I am sharing a post from one of my favorite Dad blogs: All-Pro Dad. I take my faith very seriously but one area I have always struggled with is having a consistent prayer life. It is a frustrating area to struggle with especially when I know how effective prayer can be in a man’s life. What you will read below is a recent submission from Benjamin Watson who is currently the starting Tight End for the New Orleans Saints. He and his wife recently welcomed their fifth (I think) child into the world so he knows a thing or two about marriage, family and the importance of keeping all of that together. Given the temptations NFL players face day in and day out I have great deal of respect and admiration for Mr. Watson. What he wrote challenged me a great deal this morning so I thought I would share it.
He has a new book coming out in November, “Under Our Skin” and I recommend you purchase or download it when it becomes available.
With no further ado I will turn it over to Benjamin.
I once heard a story about a prominent and important clock in the middle of a town. One day, it broke down and the town officials brought in experts to fix the clock. For weeks, they labored but were unable to solve the problem. Meanwhile, every day there stood an old man on the street who kept asking if he could help, and every day he was turned away. Finally, when the town officials had exhausted all of their options, they reluctantly let the old man try. The man entered the building and, within thirty minutes, the clock was working perfectly again. When they asked him how he fixed it, he simply said, “I designed and built that clock.” He knew how every piece functioned and fit together. He was the true expert on how the clock worked because he was the designer. Similarly, God, the Creator of life, knows best how it should be lived. If I really want to live life to its fullest then I need to get to know the Creator and make my life about what He thinks is important. One of the best ways is through prayer.
Recently, I was able to preview a new movie called War Room. One of the main characters is an old and wise woman named Miss Clara. When she is introduced in the movie you can tell she has an inner strength. Eventually, you find out where it comes from. She faithfully prays in a closet in her house that she calls her “War Room”. When she steps into that room, she is strategic and goes to battle for her life and her loved ones. Prayer is such an underutilized tool in my life. War Room challenged me in that area. [Tweet This] It is my best weapon and it is time for me to use it more. Here’s how I pray and why I think it is so important.
God speaks to us through His Word and through prayer. A relationship with a friend, child, or spouse grows with communication. Our relationship with God is no different. How can we expect to know and experience a God we never take the time to commune with? Many times we think that prayer is one-way communication. While that’s a large part of it, the powerful thing about prayer is that God communicates to us during this time. His Spirit helps us in our weakness when we don’t know what or how to pray (Romans 8:26).
There are many dangerous things that my wife and kids can encounter and I can’t always be there to protect them. So I pray for protection over my family. However, this is not only physical safety but also emotional and spiritual. The world will try to tell them to be a certain way rather than who God made them. I pray for their strong identity in Him first and foremost.
Integrity and Character
Temptation is around every corner, particularly in the NFL and I am certainly not immune to it. I’ll never forget my father saying, “Sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want stay, and costs you more than you want to pay.” I pray for my thoughts, feelings, and decisions, that they would maintain the highest level of morality, integrity, and character.
Over my career, certain teammates have challenged me in this area. In Cleveland, it was a couple of guys who got up early before work to pray together in our homes. In New Orleans, it’s a couple of teammates who pray on Saturday nights in the hotels before games. For me, setting a time and having a few men hold me accountable has helped me grow. As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.
There are things that work to isolate us from one another. It could be ambition, jealousy, racism, unfaithfulness, a lack of forgiveness, prejudice, etc. My most important relationship is my marriage. I pray for my wife and that nothing would separate us. Then I pray for my kids and our family connection as a whole. Finally, I pray for all other relationships in my life, from friends to teammates, even enemies. I pray that those things that divide us would be removed.
Humility and Service
There are people in pain and in need all around us. The more connected I am with God the more I look to the interests of others. In other words, I love and care for people better. I pray for the needs of those around me. I pray that I will have alert senses to see those needs and the empathy and resources to meet them. You may be the only person praying for the ones you love or even the stranger you pass on the street who is clearly hurting.
I’m a doer. I’ll read my bible, go to church, share my faith with others, and write about the issues we all face. But taking time to, individually and collectively, pray is challenging for some reason. We must never let busyness, even for the Lord, become an excuse. Besides, being obedient to the command to do so, prayer is putting priority on the power of God over the power of self to accomplish God’s purposes in my life. Sometimes my good works can become all about ME and what I can do while prayer is about God and what HE can do. We must be reminded that service to others is good, but knowing God is better.
We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God himself. -Oswald chambers
Husbands, the home is the primary place where prayer must happen; We must lead our wives and our children into God’s presence regularly.
Until tomorrow, be a better man!