“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1 Tim. 2:8)
The new normal for men is that they are to be loving leaders in the home and in the church. Men, we are to be humble spiritual leaders. One of the key areas we are to lead in is in prayer. When we pray we recognize our position under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and set the example for those that we lead. Paul gives the instruction on prayer and then he addresses the men saying that we are to be the ones that lead in offering public prayers, “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1 Tim. 2:8). Men, we are complex when it comes to leading. Either we do not lead or when we do we abuse the God given authority that has been given to us and we lead with anger and malice. This shows up often in the way we lead in our prayer lives as well. Either we don’t lead in prayer or when we do we pray out of hypocrisy, as we lift up unholy sinful hands. This is the struggle of men. Either a sin of omission, by never stepping up to the plate and leading, or the sin of commission, by having major problems when it comes to anger and malice. We can see this pattern as we trace the lives of the disciples who were with Jesus. Right before Jesus told them to watch and pray as He went off, what did they do? They fell asleep. Jesus was taking the gospel to the Samaritans and He was met with a little bit of resistance and what did two of the disciples do? They wanted to call down fire and brimstone from heaven and have God destroy the place. Men, we must watch and guard our hearts. We are the ones addressed as to not provoke our children to anger (Eph. 6:4).
"The new normal for men is that they are to be loving leaders in the home and in the church."
Furthermore I think something else stands out about this text. That is the reluctance of men to be expressive publicly, whether in prayers or worship. Paul is urging them to lift up their holy hands. We are like those guys I see driving expensive sports cars every time I am running. I wave to every car I run by to make sure they see me. The ones that never wave back are usually driving a Mercedes or Corvette. They are too cool. We often think we are too cool. Lead by example by being expressive in your prayers and in your worship to God.
"Lead by example by being expressive in your prayers and in your worship to God."
Loving Leadership and Prayer Go Hand and Hand
Loving leadership by men and leading in public prayer really goes hand in hand. Men are to pray. Men are too lead. However, our prayers will be hindered if we lift up unholy hands. When Peter was addressing the men of the church as to how they lead their wives, he made this point, “Likewise, husbands live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the women as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). See the connection between our conduct and our prayers? As we lead in praying we must do it with holy hands that are lifted up.
Men, listen to me right now. What transgressions and sins are you habitually committing against your wife or your children? Do you have an anger problem? Do you have severe problems with pride? Do you have a problem with pornography? Do you continually lie to your wife? My friends, in love, she needs you to step up. The church needs you to. Do not go on living with these lies. Single guys in a relationship. Are you defiling your the marriage bed by habitually having sex before you are married? This affects your leadership. This affects your ability to lead in prayer. I beg you for the sake of the women in your lives, the children in your lives, and this church to stop. Seek help. We need to raise up a generation of loving leaders and that will not happen until we can lift up holy hands.
A Note to the Women
Ladies, let me make a few things clear. This does not get you off the hook from praying nor does it mean that you can’t, or should not, pray in public. What it means is that men need to lead the charge in it. It means men are to step up and not stand behind their wives in spiritual matters.
"Behind every godly man is a godly, supportive, and encouraging wife."
Furthermore, if you can listen to one thing that I say in this blog post today, please listen to this point; your role is not to make your husband the leader when it comes to praying and leading. Your role is not to continually inform him when he makes mistakes and also continually lecture him on the right decisions to make. If you do this you will bottleneck him. Don’t leave today and say to him, “So when are you going to start leading in prayer. When are you going to start leading in general?” Do not do this. Your new number one job is to be his encourager. Don’t point out his flaws or lecture him. Just simply pick out something he is doing well and encourage him in that. This will do more to get him to lead than being a hen pecking at him all the time. Encourage him to meet with other guys. Encourage him to pursue mentoring. Let the guy work on his leadership, you work on making sure that he cannot wait to come home each and everyday because he knows that he is going home to his number one cheerleader. I have yet to meet a man that does not lead in an environment like this. Behind every godly man is a godly, supportive, and encouraging wife.
Contributor / Eric Stewart
Eric Stewart is the Lead Pastor of ONElife Church in Flint, MI.