Praying for the Men in Your Life

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Unleashing the power of a woman's prayer for the men in her life.

As daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, coworkers, and friends, we know how important it is to pray for the men in our lives. We also know the men in our lives need a special kind of prayer---prayer that we utter to God on behalf of a man without having a man's perspective.

Dr. Suzan 'Sujay' Johnson Cook puts her finger on the pulse of a key problem---the fact that when women pray...

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Unleashing the power of a woman's prayer for the men in her life.

As daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, coworkers, and friends, we know how important it is to pray for the men in our lives. We also know the men in our lives need a special kind of prayer---prayer that we utter to God on behalf of a man without having a man's perspective.

Dr. Suzan 'Sujay' Johnson Cook puts her finger on the pulse of a key problem---the fact that when women pray for the men in their lives, they often pray to God to change them. This book is a primer on how to pray for God to be at work in men's lives, rather than to change them. She gives five reasons why women must pray for the men in their lives, advice on how to pray man-specific prayers, and suggestions of what to pray.

Each chapter includes suggested prayers for men and practical exercises that will unleash the power of prayer in a woman's relationship with the men she loves

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310236276
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

The Rev. Dr. Suzan D. Johnson Cook is the founder and senior pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship. She is the first female New York City Police Department chaplain and the first female president of the ten-thousand-member Hampton University Minister's Conference, the largest gathering of African American clergy in the world. She is editor of the best-selling Sister to Sister and author of A New Dating Attitude.
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Praying for the Men in Your Life


Copyright © 2003 Zondervan
All right reserved.

Chapter One

Daughters, Sisters, Wives, Mothers, Friends Prayer basics for the men in our lives

A woman can change destiny on her knees.
Anonymous prayer warrior

As a daughter, sister, wife, mother of two sons, and a pastor, I know how important it is to pray for men. I also know the men in my life need a special kind of prayer, prayer that I utter to God on behalf of a man without having a man's perspective.

For such prayers to be effective, I must live in harmony with my prayers in ways that do not come easily to me as a woman. I think and feel as a woman, so I must seek the Lord, search Scripture, and talk with the men themselves in order to pray "man-sized prayers."

This little book shares what I have learned on my prayer journey for the men I love.

The First Man in My Life, My Father

As a girl, I prayed for my dad, Wilbert T. Johnson. I honor him now not only because I'm the beneficiary of his hard work, but because of Wilbert T. Johnson, I have a prayer legacy-a legacy of praying for the men in my life. He was living prayer in action. Every night, no matter what time he got home, he would fall on his knees in prayer before going to bed.

Wilbert T. Johnson was a man with a vision, ahead of his time, and because of him, I'm able to thrive in so many ways, which includes my spirituality. He went to church as faithfully as he worked, never missing a Sunday unless we were not in town. It was because of his stewardship that my path to ministry was made easier.

My dad had a very hard childhood. He came to New York from Petersburg, Virginia, raised one family-his nieces and nephews-before he met and married my mother and raised us. He was definitely the patriarch of our family and quite a bit older than most dads. As I grew up, his health began failing and he had heart trouble. For most of my young life, I saw a good man who got up very early-it was always dark-and left for work at about five or six in the morning. He was proud to be one of the first Black trolley car drivers and then became part of the New York City Transit system. He never missed a day of work in the twenty-nine years he worked for Transit and was not late a single day either.

When I was about five years old, while he worked long and hard at Transit, he started a security guard and watch guard business where we lived in Northeast Bronx. That business grew steadily and then mushroomed into one of the strongest businesses in the community. It still thrives today, forty years later, as the oldest Black family-owned business in the Bronx that has been continuously running.

When I was a little girl, I prayed for his protection as he was leaving in the wee hours of the morning: "God, protect Daddy." Those simple prayers were the beginning of this book.

As I got older, I thanked God for my dad because he sacrificed to send me to private school. Set in the economically prosperous Riverdale section of the Bronx that differed dramatically from the blue-collar working class neighborhood where we lived, the school was also different culturally. The wealthy, Jewish environment that comprised so much of my world was worlds away from my dad's.

When I came home from school, I not only gave thanks for my dad's hard-earned financial support so I could attend Fieldston, but I also prayed that he would understand his teenage daughter who was living in a new sphere moving faster than anything he had ever experienced. I prayed that he would understand and help me as I made the transition to this new territory.

My prayers were miraculously answered. When I was in ninth grade, he sent me to Spain with my classmates. He didn't have a passport of his own, but he made sure I went. My dad was marvelous! I remember saying a prayer of thanksgiving for a father, who, even though he didn't understand all the pieces, was open enough to let his Bronx-born daughter become "international" and courageous enough to take risks. Wilbert T. Johnson broadened my worldview and changed my outlook on life. His decisions shaped the kind of woman I have become. And he taught me the quiet power of prayer.

When he became very ill with heart trouble, I prayed for his health. Even then I knew the toll his working two and three jobs had taken on him. He was sick most of my teenage years, in and out of the hospital. He didn't have the benefit of the medical advancements that are now available, and we didn't have the money for specialists. I believe my dad chose to spend his money educating his children, giving them the best he could, rather than on the best medical care for himself. I specifically asked God to let my father live to see me graduate from college and begin the career goals he had worked so hard for me to accomplish. Because of him, I accelerated my learning, doing two years in one.

God said no to that prayer. Daddy made it to the first semester of my senior year, when I was nineteen. During our last visit together in the hospital, I believe he knew that everything he had worked for had been planted in good soil and would bear fruit, that I was going to be successful.

My last prayers for him were that he would not suffer and that God would let him rest. God answered yes.

I was licensed and ordained into ministry at my father's home church, Union Baptist. In 1980, many men were not ready for women in ministry, but they said, "We've got to license Sujay. She's Wilbert Johnson's daughter."

Almost all my prayers throughout my life have included thanksgiving for an exceptional family, with a father who loved me and would do anything for me. Because of him, I had a privileged childhood that was uncommon for Black girls at that time. In my childhood relationship with the most powerful person in my little life, I experienced love, wisdom, and sacrificial provision. My relationship with my father made it easy for me to relate to a heavenly Father. Because I'm a "daddy's girl" I can confidently approach my heavenly Father in prayer for men I love and who love me.

The Man Who Sticks Closer, My Brother

From childhood to this day I have prayed for my brother, Charles Ronald Johnson. He's six years older than I am. Even before our dad passed, we'd often take trips to North Carolina, just the two of us, starting when my brother was sixteen years old. We shared a lot during those ten- to twelve-hour car trips.

Because of my father's untimely death when I was nineteen, my brother assumed the role of a surrogate father to me. When I was in junior high, I prayed that he would be able to handle my father's illness, to step into his shoes. With the family responsibilities, he had a lot on his shoulders during his college and law school years, and he handled them admirably.

My brother has been with me in building both of the ministries God has called me to lead, so he has been a trailblazer with me. Because he's protective of me, I delicately balance my pastoral role with my sister role. When he was in his thirties, and I was a still a relatively new pastor, he became very sick and had to have major surgery.

"Sujay, come and serve me communion here in the hospital," he said by phone from his sick bed.

I remember thinking, Oh, I really just want to be your sister.

He wanted me to be a pastor. I did serve him communion. I also prayed for him as his pastor and as his sister. But then I also doted on him, little sister to big brother!

I pray varied and specific requests for my brother because we are so close, but my prayers almost always include his protection. Today, praying for protection for young men, especially Black men, is paramount. On those youthful trips down south, the police would stop my brother for no reason. (The reason now does have a name, and thankfully Congress and our law enforcement agencies have recently begun to address this problem of racial profiling.) I'd sit silently while my brother was subject to this harassment and pray that God would keep him safe from police brutality. As we continued our journey, I'd pray that God would help my brother get through the pain of insult and the anger it provoked in him.

I also pray for my brother's family. He has a wonderful wife and two children-my only niece and nephew. My prayers for him extend to them, which led me to a simple but important discovery about prayer-praying for the men in my life automatically leads to prayer that touches others.

I pray for Charles as a businessman, for his professional development, and for the success and growth of the family business. (He now runs the security business.)

I continue to pray for his spiritual growth and that he will use his talents and live God's destiny for his life. He has sought an electoral office, and I worked closely with his campaign. When he was elected, I prayed for him to be out of the way of hurt and harm and steer clear of all the evil prevalent in the political world.

Most of all, I pray that we stay a close family. We all love each other very much and our prayers are usually prayers of thanksgiving to God for providing us so much materially and spiritually.

THE Man in My Life, My Husband

My prayers for my husband, Ronald Cook, have probably been the most intense prayers of all. I prayed for him before I knew him. I had asked God to direct me to the man I was to marry, if that were God's will for my life. Upon meeting Ron, I prayed that the Lord would steer him and confirm that we were God's match. I prayed to be sure that he was the man God sent me, and when I was sure, I thanked God for him. Now we're in our eleventh year of marriage, having grown in so many ways, and I still pray constantly.

As I watch him father our sons, I pray that he will continue to have a strong relationship with them. They play together. They wrestle together. They watch cartoons together. God daily answers my prayers for Ron as a father, and it gives me great joy!

I pray for Ron and me together. It is as if we are truly one flesh. My constant prayer is that we don't grow apart. I pray that we continue to grow together, that we will always be able to communicate both our struggles and our joys, that we will grow even deeper in our love, and that while we parent well together, we will also have time for each other as husband and wife. We are prayer partners and so I pray with him. I encourage wives to pray with your spouses. Pray with your boyfriend, your fiancé. It makes a difference. If you start the day in prayer and certainly if you end the day in prayer, you can't go to sleep angry. The Holy Spirit leads you to deal with your issues in prayer and then in relationship with one another.

And finally I pray that Ron will find his true purpose. He has a passion for writing, so I pray that he is able to write his book deal one day, as that's his desire.

Praying for Ron has deepened my love for him and has helped me to hear God's voice more clearly about God's will for me as a woman and wife.

None Compare to Prayers for My Sons

I pray for my sons, Samuel and Christopher, as intensely as I pray for Ron. Christopher is seven; Samuel is nine. As much as possible, I pray with them each day, but certainly every day I pray for them.

Like most mothers, protection is my number one concern. I worked in the White House when Al Gore was Vice President, and as he hosted a father's family conference, Tipper Gore moderated a panel of women on which I served.

"What do you pray most for your children?" Tipper asked me.

"That they live to be adults," I responded. "Having two Black boys growing up amidst the racism that's prevalent in America means I have to pray that they live and become strong Black men."

I ask God to protect them from hurt, harm, and danger while they're in school and for traveling mercies as they go to and from school, sports, and their other activities. I believe children should have joyous memories, and so my daily prayer is that I deliver happy children to school and pick up happy children from school. I pray that they'll know when to exhibit strength, use wisdom, and avoid situations that will bring them in harm's way. I pray that they're prepared to do whatever God's will is for their lives. I don't pray for them to be great athletes.

When Samuel was nine months old, I received a fellowship to the White House to work with the President of the United States on the Domestic Policy Council. Ron stayed in New York, while the baby and I lived in Washington. Ron and I had a commuter marriage that year, and I remember vividly that when we first arrived at our small apartment in Washington, I placed a picture in the window of Ron and I holding Samuel on his Blessing Day.

Samuel went right to the picture and cried out, "Daddy!" If you could only have seen this child-less than a year old-reach out for his dad's picture and cry!

I cried too. I sorely missed Ron, and I also realized how important family-a father and a mother-is to children. I realized how important men are in the lives of children.

I continually pray that we will always be a family, there to support, nurture, and strengthen our sons no matter what differences or disagreements their dad and I have. My prayer is that we will be the parents, the family, that they need us to be.

Although many women say, "I can make it without him," and many simply must, I understood from my son's baby cries the need for a father-mother family and I pray that he has it.

Another memory from those White House days is when I was traveling in a little prop plane to West Virginia. During the scary ride, I realized I could die. I thought about my child down on the ground in the White House daycare center. I prayed, asking God to keep me and allow me to be there until he became an adult. After that plane ride, I made a will and got Ron's and my affairs in order, but I pray that I can be there for and with Samuel and his brother, Chris, until they are able to stand on their own feet and that I am able to instill in them godly values.

Spiritual Brothers, Colleagues in Faith

I have the privilege to pastor a church, and in that role, I pray for all the men in my church. I have so many wonderful men who surround me and my family. I pray that they will continue to grow spiritually, that they will be active in the church and not just there on Sunday mornings, and that these men will feel ownership of the ministry.

My prayer is also that I will never insult or hurt them, intentionally or unintentionally, and that I will be a pastor who is sensitive to male feelings. I also ask God to help me, if I do offend a brother, to help him forgive and not be bitter.


Excerpted from Praying for the Men in Your Life Copyright © 2003 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Daughters, Sisters, Wives, Mothers, Friends Prayer basics for the men in our lives.........................................09
Chapter 2: Five Reasons We Must Pray for the Men in Our Lives Valuable results of a God-connection through prayer.....................29
Chapter 3: Prayer Releases the Power of Change in Us God answers our prayers for our men by changing us first.........................43
Chapter 4: Praying with Our Ears Our prayers are shaped by listening to men and discerning God's will.................................55
Chapter 5: Praying for Him When He Can't Pray for Himself An assignment from God to pray on his behalf................................77
Chapter 6: Man-Sized Prayers in No Time Big needs, little me, no time.................................................................97
Chapter 7: Praying that God's Will, Not Ours, Be Done God wants what's best...........................................................121
Chapter 8: Praying for More of the Man He Is Grow the godly qualities he already has..................................................147
Chapter 9: Recognizing Answered Prayers Look for and see answered prayers.............................................................159
Prayers-A Devotional Guide..............................................................................................................171
Recommended Reading.....................................................................................................................181
Scripture Index.........................................................................................................................183
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2004

    Better Understanding of What God Wants

    I found this book to be very fulfilling, it gave such a great look at what you as a mother,sister,wife,friend should prayer for, for the men in our lives. It made things clearer to me in retrospect of what I'm asking God for and that its not my will but God's will. It touched every area of questioning I had in my mind and I know it would do the same for all other women who has prayed and ask God to fix her relationship with her mate/manfriend . I think that women who has come across this book would really appreciate its contents. Thank you Suzan for helping me and many other women get a better understanding of what we should pray for, for the men who mean a lot to us.

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