The Discipline of a Consistent, Connected Prayer Life

The Discipline of a Consistent, Connected Prayer Life

1 Thess. 1:2, 3:9-10, 5:17, 25

A couple of guys show up for a prayer meeting and find that they are vastly outnumbered by women. It is a common scene one might find in most American churches. If a church has a prayer ministry, a prayer chain, or a prayer meeting you will find no lack of women and comparatively few men. 

But the aforementioned scene I described didn’t take place in an American church. In fact, it is a snapshot of a prayer meeting that happened about 2000 years ago by a river in ancient Roman city of Philippi. The two men are Paul and Silas. The Bible says that Paul and Silas go down to a place of prayer on the Sabbath and they speak to the women there. If there are men present, they are not mentioned.

Men struggle with prayer. And if the scene we find in Acts 16 is any indicator, this has been a struggle for men since the church began. Men are willing to work in the church. They are willing to attend Bible studies (though statistically in smaller numbers as women) but when there is a call to prayer, most men vanish. 

Why is this? Perhaps it is because men are fixers. They see a problem and want to solve it. Prayer is a slow, humbling approach to problems. Prayer is an admission of insufficiency. Prayer is submission. It requires a man to spend time talking to someone he cannot see. Prayer calls for a man to relinquish control of a situation so God can do what only God can do. 

Given the choice, most men had rather watch a YouTube video and do it himself than to ask for someone else’s help. This mentality might explain why men are reluctant to pray. 

In my years of prayer there is one thing I have found effective in getting a man on his knees. Crisis. Tragedy. Brokenness. When a man finds the burden of life is too much for him his knees will buckle and he will cry out to God. My dad was a good man. He was faithful in church but he was not a praying man. But when my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor prayer became a priority for him. 

So when it comes to this study, can we not admit that men are at a cancerous place of loneliness that is metastasizing in their soul? Are men not in sufficient enough of a relational crisis in being disconnected from God and others that would cause them to pray?

In my opinion, men are in a crisis of loneliness. It is time to pray!

Paul was a prayerful man. He prayed for others and he asked that they pray for him. Paul’s prayerfulness is reflected throughout 1 Thessalonians.

  • We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers . . . 1 Thess. 1:2
  • For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith? 1 Thess. 3:9-10
  • Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess. 5:17
  • Brothers, pray for us. 1 Thess. 5:25

As we study this short book don’t lose sight that Paul is geographically distanced from these people and satanically opposed from returning to them (2:17-18). But it is through prayer that Paul stays close and connected.

This letter is not a part of a text conversation. Today we enjoy instantaneous communication. The exchange of these letters would have taken months. But Paul stays close to these people as He brings them before God in prayer.

And that’s why I’ve chosen this book for this study. In it we see how Paul has the heart of God and the heart of these people. He stays connected. We will see some principles and disciplines men need to observe in their lives so that they can be connected to God and to others. And it all begins with prayer. 

The discipline of a consistent prayer life connects a man to God and to others. 

As we survey Paul’s mentions of prayer in 1 Thessalonians we are challenge that as men we need a disciplined prayer life in which we consistently pray:

At specific times

For specific needs

For specific people

Specific Times

Notice the time signatures that are on Paul’s prayer life:

1:2 - Constantly

3:9-10 - Night and Day

5:17 - Without ceasing

Pew Research ( reports that:

  • 57% of Christians pray daily
  • Of those who pray daily, men are the minority making up only 41% of that number.

There are various statistics about the amount of time we spend in prayer, almost nothing reported is specific to men. But from what I have found a vast majority of Christians who pray daily, spend less than 30 minutes a day in prayer. Most spend about 5-10 minutes a day in prayer. 

In the Bible we see men like Job, Abraham, and Moses who had regular times with God in prayer. This is especially true of Jesus. As we read through the gospels we see that Jesus regularly pausing His day (particularly the morning) to pray. 

Men know they need to pray and I believe most men would like to be more prone to pray. If you want to pray more:

  1. Set regular times for prayer and protect them. We see Paul mention in 3:9-10 that he prayed “night and day” for the Thessalonians. While this is an idiom to express the constant nature of Paul’s prayer life, it also reflects a discipline we see mentioned often in Scripture, especially the Psalms. The regular routine of Jewish men was to pray morning and evening. Daniel 6:10 tells us that Daniel prayed three times a day.
  2. Pray Scripture to stay focused. A reason a lot of men struggle in prayer is because their mind wanders away as they pray. We begin to think of the things we have to do during the day or about the ballgame we watched last night. Our digital society has shortened our attention spans. It goes without saying that we need to work on focus. But the best thing to do to help you remain focused in prayer is to pray Scripture. Read a passage and pray through it. Allow it to form your prayer list for the day.

Specific Needs

A consistent prayer life increases our faith in God. Don’t we want to be men who can confidently say as Paul did in 5:24, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” That kind of faith grows in the petri dish of prayer. How much would it help you as a man to be so connected to God in prayer that you didn’t necessarily know when or what God was going to do, but that surely he would do it?

John R. Rice said that “prayer is asking.” We see this reflected in the Lord’s prayer as Jesus teaches us to ask God day by day for our daily bread. 

Men get discouraged in prayer because they don’t see God answer prayer. Paul was confident that the Lord “would surely do it.” Many men don’t see God doing anything. If this is true of you, my question would be, what are you asking God to do?

Most people pray generally: God bless me, God help me, God forgive me. Here’s my question. What would you be looking for “God to surely do” based on a prayer like that? Imagine you were ordering food at your favorite restaurant and the waiter comes to take your order. They ask, “What would you like to have?” What would be your response? Would you ask them to bless you and help you or would you order a steak?

I’m not suggesting that prayer is like ordering off of a menu. God isn’t our waiter - He’s the Almighty Creator, Hallowed be THY NAME! So let’s be mindful and in awe of God when we approach Him in prayer, but let’s be specific. You can’t know how God is answering prayer if you are not looking for how God is answering prayer.

I would encourage you to have a notebook in which you track your prayer requests. Perhaps keep a piece of paper in the front of your Bible where you track 5 or 10 requests you bring consistently before God. 

I have several ways I do this. I have a prayer closet in my office where I use a cork board to pin my requests. On the altar in my prayer closet I have a pile of notes that were once requests on the wall but God has answered prayer. That sort of tangible record increases my faith and encourages me that “surely God will do it.” Pray specifically.

For Specific People

Paul had a vested interest in the Thessalonians because he prayed for them. 2 questions for every man:

  • Who is on your prayer list?
  • Who’s prayer list are you on?

I want to challenge you before you leave this session:

  • Get some guys on your prayer list.
  • Get on some other guys prayer lists.

Week to week (preferably day by day) share your requests with these guys. Talk about what the Lord is doing and what you are looking for the Lord to do. Watch how God answers your prayer, increases your faith, and connects you to these other men. 


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