There’s a song that used to play on the radio as I was growing up.
It was a simple song, with a repetitive chorus and a catchy tune. The man sang, pleading with men to respond and surrender to God; to be accountable to Him so that they can be good leaders.
I was not a Christian growing up, but I had a peripheral awareness of Christianity. Hearing this song, I thought, “Hmmm, that’s cool”, and shrugged it off.
I recently stumbled across this old song on Apple Music.
Now that I am a professing Christian – and married as well – the song has so much more depth and significance to me. With a better understanding of what God designed marriage to be, I can almost feel the both the lament and the heart’s cry behind the song.
Many men are struggling to rise up
Many men are struggling. They may have been raised with religion or in a Christian home, but their struggle to rise up and lead is all too real.
As a result, many marriages are struggling. Many wives grapple with respecting their husbands because of their struggles. Christian wives, especially, are taught to expect so much more from our Christian counterparts.
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church….
We say to our husbands, “you are the leader, you take responsibility”, and yet we want to rise up in our own identity and calling, too. We want to have a degree of independent growth, to have our thoughts heard, and have our emotional needs attended to as well. That’s a tall order by any stretch of the imagination!
Over the years, I’ve watched my husband grow into his role as husband and leader. It has not been easy for him. Sometimes we think that being the leader is the easier or the more fun part of the relationship.
The challenge is that most men today aren’t raised or trained to be godly husbands and leaders of their families. Most men aren’t prepared or ready to be godly husbands and leaders of strong, sometimes stubborn, often emotional women. It may sound trite, but modern men are dealing with a lot of things that they just haven’t been prepared for.
While there’s an outcry over gender equality and women’s rights, men have had increasing responsibilities too. There was a time not long ago when men could just go to work, do a good job and bring home the bacon, and that was enough.
We’re all in the same boat
Now, we are all in the same shoes, facing the same challenges of a dynamic world, shifting roles and changing expectations of marriage, parenting and manhood.
Men need to be aware of what’s going on around them – they are now often more involved in raising their children, maintaining their homes and caring for their communities.
These are new roles and responsibilities on their plates. They may not always do great at adapting, changing and responding to them very rapidly. But the truth is that the world is changing and there’s a lot of pressure not just on women, but on men as well.
When you look at the past, the church hasn’t had the best track record of “fathering”. We’ve done well in some spheres, but now, when you say, “Father”, in the context of a church, for many people that has connotations that you may actually be referring to a priest.
That’s a loaded connotation – what’s top of mind today when people think “priest”, is that they think of a “father” who has abused and taken advantage of those under his care.
In that sense at least, modern Christianity doesn’t have many great male role models.
Men Are Not the Enemy
When I play that song, I don’t just hear the music – I hear a prayer and intercession.
It may sound crazy, in the midst of the anti men / male privilege movement that says any compassion for men is either a sign of weakness or questions why you sympathizing with the enemy… but men are not our enemy.
We have a true enemy, Satan, who has been attacking marriages and relationships between men and women, husbands and wives, since the beginning of time.
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood.
This song of my childhood past has, in many ways, become my prayer and intercession for my husband.
It reminds me that, it’s not easy for him, being married to a woman who is curious about the world, always wants to understand “why”, and speaks her mind from time to time.
A woman who has also only recently begun to get the hang of sandwiching – both the bread sandwich, but also the good feedback, not-so-good feedback, good feedback communication method – amidst all the other practical challenges of marriage and healthy communication skills.
Women, Let’s Pray
Women, if we want to see God moving in our lives and in the world around us, we need to pray for our men to respond to God, to humble themselves before Him and seek his face, to be Spirit-led so that they can be good leaders.
If you’re married, please pray for your husband.
If you are single, pray for the men in your community, pray for the husbands and the fathers around you, in your church and at your workplace.
Today, God, I pray for our men.
I pray that they would be able to hear your voice leading them, so clearly. I ask that You would give them strength and wisdom to lead.
Give them tender hearts of mercy to hear Your heart for their families. Teach them to pray boldly and to lead with conviction, courage and compassion.
I ask that you would release into men the grace to walk through life’s storms, through the ups and downs, worldly success or seeming failures. Help them to know that You go before them, lighting the way, and that You will never leave them nor abandon them.
Let them walk humbly, seek justice, and love mercy as they walk into their destiny and calling. Give them faith, hope and unwavering trust in You to accomplish everything you have called them to do.
Let them be more like you, Jesus, in everything they do. In your name I ask and pray.