The Method of Prayer for Men

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.

PODCAST:

TRANSCRIPT:

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.

Vince: Yeah.

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 info@beresolute.org. 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.