Last week, I read a passage of Scripture that has got me wondering. When we look at Scripture, we see a number of places where God speaks to subsets of people: slaves, masters, parents, the rich and rulers. There are places where Scripture address just men and just women.
Some people read the passages and believe that God designed a hierarchy among men and women. If there is a hierarchy among the sexes, it was created when sin entered the world; it is part of the world being broke.
God created culture. Different peoples gather, view life through different lenses nad develop different expressions and solutions to life. God is glorified as these different people seek to follow Jesus from their contexts.
Men and women also have different lenses. And God is glorified as they seek to follow Jesus from their contexts. The all-prevailing attitude and action that must be present in all interactions -- whether they are between cultures or genders -- is love.
But, getting back to my Scripture ...
In the midst of a passage where the writer is encouraging specific practices to men and women, he encourages all men to pray. Since, in the context, he immediately goes on to encourage a different, separate practice to women, this exhortation to prayer is specifically to men.
There were some possibilities that I considered.
(1) Something special happens when men pray. (If this sounds sexist, please, make sure to read items 2 and 3.) Anyone praying is important, and God pays attention to it. But men praying has more potency somehow, so he encourages it more.
(2) This is not about praying or not praying. This is about how prayer should be given. More specifically, this is how men are praying wrong ... and what they need to do to pray correctly.
(3) Women are such natural and effective pray-ers that they don't need instruction in it, or encouragement to do it. Men, on the other hand, ...
Most likely, it is some variant of #2. Perhaps ... given a man's apparent, inherent tendency when faced with a problem to take action to fix the problem, God is encouraging a posture of prayer for certain issues (social, political or spiritual) undertaken with certain attitudes.
- a heart given to God.
- A heart focused on completing God's purposes.
- A heart intent on God's solutions and God's way ... and not his own.