First posted in 2011. Author: Mark Huckstep
Why should men pray together? Especially, why should men group together to pray (at certain set times) only with men? Shouldn’t our prayer meetings reflect our heterogeneous, mixed-gender society and Christian community?
Certainly the Jews and ancient Armenians separate men and women for times of prayer, but should we, Bible-believing Christians have meetings with only one gender represented?
The Bible instructs men to lift up holy hands in prayer – should not this be read as generic ‘people,’ ie ‘men and women’?
The benefit of praying together at certain times as men lies partially in the fact that men are put together differently to women – seeing the world through ‘masculine’ lenses – perhaps less intuitive than women, focusing instead on the structure of a problem, its relationship to other issues, and moving swiftly to proposed solutions. On the spiritual level men are more naturally warriors and can delight in spiritual warfare rather than simply enduring it.
In mixed-group settings, men can be spiritually dormant, especially on the key issue of hearing from the Lord. Women frequently find receiving revelation – words, pictures, insights – far easier than men do. Because of this, in a mixed-gender group, prophetic women can set the scene and the tone, with the men following their lead, perhaps reluctantly at times.
In a male-only prayer group, the men must do the hard spiritual work of hearing from the Lord, asking Him questions and then exercising faith to hear Him speak. This develops the gifts of the men so that they are able to hear the Lord in other contexts, including times when the whole congregation comes together.
In addition, uniquely male ways of praying can be quite irritating or upsetting to women, with the result that in mixed prayer groups men rein themselves in, aware that their sisters may disapprove of their masculine ways. This danger is especially prevalent in the liberal West, where unaffirmed men and women brought up on a diet of contemporary feminism live in a deeply unbiblical imbalance, in which women are tacitly expected to lead the corporate encounter with the Lord.
Of course, a man should leave an all-male prayer meeting not only strengthened in his gifts but in greater love and humility towards his wife, sister and daughters than when he entered. A male school of prayer prepares men to re-enter other parts of life more equipped to fulfill their calling of loving, servant-hearted leadership.
Heavenly Father, as men we pray for your world. We bring you every leader of nations, ministries, councils, schools, hospitals, the military forces of the world…we pray that each leader would find Jesus the Saviour. We pray for your will to be done, your kingdom to come, in every political situation on earth.
We pray for families. Bless and heal marriages worldwide. Bring Christian couples together in love and truth and unity. Bring children worldwide to a saving knowledge of Jesus, Son of God, Saviour and King. Cause children and young people to choose to follow Jesus through all adversity.
We pray for the leaders of the church. Break every attack by the forces of darkness against Christian leaders, pastors, ministers, missionaries, worship leaders and intercessors. Fill the people of God with your Holy Spirit. Heal, deliver, comfort and equip every Christian, to make him or her ready for a life of worship, proclamation of truth and courageous living and witness. Bring the scattered people of God to unity in the truth of Scripture and unity in the love and grace of the Holy Spirit.
We pray for the Jews, your ancient, covenant people. Bring Jews to a knowledge of their Messiah and King, Yeshua. We pray for the land of Israel. Protect this nation by your mighty strength. Thwart the plans of the enemies of Israel. Cause truth and righteousness and mercy to flourish in Israeli government and society. Despite all that they have suffered, enable Israelis to be merciful and generous to other races in their midst.
We look for your return with eagerness and longing and expectancy.
Come, Lord Jesus!