayer and methods of prayer. And so this is – this is just one that I feel is the most closely tied to the way Jesus taught us how to pray in this Lord’s Prayer. And it’s – it’s not the only way to pray, but I found it to be the most helpful – for me, not only personally – but also leading other men, and leading groups corporately.
And the best thing is because it’s scriptural – it’s based on the Lord’s Prayer. It draws people’s focus toward God, as opposed to their own needs and requests. And it provides a model to experience life-giving prayer that can be applied to nearly any passage of scripture. And so, really this – it’s, it’s – I call–
It’s been called the 4/4 pattern. And it’s kind of modeled after that 4/4 time count in music. Like a musical conductor would use. It’s taking the Biblical text and then leading us to pray like Jesus. And so, really these 4, these 4 movements then – the first one is an upward movement. And in the pattern, Jesus gave his disciples, it’s one of irreverence. He instructs us to begin with a focus of worship. He says, “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.”
This is an upward focus, and it’s a principle of – it’s worship based, it’s not request based. And that comes later, actually. But it’s a, it’s a focus on who he is. And so this is praising God simply for his attributes, his character. It’s offering thanks for what he has already done. It’s not asking for anything, just worshiping.
And I – I like to tell the – when I’m leading a time of prayer with men in my church, is say, “Okay, this time we’re actually not going to ask God for anything for the next 10 minutes. We’re just going to worship him for who he is. If you ask him for anything, I’ve got a button I’m going to press – and you’re going to be injected out of here, and you can come back next week.”
No, not really. But it’s so easy, and how quick we jump to what we need. And really I – if there’s anyone who knows what we need, it’s Jesus. And starting with the focus of who he is, leads us then to know how to pray for those requests later on. But that we actually don’t get there quite yet. So the first is an upward focus of reverence. And there’s a downward focus of response. Jesus taught the second element of this biblical prayer when he said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
So this speaks of our response to God’s character in prayer – as we consider his will, from his word and for the sake of his purposes on earth. So this – this involves a yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit. A submission, a surrender, a repentance, confession of sin. And bringing ourselves back into alignment with His kingdom and not our own. And so, that’s the downward focus. And then – then actually the next one, the third out of the 4 is an inward focus. And this is where the requests come in.
And so now that we’ve really worshiped God, our Savior – we have wholly surrendered to his will for our lives, now we can actually boldly bring our request before him – knowing that we are asking in His name and for His glory. And this is when Jesus says, “Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our debts – as we have also forgiven our debtors.” And so this is offering requests in accordance with God’s will. Passionate petitions for personal needs.
And then there’s an outward – a focus, a last one of readiness. And this one’s interesting. And I think if it was – was new for me in learning this, how to apply the Lord’s Prayer in my own life. And Jesus says, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” And so this – this outward stroke reminds us of the spiritual battle that is before us. But more importantly, reassures us of the spiritual resources within us – the Holy Spirit.
So when we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We recognize our own inability to overcome the temptations and the attacks of the daily life. We entrust our welfare for the warfare to the delivering force of our divine enabler through the power of his presence and promises. And so I always like to lead men praying a text of scripture. What’s a promise? What’s something that we can bring with us into the day now from this time of prayer?
And then there’s actually a final back – a lot of older translations will say, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.” I always love to just continue or conclude with a hymn of praise. To begin, to end where we began with worshiping God.
And this – I hope this sounds simple to you men that are, that are listening to this. And there’s a lot more that could be said about it. But you know what? The best way to learn how to pray is by praying. And just take this, and don’t worry – get worried about all the – get caught up in all the minutia of it. But just taking the Lords Prayer, and applying those 4 areas of focus to any text and passage of scripture. And we can learn then to live like Jesus and be equipped with the power to live like he did.
Vince: Okay, as we – as we close today, Justin – I just want to thank you for this. Because this has been very enlightening to me. I think it’s very enlightening and simple for the men out there, even the men that are leading other men to use. But it just points upward, points downward, points inward and outward, right? Upward, downward, inward, outward. And then we have a beautiful method, a balanced rhythm of prayer and how we engage in it.
But the simple challenge is this, for the guys that haven’t engaged in very much prayer out there. Is to just do something, right? To do something. To start praying. I’ll never forget the first time I did it. It’s a little awkward because you – you’re talking to someone who’s not there. But our God is more real than you are, sitting across from me right now. And we can speak to him anytime we want.
And I’ve got to tell you – if the disciples want to understand how to do it, then we should want to understand how to do it as well and become so comfortable with it. Become so comfortable with it. Because we’re learning and knowing our great God, going back to our motives from last week. Going back to our motives from last time. It’s like we have these motives that are in the right place because of the way that we pray, right? And we can restructure that in our lives. Well Justin, thank you again so much for being with us.
Justin: Thank you so much, Vince, it’s an honor to be back.
Vince: And that’s the show. Thanks for listening. As we close today, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups found on our website. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church to lead, and equip them to build the men around them. Check it out at our website, beresolute.org. Or just send me a direct email at [email protected] And if you send me a personal email to that email address, I will give you a free trial membership, so that you can give it a spin with the men that you lead.
Well, guys, I hope you enjoy this podcast today, but please know that this time that we spent together is worthless unless you choose to act on it. You’ve got to act on it in some way – by living out this method in your life, and by praying. So do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I’ll see you right back here next time for another edition of the Resolute Podcast.
SUMMARY: Too often when we pray we get stuck in a pattern of just asking for things. Today we learn that God might have a bigger purpose for your prayers. In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Pastor and leader Justin Jeppesen as they discuss the topic of prayer. Today we focus on the mission of godly prayer for us and the world.
Vince: This is Resolute, and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. I am Vince Miller, your founder and host. And today we’re in a series on prayer, looking specifically at the topic – the mission of prayer.
Welcome to the program. If this is your first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Our mission is to disciple and develop men to lead. If you’re looking for content for your men’s group or men’s ministry, then you need to go to our website today at beresolute.org. We have a number of great tools for men who are leading other men – including a couple of new small group series’ that I believe that you would enjoy, and love to share with your men in your groups. But now, let’s dive in.
Well I’m joined once again by Justin Jepson – one of our friends, colleagues and ministry partners. Justin holds a position at a local church, and has been trying and attempting to get men engaged with prayer. He’s experienced some incredible success with it. And today we’re going to be looking at that – and the mission of prayer, as it relates to our praying life. So Justin, welcome to the show one more time.
Justin: It is so great to be back one last time, thank you Vince.
Vince: Oh you bet. So today we’re looking at the mission of prayer. We’ve been in a series on prayer, and you have done a great job of guiding us through really – how to understand the motive of prayer. In our first segment last time, we discussed the method of prayer – upward, downward, inward, outward – using the model of Jesus’ prayer to his disciples as he taught them how to pray. Today we’re looking at the mission of prayer.
And Justin, as we look at the mission of prayer, we can’t – we should not fail to understand that it’s always through prayer that God has done spectacular things on planet earth. Yet I think most men and unfortunately some spiritual leaders, fail to really understand that it was prayer that led us into revival and renewal and great movements of God. And I’m assuming that that’s a little bit about what you’re getting at when it comes to the mission of prayer?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. And even going all the way back to our – our first segment on the motive. And Jesus says that I’m going to be– That we’re called to be a house of prayer. I love that idea of a house. It’s a place where people live, where people dwell, that we’re made to be with God. That we’re – we’re part of his family, his beloved children. But we’re also partners with him in his mission. And how we partner with Him begins and is fueled by and sustained by a life of prayer.
Vince: Okay so, this – this life of prayer or this kinda incessant calling of prayer that Christians are – Christian men are supposed to be engaged with. Why do we do that? Is there a reason that we’re praying missionally like this? I mean, is there something that we’re working against or working for that causes us to move toward the mission of prayer?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. One of my – one of my favorite quotes on prayer comes from an evangelist named Alvin Reid, and he simply says, “Prayer is intimacy with God that leads to the fulfillment of his purposes.” And, and so – we’ve all been given this great commission to make disciples. To be disciple makers. And that can 04:07 happen apart from prayer.
And I love the commands of prayer in scripture. And one in particular that always comes to my mind, and that I bring and draw men to as often as I can – is in first Timothy, chapter 2 as Paul is continuing to mentor his young protégé’s son in the faith, Timothy. And he’s giving instructions in chapter 2 about prayer, and saying, “First of all then he urges that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all people. That prayer is meant to have the first and prominent place in the life of the church.”
But then I love in verse 8 he says, “I desire then that in every place – the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” And so I believe, and the way that God has designed the family, in the way that these – He instructs the leadership of the church that the men are the one’s that ought to lead the way in prayer.
Vince: Okay, so this is really good. You’re getting into some good meat here. Because you’re saying that men should really be leading the way as prescribed by Paul here. As prescribed by Jesus as well as he taught his men to pray. But I think we would say that men aren’t praying enough – as we’ve already talked about in the last 2 episodes. But is that because – is that because, Justin – maybe we as men rely too much on our own physical ability upon the material things around us, more than we really see the spiritual battle that we’re coming against in our life? Could that be part of the issue that we fail in the mission of prayer?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. I – again, another quote here. I love, by John Piper. He says that “Until you understand that life is raw, you don’t know what prayer is for.” And that prayer is a wartime walkie talkie for spiritual warfare, not a domestic intercom to increase the comforts of the saints. And prayer is that vital communication for us to engage in the war that we face every single day. But that’s the mighty weapon.
And in fact, praying the word of God is that mighty weapon to destroy the strongholds of the enemy, and the schemes that he has against your own life, your marriage, your family – what you’re doing at work, your role in the church. And so this – we are absolutely dependent upon, of God and prayer.
Vince: Let me, let me – let me agree with you but push back on how I think men view this. Because if we go back to our first text, which was from Matthew 21, right? We’re talking about Jesus walking into the temple grounds, and he – he’s casting out the money changers. And he says, “You’ve turned – you’ve turned the house of prayer into a den of robbers.” And I think predominantly why they did that – well there’s a number of reasons why they did it.
But one of the reasons why they did it, is because they – they really didn’t see– They relied upon their own strength, to resolve their own issues. And they depended on their own physical being, rather than really being dependent upon God. And I think that Jesus was trying to get him to understand that you are too physically dependent upon the things that you want, to get what you want out of this life.
Because you feel you’re smart enough, or you can strategize your way out of it. Or you can provide people with what they need to get them to God. But you failed to see the spiritual battle that’s in front of us. And I think – I wonder, Justin – if we as guys, as Christian men don’t engage in prayer– Because we don’t feel the weight of the spiritual battle around us, and we trust in our own ability and strength and vision and skills and talents far too much.
Then becoming dependent upon Jesus Christ – until – Justin, until we get to that moment when we really need Jesus, right? And then we run to him for a handout. But that isn’t really the mission of prayer. The mission of prayer is to be fighting all the time in the battle. And maybe as John Piper has said – maybe it’s just that we just don’t understand the weight 08:36 of the battle, therefore we’re not living in the mission of prayer. Is that correct?
Justin: Yeah, I think– I think that’s right on. Because I – a mentor might also have said that when you – when you have a commitment to pray, you pick a fight with the devil at a whole new level. And if there’s anything that the devil does not want you to do men, it’s to pray. And not only personally, but also to lead your family, to also pray corporately. And when you look at the mission of prayer in the New Testament – you look at the requests that Paul actually does bring before the churches.
It’s always mission orientated. It’s always, “Give me boldness so that I may preach the gospel.” That I may make it clear as I ought to, that there would be an open door for ministry. That it’s always focused on the expansion of God’s kingdom. And so in prayer and ultimately the – the warfare of prayer – we need to take that posture of humility. Which – again, cannot be produced in and of ourselves.
It comes from having that high view of God, and again going back to the – the motive of prayer and then the method that Jesus gives us, to begin with a worship base and upward focus of reverence for who he is. And I think when we see God for who he is, we see ourselves for who we are. And then we have His perspective on the life that we’re living in, and we recognize what the stakes are. That prayerlessness will lead us to devastation.
And here’s the thing. A mentor of mine, again – said it this way. “The devil doesn’t need to destroy us, he just needs to distract us.” And there are so many distractions. And in those distractions – deceive us into thinking that we are in control. When really prayer is the thing that releases us from our illusion of control and helps engage us effectively and victoriously in the spiritual battle that we’re facing every day.
Vince: That’s a great point, and I think, Justin – my prayers have been stronger when I’ve really come to the end of myself and I’m not trying to accomplish my mission, but His mission, right? And I think that if we could stay more focused on God’s mission and what he’s trying to accomplish, rather than on my vocation and my business and my retirement and my family and my issues and my needs – maybe we would focus on His mission, His needs, His future, His Kingdom.
If we started doing that, then maybe our prayers would change a little bit. And perhaps we would see a greater battle that goes beyond us. Because God is doing great things. I mean, God is doing spectacular things on this earth that he wants to invite us to be a part of. And he wants to pray for them. And I love that you brought out the point – just about the prayer for boldness, for example – in scripture that we see out of a lot of the disciples.
They weren’t praying for rescue from a situation, they were praying for boldness and character in the midst of the situation that God had given them. And that’s because they saw their situation through the mission of God, right? And what you’re challenging me to do, is to really tie all these lessons together today. The motive, the method, and the mission of prayer that will hopefully invigorate – my prayer life will invigorate yours, and maybe the men we lead to Justin?
So that we can guide the church into – not just asking for handouts from God, and turning to the great Santa Claus in the sky to give us what we need. But turning to the creator of the universe, whose mission – he wants us to participate in. Not us asking him to participate in our mission. But we participating in his. Well, Justin, we can’t sit here and just talk about prayer. If I might, may I close us in prayer today?
Vince: God, thank you so much for just this opportunity to worship you. God, ’cause we know that you’ve been a part of this conversation from beginning to end. God, we can sit around and we can, we can talk about prayer all day long. But to pray is a different thing. So God, today – because we know that there are men out there just like me, just like Justin – whose motives aren’t always right.
Who don’t know exactly how to pray. Who struggle to align our mission with yours. God, we’re just going to pray for them. God, because we know that there are struggles that they have, and challenges they face on their way to becoming men of God. And we pray that you would invigorate that today in them.
But God, not only that. That you would reveal your character and your majesty in the attributes that flow from you to them. That they would discover that you are a God that wants to communicate to them. And that you want them to be in incessant communication with you. God, would you teach them that through you, through your people and through the circumstances of their life – so they become more reliant and trusting of you and of your ways and of your mission? We pray this, in Jesus name. Amen.
Justin, thank you again for being with us over this last series? Thanks for showing us the path of how you’ve strengthened your prayer life, and we pray that it will strengthen many men. So, again – thank you.
Justin: Thank you, Vince. That’s my prayer too, and it’s an honor again to be with you.
Vince: And that’s the show. Thanks for listening. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s groups. Excellent small group videos and participant handbooks that will empower the men of your church. Just imagining empower the – empowering the men around you. They will help you to build men. Check it all out at beresolute.org. Or just send me an email at [email protected] If you send me a personal email, I will send you a trial membership, so that you can give it a spin with the guys you lead.
So I hope you enjoy this podcast. But please know, the time that we spent together today is worthless, unless you act on it. So act on it in your prayer life. Live with some mission. Pray for some mission. And do something today – by getting off the bench, and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time on another edition of The Resolute Podcast.
SUMMARY: Are you looking to start a prayer movement in your church with your men? In this Resolute Leadership Podcast, Vince Miller is joined by Pastor and leader Justin Jeppesen as they discuss the topic of prayer. Today we focus on building a movement of praying men in your church.
Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Leadership Podcast. I am Vince Miller, your founder, and host. And today we’re in a series on prayer. Closing off this series with the topic of how to begin a movement of prayer.
Welcome back to the program guys. If this is your very first time tuning in, well thank you for joining us. Our mission is to disciple and develop men to lead. And if you’re looking for content for your men’s group, or even your men’s ministry – then you need to go to our website today.
At beresolute.org, we have a number of great tools for men, who are looking to lead other men. Including a number of great new small group series’ that we believe that you would enjoy. Go there today, and find out more. And now, let’s dive in.
Today I am joined one more time by my good friend Justin Jepson. He’s a local pastor at a church that has been trying to start a movement of prayer among his men. So far we’ve been through the topics – including the motive of prayer, the method of prayer, and even the mission of prayer.
But today we want to look at how to start a movement of prayer with your men in your church. Justin has learned a number of great lessons over the last couple of years on this topic, and with other men. And so Justin – again – welcome to the show today.
Justin: Thank you so much, Vince. It is so great to be back again.
Vince: So this time we’re looking at – really, the movement of prayer, right? Because we’ve been through the series already on the motive, the method, the mission. And I want to look at it from a leadership perspective, at least for one lesson. Because I know there’s Pastors and leaders out there that would love to see a movement of prayer begin in their church.
And you have taken some steps and some actions in your own church, that I think are very interesting. In fact, they’re the reason that I had you on this podcast – was because I saw you living out prayer in your church, and leading men through an experience. Why don’t you just give us an overview of what that’s currently looking like, and what your vision has been for starting a movement of prayer in your church?
Justin: Yeah, absolutely. On one hand, I think there’s a – there’s a deception that’s out there that’s That Pastors are leaders in churches, or even men that are struggling to lead their family – think they have to be some big, spiritual champion in warfare. Spiritual champion and spiritual warrior, prayer warrior in order to lead others in prayer. And that’s – that’s really not the case. I mean, on one hand the per level of a church or I think of a family will never rise above the per level of it’s leadership. But that’s something that you can engage in with people around you, so that you learn and grow together.
And for me personally, I was convicted about 3 years ago that – you know what? Whenever there’s a prayer time in our church, it’s the women that show up. Are there prayer meetings in our church? Yeah, and women have them. And I’m looking around at the guys, and I just felt so convicted of saying – feeling that – okay, we need to start praying together. It’s one thing to pray individually, but actually most of the commands of prayer in the New Testament are corporate, and they’re communal.
And I’m convinced – I’m not – I’m not a good bowler – but I do know if you hit the lead pin, you can get the whole thing. And I believe that praying men will beget praying marriages. Which will beget praying for families? Which will then fuel a praying church? And so what I did is just a simple kind of 3 steps to begin a prayer meeting.
Is I first – I picked men. I extended a personal invitation and said, “Hey I, I have a conviction that I want to begin praying with other men in our church. Would you – would you join me in that?” And then I just extended an invitation out to probably about 10 or 12 men. And then – then we picked a time. And here’s the thing. I know that has a – for me, and working on staff at a church – I have the most flexible schedule out of all the other men that I was talking with. And they’ve got to be at work at a hard time, and have to commute and that type of thing. And so I said, “I’ll let them pick.”
And here’s the thing. When picking a time, I would suggest make it a sacrifice. Because there’s a bond that happens when men sacrifice together. And so the time that they picked – 6am, Thursday mornings. And I knew that this whole idea was a work of God, because I was there. I’m not a morning guy. But I became one. And so we – we picked men, we picked a time, made it a sacrifice and then we persevered.
And we’ve been praying now together every Thursday morning from 6 to 7 am for the last 2 and a half – it’ll be 3 years this fall. And we’ve persevered together, we’ve done all the things. We’ve learned to grow what we’ve talked about in the previous podcast on prayer, and just praying the scriptures. And I have learned personally so much, and grown so much by praying with these other men.
Vince: Okay so, give me a picture now for a second. Because I think this is really important for leaders out there that are trying to guide men into prayer. There are a couple of questions that I want to ask you about the previous context. First, was it hard to get men to show up? Just, in short, was it hard to get guys to show up?
Justin: I thought that that was going to be the case. And here’s a thing. Like when it comes to prayer, you just – there can’t be gimmicks. Like I – it’s a God thing. And so really I prayed about this. And in the conversations, I just saw – and tried to notice what the Lord’s doing in another – in other guy’s lives. And I knew it was going to be a small gathering, and I was okay with that.
Justin: And I think if we start small but believe big–
Vince: Okay, so let me – let me interrupt. So tell us how many guys. ‘Cause I think it’s okay. How many guys showed up for this meeting?
Justin: Yeah, so our very first time that we met–
Justin: We actually had about a dozen men show up.
Vince: Oh that’s – that’s more than I thought.
Justin: And I was, and I was flawed. I was excited.
Justin: And you know what? Yesterday morning – today’s a Friday. Yesterday morning, we had 5 guys. And it’s probably fluctuated anywhere from 5 to a dozen for the last 2 and a half years. But one of the ways that I’ve sought to grow what happens on those, Thursday morning – is, is seeing what men were consistent. What men had a growing passion for prayer. And what men I could select to – in a more specific, intentional way – to then mentor them to lead, be leaders in prayer. So not just be men that pray, but being prayer leaders.
Vince: Okay. So here’s, here’s what I’m hearing now. Because I’ve been a Pastor for about 25 years. And I want to make sure that the leaders out there understand what they’re getting themselves into. It’s not getting them into this kinda big gimmick event thing that draws a bunch of people in. We’re trying to draw a certain kind of guy in. We’re inviting him to be a part of a process. And there may not be hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people coming. And that’s okay, right?
Justin: Yeah, I think so. Of course, I would love to see that. I’d love to see every single man in our church be there on a Thursday morning. But I think the key to getting men to pray, and to pray together is – there needs to be variety. And a certain time a week’s not going to work for every guy. And so – but what we’ve sought to do is – and again, this is a principle to build prayer sidewalks along common footpaths in your– In the life of the church.
And this works in your own personal life too, is – where are people already gathering? What activity’s already happening? And how can we build the prayer into it? And I’m only one person, so I can only do so much, so–
Justin: I’ve sought then to take a smaller group of men and lead them through an experience of saying, “Here, here’s how I’ve been mentored in prayer.” You guys have actually been – experienced it first. So we actually had the experience first, then the explanation. We often go explanation then experience.
Justin: And so, we’ve been praying together for a year and a half. And then, about – almost a year ago, I cast a vision. And it came out of a – just my daily reading of scripture and talking in – into second Samuel of David and his 30 mighty men. And I thought, “What would 30 mighty men of prayer look like?”
And so we have a vision that I’m pursuing by God’s grace to have – develop 30 mighty men of prayer over the next 30 months. And to develop them, equip them, train them, empower them. Release them to be praying men and praying leaders in their families and the areas of influence of leadership of the church, in their workplace. And it has been such a blessing to see how God has used these men in those areas – various areas of influence in their lives in prayer.
Vince: Okay so now here’s how I’m hearing that as a leader. Just saying it back to you is – you just started with a very simple vision, and said, “Hey look, I want to pass this on to other men that can lead others over 30 months. 30 guys, 30 months.” And then you’ve said to yourself – and almost convinced yourself before you began that – look, this is not going to be a big gathering, but it’s going to influence – it’s going to influence all kinds of other ministries of the church.
Meaning you’re going to replicate yourself in such a way that these guys are going to influence your board meeting, your committee meetings, your youth ministry, your men’s – men’s gatherings etc etc. And these guys are going to bring prayer into the places that they infiltrate in the church, in the home, in the workplace. And you’re just going to teach them.
And you’re going to keep it exciting, and you’re going to use certain patterns. And they’re going to engage. Some of them are going to be faithful, some of them not. But you’re going to allow the strategy to infiltrate everything that happens. I think that sounds really interesting and doable by most leaders. How has – how have you seen results from this over the last couple of years?
Justin: Yeah, yeah absolutely. Well, I think – again – just starting with praying with other men and this persevering in that place of prayer. There are a lot of – a lot of mornings – myself as the leader of the prayer meeting didn’t want to show up, ’cause I was just tired.
Vince: Thank you for being honest.
Justin: I will be honest in saying that. But let me tell you what, I have never left a Thursday morning prayer time thinking, “Oh, I wish I would’ve slept in today.” Like it’s, it’s amazing to see what God has done. And the way that – I have seen men now, from that time – lead their wives in prayer. Take the passage of scripture that we prayed through out of that morning, and then bring it into their family devotions. Bring it into board meetings. And bring it into a small group.
We’ve seen God bring physical healing, provide jobs. Release and work – really do miraculous things, just from persevering in prayer. And my particular heart as a leader – I was strategic in who I picked to be part of that first group. As I picked men that were a part of the various leadership areas and leadership teams of our church.
So I picked 2 men from our leadership board, 2 men from our deacon board, and 2 men from our mission board. And that’s where I began. And it’s been so cool to see and to share with them – leading now others in prayer. And to see this – from this small beginning, in this smaller group of men – as you said earlier, Vince. Is now impacting dozens of other people throughout the church.
Vince: And see that’s – that’s small beginnings, but massive influence, right? I think that’s exactly what Jesus did. He took a few guys that changed the world. And he poured into them his passion and his discipline for prayer. Even though he didn’t have to, like you’ve said before. And I think that’s beautiful. And this makes this doable for any Pastor, any men’s leader, any leader in a church anywhere. This just makes it very, very doable. Just don’t make it gimmicky as you say.
Make it simple, invite people, identify them – and encourage them to be a part of a process for a period of time. That helps them to engage with the motive, and the method and the mission of prayer like you’ve done. Justin, this is so encouraging for me as a man, me as a leader. Thank you so much for paving the way in your church around prayer.
Because I tell you, I speak at churches all the time. I’m always filling pulpits. And on Sunday mornings – the first place I go is to the prayer gathering. And I can tell you in most situations in most churches – there’s very, very few people – if ever more than a handful there. And yet we know that prayer has the power to change us, and the power to change our churches. So thank you so much for leading the way.
Justin: Oh well, again – I’m just – one small part, and I’m struggling like all the rest of you. And I’m just – I’m grateful that I can do it together with other men and other brothers and sisters in Christ. So thank you, it’s been an honor to be a part of this podcast.
Vince: Well guys, that’s the show. Thanks so much for listening again. As we close, I want to remind you that we have great content for your men’s group on our website. Excellent small group videos, participant handbooks that empower the men of your church to lead. We also have men’s daily devotionals. This leadership podcast, and other tools to help you build the men around you.
Check it all out at beresolute.org. Or you can send me a direct email at [email protected] If you send me a personal email, I will give you a free trial membership, so that you can give some of these tools a spin with the men that you lead. And as always, I say – I want you to enjoy these podcasts, but please know that the time we spent together is worthless unless you choose to act on it. So do something today, by getting off the bench and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time on another edition of The Resolute Podcast.