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Monday, August 9, 2010
Man Up Monday this week is a call for husbands to invest themselves fully in the spiritual vitality of their homes.

I mentioned in my post Vive La Difference that there were two areas where the reader survey responses differed most between the men and women respondents. Men had a much greater interest in understanding the opposite sex (no surprise, but that is a post topic for another time). Women, on the other hand, had a much greater interest in spiritual issues than men did.

Women’s Work?

I’m not sure why it is, but it seems that many husbands seem to think that spiritual matters are principally the domain of their wives. It may not be true in your case, but my observation, born out by the survey, is that men tend to take shrink back from the responsibility for the spiritual atmosphere and direction of their household.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, men, the leadership and authority you have in your home begin in the spiritual realm. I’m not trying to beat you up with that statement, but rather to simply make you aware of a biblical truth. If you haven’t been aware of this before, or if you’ve not acted on it, the question is what will you do about it now?

What is a Spiritual Leader?

What does it mean for a husband to be the spiritual leader of his home? It doesn’t mean you have to become a theologian. It doesn’t mean you have to get into some kind of spiritual competition with your wife. It doesn’t mean many of the things you might be afraid it means.

Spiritual leadership starts with making your own spiritual journey a priority. Don’t get trapped by the mindset that equates spirituality with a whole bunch of rules and requirements, as if jumping through enough holy hoops will somehow bring you close to God and empower you to lead your family. Let me encourage to forget the rules and focus on relationship. When relationship is right, the rules take care of themselves.

Start with Prayer

Although ultimately you are the one who must decide how you will lead your wife and home spiritually, let me give you a place to start. Prayer.

Prayer, which is nothing more than conversation with God, is the foundation of our relationship with him. And it’s a very low-overhead way to jumpstart the spiritual leadership of your home. Pray as you drive to work. Pray with your wife, at bed-time or in the morning or both. Pray with your kids. Pray as a family. Make prayer a priority, but don’t make a religion out of prayer itself. It’s fine to develop prayer habits and routines, but be aware that the most important thing is to keep it real. Make every prayer a genuine conversation. And you don’t need to worry if you feel you can’t pray flowery, beautiful, eloquent prayers. God is pleased by the genuine expression of your heart, not by the impressiveness of your words.

Keeping Prayer at the Center

If you are already walking in authority as spiritual leader of your home, let me congratulate you. But let me also encourage you to infuse your efforts with more prayer. I have to constantly remind myself that my walk with God is based on my relationship with him and not on what I do for him. I would say that, given a choice between the two, he would much rather I be with him than do for him. Although I’m a long way from it, I want to get to the place where I live my life is an open prayer, much as the way Jesus did when he walked on the earth.

Another hard thing for me is to develop a natural and immediate prayer response. I have a tendency to say things like, “We should pray about that,” putting it off for later, which doesn’t always happen. It’s more effective if I can just say instead, “Let’s pray about that right now.” It isn’t always possible to stop and pray, but it’s possible a lot more times than I actually do it.

And a last thing that I strive for is to make sure my conversations with God aren’t just one way. I should spend as much time listening as I do talking, but that is a really hard one for me. When I do it, though, I find that it makes a huge difference. God has so many good things to say to us!

How about it men? Are you ready to man up and join with me in making prayer a higher priority? Do you have some tips from your own prayer life that you can offer the husbands here?


Anonymous said...

A soft heart is not a weak heart. Gentle Lord, form soft hearts in us men as we learn from You - so we can lead in strength in our homes.

I stand with you in this, Scott.

Scott said...


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