When I was a boy, I thought that grown men men knew about the world; I thought that grown men weren’t afraid of anything. But now that I’m a grown man myself and now that I know lots of other men, I’ve come to realize that most grown men are just as insecure, feel just as inadequate, and are just as fearful as they were when they were boys, but that now, as grown men, they have more power, more responsibility, and more potential to hurt others. Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t teach men the skills we need to thrive as men; there are 2 skills in particular that I believe every man needs to know.
Every Man Needs to Know How to Pray
Men don’t know how to pray. I talk to guys all the time who feel completely inadequate when it comes to prayer. Prayer makes the man. To be a man of confidence, peace, and inner strength, you need to be a man of prayer.
I talked at length about prayer here, but I believe there is one thing any man can do immediately to become better at prayer:
To become better at prayer, you need to be specific.
- Be specific in your time and place for prayer. Pick a favorite arm chair, or your kitchen table, or your front porch, and pray there every morning.
- Be specific in your prayer requests. Lots of men are afraid of really asking the Lord for specifics, but this is a misplaced fear. God desires our specific prayers. “If you want a brown hat, don’t just pray for a hat.” I keep an index card in my Bible with specific prayer requests on it. Pray for a specific meeting at work, or a specific issue with a child, or a specific fear or worry. (It’s also powerful to be specific in your prayers of gratitude.)
Learning to pray can do more to change how a man sees and engages the world than anything else.
Every Man Needs to Know How to Apologize
Do you know how to repair relationships that you’ve damaged? Many men, not knowing how to apologize, do one of the following:
- they either walk away when relationships become injured; or
- they ignore the problem, hoping that it will somehow get better.
Neither tactic works. And we wonder why so many men are so lonely. If you don’t learn how to apologize, you’ll live with failed relationships, and over time you’ll see marriages and friendships wither. A failure to apologize is one of the primary ways I’ve seen men fail at relationships.
There are 3 parts to a good apology.
- Make eye contact. If possible, an apology should be done in person. Apologizing over the phone is a distant second. In my opinion, a man should never apologize in email or over text.
- Take complete responsibility. Say, “I did [X] and it was wrong.” Never ever make an excuse when apologizing.
- Say, “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Learning to apologize and repair a relationship will change a man’s life for the better.
Here’s the Good News
Praying and apologizing are skills that a man can learn. Like riding a bike, they don’t come naturally to us, but we can learn to get better. And, like riding a bike, you have to start somewhere, and when you fall down, you get back on and have another try.
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