The Mission of Prayer for Men
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.