This past Wednesday I published a new episode (episode 24) to our Biblical Manhood podcast, subtitled, “The List”. Being part of a series on dating and marriage, the episode dealt with a list of character qualities that a man should look for in a potential wife. On this list were qualities such as inward beauty, modesty, gentleness, kindness, etc. It was an insightful topic, and I’d highly encourage you guys to check it out. Here’s a link if you’re interested: valiantmi.com/podcast.
However, I think that if we spend too much time trying to identify the right kind person to marry, we’ll totally overlook the need to be the right person ourselves. Being the kind of man that a truly virtuous woman would want to marry is the best way to attract a virtuous woman. Because, in all honesty, you’re not going to be of any interest to a woman of God if you won’t be a man of God. This is where the subject of this blog post comes in.
Now, you may be thinking, based on the title of this post, “What does being a man of prayer have anything to do with relationships?” You’ll see in a moment. However, for the time being, let’s depart from the subject of relationships and focus on the need for a man to grow in godly character, without the ulterior motive of finding a mate. Let’s simply deal with the critical matter of your personal relationship with God.
I want to start off by explaining what exactly I mean by being a “man of prayer”. In the church today the term, “prayer”, has become relatively meaningless to most men. Traditional religion has diluted its significance, making it of little value to the majority of Christians. In reality, prayer is a simple way to describe the daily investment into a relationship with God. Intimacy with God is the heart of prayer. Taking the time every day to talk to God and heed His Word is the essence of a prayerful lifestyle. And a prayerful lifestyle is one that will see increasing success in all areas of life.
As men, it can be our tendency to try to be the macho man — to validate our masculinity by making attempts to shoulder every burden ourselves. But this kind of man is not one that pleases God. It’s stupid to live with pride such as that. Your efforts to be a self-made macho man are exactly what disqualify you from the honor of wearing the badge of real masculinity. Prayerfulness is the opposite; it may also be defined by a lifestyle of surrendered dependence, void of any pride. A man who depends absolutely on the guidance he receives from the Lord through his relationship with Him is also characteristic of a prayerful man. A man of prayer is a man who’s surrendered to Jesus, and dares not be so arrogant as to do life his own way. To be a man of prayer is to live as one who is led by the wisdom of God, and not by his own human reasoning.
When it comes to preparing oneself for a future marriage, if you’ve trained yourself to be dependent on the Lord in everything, you’re prepared for the role of leadership that’s included in family life. Any truly godly woman will be looking for a man who knows how to lead from a place following after Christ. Leadership becomes much easier when it’s simply the outworking of a life that mimics Jesus’ life; Jesus has already spelled out His instructions for living a skillful and abundant life in His Word. If you form a habit of trying to lead merely out of your own natural knowledge, you’re setting yourself up for devastating failure.
Simply put, the kind of man that will attract a godly woman is a man who’s a diligent follower of Christ — tender-hearted, teachable, and sensitive to the will of God in any given circumstance. Making efforts to appear strong and masculine is a sign of pride and self-reliance. Yes, there’s a time when boldness and strength is necessary, but I don’t mean the kind of strength that most men interpret as uncontrolled aggression. I mean the kind of strength that always defends the truth and stands in the face of hatred with relentless love — a man who is not overcome by evil, but overcomes evil with good. And such qualities of Christ-like strength are only developed through a sensitivity to the Lord. A tender heart before God is the fertile soil that receives seed to grow in virtues of wisdom, leadership, boldness, and love.
If I were to describe the kind of man that will see a strong, healthy marriage and raise wise, godly children, prayerfulness would definitely be on the top of my list. Why? Because prayerfulness is characteristic of a man who’s made his relationship with God highest priority, and who leads his life as an outworking of his attentive adherence to the leadership of Christ. This is true biblical manhood.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” – Proverbs 3:5-7
“Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” – Psalm 119:2