Robin J Johnson
Firstly a special acknowledgement and a very big thank you to my wonderful wife for her love, encouragement, support and her invaluable contribution to this edition.
Though this prayer initiative has its emphasis on men, they are not our sole focus. In reality we want to support and interact with both men and women. MPM is definitely not about men versus women. It is instead about focusing on an area that needs a major shift and so it is to motivate, empower and see more men seriously praying. If men walk in the manner God intended, if they rise and live as the Lord ordained, if they become the prayer warriors that they are called to be, then the flow-on effect will result in even greater blessing to all and bring transformation.
As I have said on many, many occasions, “Thank God for every praying woman!”
I hate to think where we would be without our mighty women. On numerous occasions, after speaking at an event, where both men and women are present, it is the women who come up first to thank me for what we are trying to achieve. Women want their men to be men with a heart after God reflecting who He is and taking their rightful place empowered by the Holy Spirit.
My encouragement to every man reading this, is honor and respect every woman in your life; your mum, wife, sister, daughter, colleague, whoever she may be. Honor them and treat them with the greatest respect. Even in this day and age, women all over the world face enormous challenges and in too many cases, hardship for just being a woman. I see this in both developed and undeveloped nations. I find this detestable beyond words! Nobody should be penalized because of his or her God given gender.
Every time I read or hear another News item reporting that another woman has been attacked, bashed, assaulted, raped and/or murdered I cringe and feel sick. Random attacks are awful and deserve our highest condemnation. But when I hear that it was a husband, partner, father, brother or some other close relative, I think my horror (if at all possible) rises even higher. I am fully aware that, “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20), but to be honest there are times when I wished it did.
So what do we do?
There are numerous things we can do, but here are three at least.
- We must make sure that we are doing the right thing by the women in our life. Love, honor and respect them. Husbands; this is a prerequisite for your prayers being answered.
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.
1 Peter 3:7 (NLT)
- Talk openly about our disgust at the wrong treatment of women. Not only the physical abuse, but also when they are unfairly treated simply because they are women. This mistreatment might be in the work place, business, sport or any other arena. Not that a woman should act like a man, but she should not be penalized for being a woman. Things will not change if we do not talk about them.
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them.
- Do not join in the dirty, demeaning jokes and stories about women often told by men.
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
Ephesians 5:4 (NLT)
You need to walk away and if possible voice your objection to such inappropriate demeaning talk. You might choose not to speak up because of being embarrassed or not wanting to be ostracized by the other men. Don’t be silenced by fear, be strong!
The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.
We must make a stand. Christian men should be at the forefront of supporting women and especially when they are able to be involved in the campaign to protect women against violence and abuse.
I still remember, as a little boy, the respect for women (even though unsaved in those days) that my father instilled in me. A little came from what he said to me, but the greater impact came from his actions, by the way he treated women in public among his peers.
I recall one particular occasion: Along with my mum and dad we were attending an after match function at our football club (Rugby Union) and we were among a particular group of people, men and women standing around talking. One guy in particular was expressing his views. He was loud, swearing and using some very bad language. My father immediately interrupted him and said, “Hey watch your language, there are ladies present.”
The man, though not happy, did reign in his foul tongue.
I don’t think there was ever a time while growing up, that I felt more proud of my dad than I did at that moment.
What is your attitude towards women? Does your speech reflect your attitude, the value you place on the women in your life? Have you had a heart check lately? I’m not talking about that physical pump in your chest (though that may not be such a bad idea, as men tend to neglect these things), but our inner being, which defines who we are. That is our true our heart.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Luke 6:45 (NIV)
What are the words coming from your mouth? Especially when you are under pressure, what erupts from off your lips? What we feed on will determine what comes out of us in our words and actions.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Equal partners in ministry
When it comes to women in ministry I have never had an issue. I still do not understand why some men have an issue with equality in ministry. Jesus didn’t and neither did the apostle Paul. A group we once were associated with said that they embraced women ministering, but then I found out that they would not allow them to have a vote when it came to making decisions. That is mere tokenism and it is rude.
A number of years back a lady from our church must have recognized my attitude towards women and arranged an invitation for me to speak at a Women’s Aglow meeting. The organizer said to me, “You know men aren’t usually invited to speak at an Aglow meeting.”
I appreciated their kindness, trust and honor. Yes, and we had an awesome meeting!
Man or mouse
We need to man up! Respect is earned by standing up for what we believe, not wimping out. Some men around us may disagree with our stand, but there will also be others who, though they remain silent, will agree with us. Our boldness might even rub off on another man and give him more courage for the next time when he faces a situation, having to make a choice with regard the treatment of a woman. We, men of God, must stand up and take the lead.
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Yes, when the men take their rightful place the flow-on effect is that everyone benefits. There is a divine order that God has set in place. We must work in harmony with that order or face the consequences of disorder and the pain that accompanies our disobedience.
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
(All scripture references unless otherwise noted are taken from the New American Standard Bible)