Excerpt from Cover Him: Caring for the Hidden Needs, Thoughts, and Feelings of the Man You Love by Roderick L. Hairston, M.A.
Pray for Him: Change Things Behind the Scenes
I am thoroughly convinced that the most powerful tool (and weapon) at anyone’s disposal is prayer. But I have a personal bias: I think women, especially mothers, have a unique audience with God. When a godly woman makes requests of the Almighty God on a son’s, father’s, or husband’s behalf, things change. Demons tremble. Mountains move. Doors open. Destructive vices lose their grip. Behind the scenes of his life, things begin to shift. He may not even know why, especially if you never told him you were praying for him. Things just begin to change. No devil in Hell can succeed in his attacks against the guy who has the force of a godly woman’s prayers behind him.
Ladies, sometimes you can’t talk a man into change. You can’t convince him against his will—even when the thing you’re trying to convince him of is good for him. But your prayers have the ability to “turn on the lights” for him when he can’t see a danger ahead. Your prayers help combat the discouragements of life that may come against him. Your prayers get him through a tough day of meetings, pressures, stresses, and decisions. Your prayers lift him from the pits of despair and usher him to a higher, more joy-filled dimension of life—closer to the God who loves him and has great things in store for him. You don’t have to tell him you’re praying for him. Just do it and watch change happen!
Prayer: The Indispensable Weapon (Ephesians 6:18-19)
I’m not one of those preachers to whom messages come easy. I study faithfully, make earnest efforts to “pray without ceasing,” and put in the time needed to craft effective sermons filled with biblical truth. But preaching and pastoring are harder work than anyone ever told me they would be.
Two nights ago, I was having a fit trying to synthesize my notes from the week’s study and preparation. My wife posed her usual Saturday afternoon question: “How is your sermon for tomorrow coming along?” I just looked at her with that look that says, “What sermon?” The study portion was complete, and I’ve learned that prayer (and sleep) do more for me than trying to press out an outline for teaching and preaching. So I prayed and went to bed. When I awoke, my brain was swimming in a sea of new insights from God concerning His kingdom and His purpose for families. All Sheri said was, “I’m praying for you.”
I can’t explain it any other way. I just know that when my wife prays for me, heaven moves. She has a connection with God that I only wish I had. I know that a rested brain is one of God’s kindest gifts and solutions for solving problems. But that woman’s prayers often go far beyond my rested brain and beyond my personal prayers. I gain clarity, calm, and confidence because of her connection to God. That’s all the more reason for me to love and appreciate her. I can’t imagine my life or my ministry without her covering me and my efforts with her prayers.
Prayer is indispensable because everyone needs prayer. It’s something that no one can do without. It gives everyone the opportunity to see his or her life get better. Having someone talk to God on your behalf about your biggest fears, challenges, questions, and quests is a gamechanger. Having someone access the power of heaven and a God who can move mountains on another’s behalf makes prayer something no one can live without.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows the value and power of prayer. And not everyone has access to God in prayer. Those are not indictments or judgments; they’re simply realities. Until a person has begun a relationship with God through faith in Jesus, the Bible is clear that he or she cannot experience the privilege of intimate and confident prayer. Jesus told His disciples, “Until now, you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24). Jesus was extending to His disciples a new level of privilege and access to God the Father. They were, because of their faith in Jesus, invited to use His powerful name as their “calling card” with the Father.
The writer of Hebrews saw prayer as a unique privilege granted to those who have Jesus as their High Priest—the one who has gone to God on their behalf and offered the sacrifice of His life for their sin. And He knew that what could be obtained through prayer was vital to our human needs: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16). Have you ever seen a person in trouble, in over their heads in life, and facing the challenge of a lifetime? That person needs what can only be obtained in prayer: sympathy from a God who cares deeply, empathy from a God who has placed Himself in man’s shoes, favor (another word for grace) from a God who can put us at the front of the line, and compassionate mercy that only God can give us in a world that can be brutally cold.
That’s the indispensable nature of prayer. But prayer is also a powerful weapon that can be wielded to defeat dark and destructive forces for the good and help of others. The Bible describes in factual terms—not metaphors, figures of speech, or similes, but in day-to-day reality—the existence of the Devil and his workforce called demons. They have one collective agenda under the Devil’s headship: “to kill, to steal, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Prayer, aligned with biblical truth, is the primary weapon we have for undoing Satan’s plans against us and the people we care about.
Prayer, the ability to communicate with God, receive His directions, and request His assistance, positions everyday people like you and me to experience victory over “our adversary the devil” who is out to devour people (1 Peter 5:8). Whenever someone is out to devour us, that’s not a good thing. And when someone is out to devour the men you care about, it’s exponentially bad. Devour means to drink down, swallow up, or gulp entirely. When Satan sets his sights on your husband, son, brother, or friend, he pulls out all the stops. He plays by no rules, and there is no referee calling him back to his corner so his victim can regain strength. Only God has the power to shut down a Satanic, demonic attack.
That makes prayer a weapon in the hands of a woman who embraces a call from God to cover a man in her life. Prayer neutralizes the enemy’s weapons. It unleashes powerful angelic forces against his army in the unseen realm. It is not hindered by geography, time, culture, circumstance, or any other would-be obstacle. Prayer, as a spiritual weapon is powerful! As Paul said,
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
Prayer is a weapon that Satan is powerless to defeat. Just imagine what is possible in a man’s life when you use it!
Prayer: The Silent Shaper (Proverbs 22:19)
What if you could change someone’s mind, influence his decisions, or introduce an alternative perspective … without ever saying a word to them? What if you could calm a storm of anger raging in your man and keep him from taking vengeful action that would harm his future and the life of someone else? What if you could positively influence a man to see himself the way God sees him rather than continuing to see himself through a lens that robs him of value and esteem? You would be a very powerful person. Having that ability would make you someone who can shape the course or direction of a man’s life. That’s extraordinary influence!
Words are by nature powerful, but there are certain cases in which their power is ineffective—even when they’re well-meaning. That’s not to say words ought never to be used. But it is wise to know when words may not be useful and when they have reached their limit in a man’s ears. On a very human level, words can be limited sometimes by the fact that a man may just not want to hear them. Sometimes, as a man, my mind is made up and I don’t want it to be changed. So trying to talk me into or out of something is pointless. Sometimes, I just want to feel that the decision to change my mind came from me. (Hint, hint.) Call me egotistical, but sometimes that’s just the way it is.
Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, / Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” In essence, the writer is giving us the key to silently shaping a man’s thought processes, decisions, and even his feelings about a matter. It’s not manipulation that gets things done in and through a man. It’s the powerful influence of prayer.
Ladies, if you want to see your man make decisions that are good for him, his family, and his future … If you want to see him check his emotions before something irreversibly negative happens, here is your key: Go to the person who has the “Big Key” to his heart. Go to God. Your prayers to God convey your trust in God more than your trust in your own ability to get a man to do something. When you go to God, you’re surrendering (or will eventually surrender) your well-intended agenda or timing. That man’s heart, because he’s designed to be a leader/influencer, is in the Lord’s hands, and He can point it in any direction He desires. God has the power to do that.
There have been times when my wife clearly did not like the decision I was making. Whether in my anger, folly, fogginess, or immaturity, she has often been able to sense danger ahead if my leadership in a matter was not abated. I now know when I’m about to hit a wall, because rather than give me all the reasons why she thinks I should or should not move in a particular direction, she gets that look on her face. It’s hard to describe, but I know it when I see it. It simply says, “Okay. I’ll be praying, because you sound like you have just lost your mind, Roderick Lorenzo Hairston.” (I always know I’m in trouble when I feel that she’s thinking my full, legal name!) Then she smiles and says, “Let me know if you change your mind.”
Prayer: The Eye Opener (2 Kings 6:8-23)
It doesn’t matter how intelligent, talented, or celebrated a person may be. If you cannot see, you cannot see. In other words, blindness, or if you will, blind spots, are not easily overcome. Everyone has them. Ladies, the men in your lives have blind spots, and you probably know what they are. The only problem is that knowing someone’s blind spot doesn’t mean you can make them see what they can’t see. Blind spots are not simply what we can’t see about ourselves. Blind spots may also be what we can’t see outside ourselves or within ourselves. For example, we may not detect the danger ahead of us. We may have a perpetual attitude of defeatism and not realize it. We may lack confidence and fail to realize how capable we are and what experiences and resources we have at our disposal.
There are some things we’ll never see and some perspectives we may never gain apart from having our literal and proverbial eyes opened through prayer. One of my all-time favorite passages in the Bible is the story of the prophet Elisha who had deeply irritated the Syrian King, Ben-Hadad (2 Kings 4:8-23). While the Syrian king had been plotting to attack Israel and bring down God’s people and their king, the prophet of Israel gave to Israel’s king insight into the enemy’s plans, which he had received through divine revelation. Elisha could see what no one else could see, and as a result the people of Israel were protected. The frustrated and enraged Ben-Hadad wanted to know who was leaking his plans and strategies to his enemies.
Having learned that Elisha, the man of God, was giving insights to the king of Israel, making it impossible for Ben-Hadad to successfully attack and destroy God’s people, “he sent horses and chariots and a great army” (2 Kings 6:14) to deal with Elisha. He considered Elisha a snitch who must be killed. As the Syrian army approached the city early one morning to surround it, Elisha’s servant saw them in the distance and panicked. He said, “Alas my master! What shall we do?” Elisha gave him encouragement: “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). “Okay, that all sounds good, but what are you smoking, my master Elisha? More with us? There’s nobody here but you and me. And we’re about to lose our lives!” Can’t you hear Elisha’s servant in panic mode?
Elisha’s servant couldn’t see what Elisha was able to see using his spiritual eyes. Elisha could see invisible angelic forces of heaven surrounding the forces of the Syrian king. I hear what you’re thinking: “Who in the world sees angels? I thought they were invisible.” Usually they are invisible, but when you have a connection to God as Elisha did, God allows you to see things. And even if you can’t see them, you can do for the man in your life what Elisha did for his servant: he prayed, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see” (v. 17). And that’s exactly what God did. God opened the servant’s eyes so he could see that the army fighting for him and Elisha was bigger with more fire-power than the one that had come to destroy them. I’m typing with goose bumps because this blows my mind! If I can’t see God’s provision, it’s because my perspective gets hijacked by the problem I can see. If I can’t see, I need to have my eyes opened so I can see the situation the way God sees it. I need to see God’s support system that He has put in place for my good.
Ladies, a simple prayer for the man you care about could change everything: “LORD, I pray that You will open his eyes that he may see.” Prayer commences an eye-opening experience. It opens your own eyes as much as it opens those of the one you’re praying for. Prayer will keep your guy from panicking. It’ll keep him from being consumed with fear and overwhelmed by responsibilities. It’ll keep him from traveling a path of defeatism and grant him the revelation that God has surrounded his enemies. Pray that God will open his eyes so he’ll know exactly who God says he is and what God says he has. Pray for eyes of clarity when people who could destroy him come into his life like wolves in sheep’s clothing, disguised as angels of light. Pray that your man will have an eye opening experience with God and that he’ll never see the same … or be the same.
Prayer: The Determiner of Destiny (Exodus 17:1-23)
The Israelites were barely out of Egypt and filled with uncertainty concerning their destiny. Who of us cannot relate to that dilemma—out of a bad situation but uncertain about the next steps or the final destination? Israel’s enemy, as expected, took full advantage of their vulnerability. Their first real “opposition” was having to face extreme thirst at a place called Rephidim. There was no water anywhere in sight, and the people complained about Moses’ sense of direction as a leader. They concluded that the LORD was not with them (Exodus 17:1-7). No water to drink in the desert and feeling deserted by the God who came to deliver them led them to believe they had no destiny.
Opposition to Israel’s destiny escalated to another level at Rephidim when the Amalekite army came against Moses and the newly delivered Israelites. Moses sent his assistant, Joshua, out to lead the neophyte troops in battle, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of the hill to oversee the battle with prayer. Moses climbed the hill with the symbol of his leadership and spiritual authority—the rod of his God—in hand. His staff symbolized his access to God and the power of God for his role as Israel’s shepherd. With it he could work miracles, or with it he could punish wolves who would attack the flock.
As the battle with Amalek ensued, Moses, positioned on the hilltop, held up his hands with his staff in one of them. When he became tired and his hands lowered, his troops suffered loss. Over the course of the battle, Moses’ hands grew heavy. What a picture of the fight for destiny against our enemies! It reminds us that prayer is hard work because so much is at stake. To keep the leader’s hands up so he could pray in the power of God with his staff lifted in the desire for victory, Aaron and Hur placed a rock under Moses so he could sit. And while he sat with his hands lifted, they each supported his hands on either side. In the end, Joshua and the Israelite army were able to defeat the Amalekites. They did so because Moses prayed with the support of Aaron and Hur.
Ladies, as my friend Pastor Keith Battle says, “every man needs an Aaron and a Her in his life.” He needs someone lifting up his arms with prayer so his destiny is not waylaid by foul “Amalekites”—i.e., those assigned by the devil to block the way and to wipe out God’s people, keeping them from progressing toward their destiny.
Chapter 2 Reflections
- When a godly woman makes requests of the Almighty God on a son’s, father’s, or husband’s behalf, things change. Demons tremble. Mountains move. Doors open. Destructive vices lose their grip. Behind the scenes of his life, things begin to shift.
- Prayer is indispensable because everyone needs prayer. It’s something that no one can do without. It gives everyone the opportunity to see his or her life get better. Having someone talk to God on your behalf about your biggest fears, challenges, questions, and quests is a game changer.
- Ladies, if want to see your man make decisions that are good for him, his family, and his future … If you want to see him check his emotions before something irreversibly negative happens, here is your key: Go to the person who has the “Big Key” to his heart. Go to God.
For fourteen seasons, Rod Hairston served as chaplain and life coach to the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, earning two Super Bowl rings during his tenure. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he now serves as Senior Pastor at Messiah Community Church just outside of Baltimore. He has been married for more than 28 years to Sheri, and they have four adult children. He is author of two books, “Cover Him: Caring for the Hidden Needs, Thoughts and Feelings of the Man You Love” and “Cover Her: How to Create a Safe Place for the Ladies in your Life…Physically, Financially, Emotionally, and Spiritually.” Learn more at RodHairston.com
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