This post is the first part of a series dedicated to the men. Through this series, I want to speak to the fathers, sons, and brothers out there on becoming a man of prayer. Wherever you are in your ministry experience, this is for you. We all have room to grow.
My name is Matt Rice I’m the father of 8 beautiful children, five of whom are still on this earth ranging in ages from 2 to 12 years old. I’ve been married to my beautiful and wonderful wife for 15 years. I’ve been a Christian all my life, but my real relationship with Christ began when I was about 22 years old. My Catholic upbringing had been minimal. We went to Mass and CCD class, but we never prayed at home, read the bible or went to confession. All of that changed for me when I met Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
In 2001, I found myself graduating from college, getting married, and jobless. I was stuck between a proverbial rock and hard place, until I was suddenly offered a job as a wine distributor. (Most college age students would have loved that job!) Then the youth minister from my home parish called. They needed male chaperones for an upcoming youth work camp. They agreed to take my new wife with me so I called my new boss and asked to start a week late. They agreed.
While some of us are called to be biological fathers, all of us are called to be spiritual fathers.
While I was on the work camp God showed up in a big way. He showed me what kind of an impact I could have with youth, He allowed me to meet some holy men and women, but most of all He revealed Himself to me in Adoration. You see, up to this point I may have said some prayers, but I had never actually prayed. I didn’t know how to. I gave myself to Christ at that work camp and haven’t looked back. While on the camp I learned that the youth minister was leaving. His boss, who was also at the camp, told me to apply. I told my wife that I needed to quit the other job as a wine distributor before it even started and take a leap of faith. I took the leap. Two terrifying weeks later I got the job. Ever since then I’ve been running towards God, and He continues to ask me to leap. I tell you this story so you can know where my relationship with God started. I’ve come a very long way since then, thank God. But we all have to start somewhere.
We have big, important role as men. While some of us are called to be biological fathers, all of us are called to be spiritual fathers. My vocation is to be married so I may speak more about that type of fatherhood but honestly it applies to all of us. In 1 Cor 11:3 is says, “that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband.” A Godly man can change the world. This is why the devil has worked so hard against us because he knows that when we come alive in Christ that he will lose souls. I promise you that if you come alive in Christ and become a man of prayer, or deepen your prayer life, that you will save many souls and when you are called to heaven, Jesus will see that you did exactly what He asked you to do.
Every single man is an example of God the Father to the world.
He didn’t ask us to make a certain amount of money or live in a certain house, or work a particular job. We’re called to win souls. He sent us on a mission to go and make disciples, and as men He has equipped us in a special way to do this. As a young college grad (who just got married, quit a job to become a youth minister, and blew through all of he and his wifes’ nest egg getting out of an apartment that they couldn’t afford) along comes one of the most fatherly figures in my life. He was a Catholic realtor at our parish and showed me what sacrificial manhood is like. He found a garage apartment for my wife and I as he helped us buy our first home. To say it was a fixer upper is an understatement: the bathroom had rotted out and was in the crawlspace! Daniel worked alongside me, showed me how to do basic home maintenance, and showed me what true sacrificial manhood was. I owe much of who I am to this heroic father.
We are the first glimpse of who God the Father is that our children see. Every single man is an example of God the father to the world.
What kind of example are we setting? I spoke of how many souls are won by a Godly man. How many Godly men do you see out there? 80% of men look at pornography. Is that God the Father that we want the world to see? No wonder the world is losing faith and respect for God! The world we look at is hurting. As connected as we seem through social media, there is more depression and loneliness than ever before. When the world is hurting, Godly men do not look to physical strength. It doesn’t look to what you can do or what you can make. They look to spiritual strength. We can and should be looking for that same strength.
Spend this next week focusing on what kind of example you currently set. What ways do you want to grow? What behaviors keep you from pointing others, specifically your family and close friends, to God the Father?