Thursday, April 5, 2012

Praying Men

by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church

"I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting" (1 Timothy 2:8, italics mine).

The reasons for the weakness and shallowness of the American church are manifold and too many to list, but here are a few of them: There has been a general failure to preach and teach the whole council of God which can be attributed to a loss of confidence in the word to build up the church. As a result the church has turned to a myriad of programs to attract the world to the church and has become more like the world in the process. Many churches no longer have a Sunday evening service and have abandoned a midweek prayer meeting. The result of this is that Christians are spending too much time in the world doing the things of the world, and as a consequence, they begin to look and act like the world. The dramatic cultural shift brought about by the rise of feminism has also greatly impacted the church. To a great extent men have lost, neglected or have simply abdicated their traditional leadership role in society. A similar neglect and even abdication is also evident in many churches.

This is not to downplay the vital role that women play in the life of the church (some churches would not survive without faithful women). But, it is to stress that when men neglect or abandon their God- given leadership roles in the church, the church is no longer able to fulfill the mandate to make biblical disciples. The Bible teaches the absolute equality of men and women in Christ (Gal.3:26-29), but it also teaches that there are distinct roles for men and women (1 Tim. 2:8-3:13). To put it simply, men are to lead in the church and women are to provide support. Both roles are vital and both have equal honor. When a church follows this pattern it is building on the right foundation.

The particular areas of male leadership are identified in the passage as leading in prayer (2:8), leading in preaching and teaching (2:12), leading in church administration (3:1,8) and providing leadership in the home (3:4,12). I think that the order in which these appear are not accidental. Prayer is the starting point or the foundation on which a life of biblical manhood is built (study of the word of God while not mentioned in this section is, of course, implied). The early church followed the customs of the synagogue so when Paul stressed male leadership in prayer it would not have been surprising to his readers, it would have been natural. Anything less would have been surprising. So, I want to challenge the men of Rehoboth Baptist Church to take the leadership in prayer in the home and at church. Men, you should be leading your family in prayer and you should be leading the church in prayer. There is no excuse for failure in this essential biblical discipline. If the men of the church neglect to lead in this one point they will be prone to neglect in every other point as well. So, brother, fulfill your biblical mandate!

For the kingdom and His glory,
Pastor Ron

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