A Man’s Guide to Prayer: Part 2
What are the characteristics of men who pray? Discover how to live out a commitment to prayer in another excerpt from Patrick Morley’s new and expanded book, “A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.”
By Patrick Morley
Founder of Man in the Mirror
What Are The Characteristics Of Men Who Pray?
From the day of my salvation, I wanted to relate with God at an intimate level. I knew that would be accomplished through developing a habit of prayer, so I invested time studying men who pray “a lot.” I found them in Scripture, literature, and contemporary life. From their examples, I found three characteristics:
- They spent time in the “school of prayer.”
- They came to see prayer as the most powerful and efficient use of their time.
- They’ve made prayer their first priority.
How Do You Live Out A Commitment To Prayer?
In Luke 11:1, the disciples said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” There is a language of prayer. You, too, can pray Jesus’ way by studying His prayers. Emulate other men who pray with authenticity. And read some of the great saints on prayer—Andrew Murray’s classic book With Christ in the School of Prayer is one of many wonderful resources. Beyond Jesus’ words, also watch for His heart attitude.
We live on a lake where I rowed at sunrise for a dozen years. My one-person scull measures twenty-five feet long and, fully rigged, weighs only forty-two pounds. Since the beam is less than twelve inches, it’s very tippy.
Practice does not necessarily mean progress.
One day a neighbor said, “You look so peaceful and calm out there rowing.” Let me tell you what’s really going on out there. This twenty-five-foot toothpick has no stability. It’s always wanting to plunk me into the water. I replied, “I don’t feel so peaceful. I’m hanging on for dear life!” That’s because, basically, I only took a couple of lessons in the first year but hadn’t learned anything new since then.
Practice does not necessarily mean progress. Until I learned something new about the art of rowing, I never got any better. The same can be said of prayer. Someone can pray—they can even say a lot when they pray—but that doesn’t mean they know how to pray. To get better, we need to sit with Jesus in the school of prayer. That means we study His Word to discover how to converse with Him.
We’ve all been through situations where we asked and did not receive.
Here’s an example. Early one day on their way to the temple, Jesus and His disciples passed a fig tree that had no fruit. Jesus cursed the tree, and by the next morning, that tree had withered. Peter noticed and commented on it. Here’s Jesus’ response:
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ . . . it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:22–26)
That passage provides great motivation for prayer. Yet we’ve all been through situations where we asked and did not receive. Why? Let’s sit in the school of prayer, laying that alongside James 4:3, which says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
As men, we experience a lifelong tug-of-war between James 4:3 and Mark 11. The juxtaposition of these two passages reveals the difference between prayer that wells up from our own selfish desires and prayer that flows from seeking God’s will. That’s one example of what it means to sit with Jesus in the school of prayer.
Learn how prayer can be a two-way conversation rather than a one-way monologue. Click here for Patrick Morley’s FREE guide to prayer on YouVersion to further explore how to make prayer a habit and determine multiple ways to help incorporate this discipline into your daily life.
Take the Next Step
Have you wanted to cultivate a deeper walk with God? Let Patrick Morley help you craft a personalized set of spiritual practices. In his new and expanded book, A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines, you will discover twelve energizing habits that can strengthen your walk with Jesus. Click here to learn more or buy now.