If you’ve acquired a new car recently, you probably drove it happily for a while without even cracking open the operating manual in the glovebox. After all, you know how to drive and most cars are fairly standard. You switch it from P to D, press on one pedal to go faster and press the other one to slow down. Maybe the first time you opened the manual was when it began to rain. Despite looking like you needed an advanced engineering degree, the index quickly took you to page 72 for which helped you master the seventeen different modes for clearing rain drops from your windshield. The option for automatic operation whenever it senses rain drops is very cool and made you smile.
Later, while parked and waiting for someone, you idly paged through the manual and discovered that your car can sense whether you or your wife is driving, automatically adjusting the seat position to each driver’s preference. This, and subsequent similar discoveries of the car’s designers’ brilliance reaffirm for you how smart you were to purchase this particular vehicle.
That is my relationship with Scripture and the incandescent brilliance of its Designer. I continually discover new ‘features’ in the Instruction Manual that reaffirm my love affair with God and His Book.
For instance, look at prayer. Though praying alone is certainly preferable to not praying at all, for men praying in a congregation of at least ten men is the ideal. Ancient Jewish wisdom teaches that the Hebrew word ‘congregation’ always means ten men just as it did during the episode of the spies in Numbers 16:21. I might have thought that praying all alone, outside in some spectacular site of natural beauty would be most appropriate. I could have my own cathedral in a canyon or my own synagogue in a lakeshore forest. But no; I please God more by praying with at least nine other men in a Brooklyn basement. Well, it doesn’t really have to be in Brooklyn; the important thing is the prayer quorum called a ‘minyan.’ Even prayer services on camping trips in canyons and in beautiful rain forests are more powerful as part of a group of ten men.
One of the benefits of this practice was driven home for me on a recent gloomy afternoon at the cemetery where we laid my father-in-law to rest. For all his many good qualities, he was not a sociable man. No ‘guys night out’ for him. To my astonishment many men I did not know arrived for the funeral. At the conclusion of the ceremony I inquired of each stranger and they all told the same story. “We’ve prayed with Jack at the same minyan every morning for years.”
In general, women form and maintain social relationships far more reliably than men do. If you’re not sure of this, just consider who takes care of birthday cards, holiday greetings and so on in your family. Who happily chats on the phone for an hour ‘just to say hi’? Maintaining the discipline of a daily worship service in the company of other men builds relationships that otherwise might never occur.
In the spring of 2014, Naval Adm. William H. McRaven addressed the students of the University of Texas at Austin telling them the ten lessons he learned from becoming a Navy SEAL. The first of which was to make your bed every morning. He explained that doing so means that you have accomplished one task before your day even begins. It may not be a big task but it leads to the successful completion of many other tasks. This is even more true for a regular morning prayer discipline. Before I even start my day, I have had a private conversation with my Creator and nobody else expects more from me than He does. Because of this, I start my day with enthusiasm and passion rather than with lethargy. Forging my relationship to Him in the company of other men—at His directive—compels me to recognize that I cannot separate devotion to Him from care and concern for His other children.
Finally, women are said to like a man in uniform. If this is true, it would be due to the fact that a man in uniform has shown himself able to accept authority and to be a man that other men trust. It is only good for a marriage if a wife feels this way about her husband. Climbing out of bed early enough to make a prayer service each morning is the equivalent of a uniform. It shows that one is able to accept a Higher Authority and present oneself for duty on a regular and reliable basis. Interacting well with and being respected by those in your ‘company’ reflects on you as a trustworthy individual.
Like so many of God’s laws, I cannot know why God mandated a prayer quorum. Yet, I am still discovering new benefits of adhering to His wisdom. If you’re interested in more benefits, for both men and women, of increasing your relationships with others, you will want to acquire our audio CD, Prosperity Power: Connect for Success.