Prayer Journal: Week 1

Prayer Journal1Let God have your first awaking thoughts; lift up your thoughts to Him reverently and thankfully for the rest enjoyed the night before and cast yourself upon Him for the day which follows. (Richard Baxter)

This Week’s Scripture

• Jeremiah 4:11-28
• Psalm 14
• 1 Timothy 1:12-17
• Luke 15:1-10

Adoration

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.

Jesus, Lover of My Soul (verse 1)
Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.
(Charles Wesley)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

 

Confession

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

Almighty and most merciful Father, We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But in thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.” (Book of Common Prayer, 1552)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

 

Thanksgiving

God of abundant mercy and grace, truly you are more willing to forgive me than I am to receive your forgiveness. I am profoundly aware of my own sin, yet my self-knowledge pales in comparison to what you know about me. And yet, you still desire to be in relationship with me and lavish me with your love. Like Paul, O Lord, I truly am the chief of sinners and am unworthy of your goodness. Yet I praise and thank you for it and pray I might spend all my days living in humble gratitude, sharing that same love with others. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen. (based on 1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

 

Supplication (Petition – prayers for yourself)

• Help me to mature in my faith and to increasingly please God by my thoughts, words, and deeds.
• Particular struggles in various relationships
• My activities for this day
• Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)
• My Family
• My local church
• My denomination
• Para-church ministries, particularly Christian education and discipleship
• Evangelistic ministries
• Other needs

So help us to live life in love, in service, and in fidelity, that we may come to the end in peace, and enter into blessedness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (A Barclay Prayer Book)

A Godly Man’s Worldview

worldview2 Corinthians 10:5 – We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Puzzle Pieces and Movie Scripts

Everyone has a worldview. It may be well thought-out, logical and coherent or it may be loosely thrown together and disorganized, but everyone has one. Quite simply, a worldview is your philosophy or view of life – a way of looking at the world around you.

Think of the cover of a puzzle box. If you were to dump all the puzzle pieces on the ground without seeing what the picture on the cover looked like, you would have a pretty hard time putting the puzzle together. Similarly, life presents us with thousands of questions and issues which are like pieces to a puzzle. Without the right worldview to follow, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to know where and how all the pieces fit.

Or, think of a worldview as a movie script. The late Francis Schaeffer said that life is like entering a very long movie that has already started and then learning that you have to leave before it ends. In such a situation we would be significantly lost without some outside help. Schaeffer suggested that the Bible gives us the script of the whole movie. Therefore, even if we have missed the first part of it, and even though we will have to leave before it is over, we can still see how we fit into the big picture. A godly man will want to have a biblical worldview because that will be the view of life that will most closely correspond to reality.

Elements of a Worldview

What are the key components that comprise a person’s worldview? Let me briefly mention five of the most important elements that shape a man’s view of life.

1.) The first aspect of a worldview is your view of God: Does God exist? Is God personal or impersonal? Is there only one God or many? Does God require anything from us? What is the nature of God? It has been rightly observed that a person’s answers to these questions will be the greatest influence on the way a person thinks and lives.

2.) Secondly, a worldview focuses on the issues of purpose, value, and ultimate questions, such as: Are miracles possible? Is the universe all there is? What is the purpose of our existence? Why does something exist rather than nothing? Is there objective meaning to life?

3.) The third area a worldview addresses is the question of knowledge. It seeks to answer how we know what we know. What is the authority upon which a person should base his claim to truth or morality? Is each man the measure for right and wrong or is there an objective standard? A man lives each day according to the way he views knowledge – whether he recognizes it or not.

4.) Fourth is the issue of ethics. How do you make moral decisions? Are you bound by what God has revealed or by cultural convention or laws? Are some acts really wrong or merely inconvenient?

5.) The last major element of a worldview has to do with the nature of humankind. How do you view human beings? Are we basically good? Are we basically sinful? Is there such a thing as sin? Are we grown-up germs caused by evolution or do we have real purpose and design? What happens when we die?

These are the significant elements which make up one’s worldview – and again – we all have a worldview whether or not we are conscious of it.

So What?

A Christian man ought to prayerfully and intentionally put together a biblical world and life view. To live a life of love for God and neighbor will require a life that is lived faithfully according to that worldview. Furthermore, a godly man will also want to pass that view of life on to the members of his family, as well as to the men he is discipling.

I once read that a man’s worldview is as practical as potatoes. Far from being purely an academic or philosophical pursuit, a man’s view of life has a “real life” shaping effect. Only as he interprets the world around him through the lens of his Christian worldview, will he be better able to see how he ought to live and bear a faithful witness to it. Writer George Barna has written for years on the sad news that there is virtually no difference between Christians and unbelievers in what they believe and how they live their lives. The one exception, he notes, are those believers who consciously hold a biblical worldview. Do you hold such a worldview?


Walking Points

• Have you ever thought thoroughly about what you believe as a Christian and how it plays out in your daily life?
• Of the five elements of a godly man’s worldview, which one are you most familiar with? Least familiar with?
• Talk with one or two men this week about the five key elements of a worldview to discover more about how you view life.
• Then, pray about getting together regularly with these men so you may grow in your understanding and application of God’s Word, for it really does apply to every sphere of life.


Prayer

All-wise and all-knowing God, you are the Lord of heaven and earth. Nothing truly makes sense apart from you. Forgive me when I try to live in your world as though you don’t exist. Whether it’s the way I view the universe and my place in it, the moral decisions I make every day, my values that I pass on to others, how I understand where I came from, why I’m here, and where I’m going after death, please help me have your true and eternal perspective on all such matters and not that of the world around me. Let my thinking, speaking, and living be radically out of step with the prevailing culture that surrounds me, but give me greater love for those who are a part of it, so I may reach them with the grace and truth of your Gospel. And Lord, I pray that the things I believe will make a genuine difference in the way I live my life, so that I may be holy, even as you are holy. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.


This Week’s Prayer Guide

[You can use this prayer guide in your own personal prayer time. However, I encourage you to use it with a group of Christian men. Each week you should spend time praising God for who he is, confessing your sin to him (be specific) as well as expressing gratitude to him for his gracious forgiveness. Also, don’t forget to thank God for the many ways he has poured out his goodness in your life. Then, focus on the following areas of supplication, which will change from week to week.]

Petitions – prayers for yourself

• My personal mission field
 Help me to identify those people who make up my personal mission field.
 Enable me to begin sharing the gospel with those who do not yet know you.
 Empower me to disciple those who are young in their faith.
 Allow me to encourage those who are struggling in their faith.
 Please give me perseverance in all areas of ministry.
• Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
• Other needs

Intercession – prayers for others

• My family
• For missionaries throughout the world
• For those seeking to faithfully minister to loved ones at home
• For those who share the gospel in the inner city
• For those who bear witness to Christ in places of power
• Other needs

Godly Men Seek the Right Side of Truth

path4_origJohn 18:36-37 – Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” [37] “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

An Audacious Claim

Truth is a very big deal in the Gospel of John. Jesus, in a good number of verses, begins his teachings with phrases like, “I tell you the truth.” In John 14:6, Jesus claims not only to speak the truth, but to actually be truth itself. In our text above Jesus says he came into the world to testify to the truth. Furthermore, he says, if you are on the side of truth you will listen to him.

It’s an incredibly bold move to say you are truth itself and your purpose for coming into the world is to testify to the truth. In fact, it’s downright arrogant, unless your claim is true. And that’s where the rub is. If it is true that Jesus is the truth, (and that he came to testify to the truth), then it would be prudent to listen to what he has to say. In fact, it would be an imperative.

Just A Good Teacher?

The thrust of our text reminds us, rather loudly, Jesus was not simply an interesting teacher. He claimed to be much more. People who say Jesus was just a good teacher are actually revealing at least two things about themselves.

The first thing is there is a high probability they have never read the gospels for themselves. If they had, they could say they do not believe the things Jesus taught, but it would be intellectually dishonest to say his self-referential claims were not audacious. The “good teacher” response is evidence a person has not likely read what this “good teacher” taught.

The second revelation is they do not want to submit to Jesus’ Lordship nor trust in him as their Savior. Autonomous man still wants to be God. Even postmodern man, with his many “relative truths” – however contradictory they may all be – does not desire the One who claims to be the Truth (capital “T”). The sinful inclination of their hearts suppresses the truth they know (Romans 1:18).

Who Are You Listening To?

The words of verse 37 are powerful: Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

You don’t have to be an expert in logic to understand the implications here. If you don’t listen to Jesus, then you are not on the side of truth. And if Jesus is the truth and his purpose in coming was to bear witness to the truth, then what Jesus says about every sphere of life matters. It matters a lot.

Of course, “listens to me” means much more than simply hearing what Jesus has to say. It implies “responding in obedience” to him as well. Submission is key here. Jesus is not suggesting he would be happy if you went to Starbucks, sat down with your favorite cup of coffee, and merely listened to someone tell you about Jesus. The person, work, and words of Jesus Christ demand a response. For centuries people recognized this and chose to either submit to him or reject him. But today some folk opt for patting him on the head and then moving on, ignoring him. But as the wise philosopher-theologian Geddy Lee, from the rock group Rush, sang, “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.”

Jesus will not be ignored, at least not with impunity. He will not be placed on the backburner of your life, only to be thought about at funerals and on Christmas mornings. He is the truth. He testifies to the truth. In fact, as Jesus put it in verse 37, he is a King.

Does all of that really describe a person you can blow off if you want to, without consequence?

The Right Side of Jesus

It’s popular today to talk about being on the right side of history. Jesus wants us to be on the right side of truth. And to be on the right side of truth is to be on the right side of Jesus. Therefore, let me encourage you to pick up your Bible today and begin listening to Jesus. Start with the Gospel of John. Then move to Matthew, Mark and Luke… then read John again. After that, you should start listening to Jesus as he speaks through his appointed apostles and prophets. God’s ordinary and significant means by which he has ordained his Son to be encountered and heard is through his Word – the Bible. So pick it up and side with him today.


Walking Points

• Reading and studying the Bible on your own is profitable. However, when you talk about it with others who are also reading Scripture, it can be a real blessing. Ask a couple of friends if they’ll start reading the Gospel of John with you so your group can discuss it together.
• Move through John’s Gospel one chapter at a time, recording in a journal the significant teachings of Jesus. Ask yourself why each teaching you highlighted stands out to you. What implication would that teaching have in your life if you started believing it was true and obeying it? What are the implications for not believing and obeying it?
• Give special attention to the claims Jesus makes about himself and the implications those claims have on your life.
• Lastly, what miraculous works in John’s Gospel capture your attention? Why? What do they tell you about Jesus?


Prayer

God of truth, I give you praise that you have not left me to grope in the dark, seeking your path on my own. I am grateful that you have provided me with the Way and Truth, indeed, Life itself. And so forgive me Father when I seek to go my own way or when your truth scares me. I confess that I have sometimes been so fearful of obeying the truth you have so clearly given me that I have chosen to ignore it at best and rebel against it at worst. Both are sin and I ask you to please forgive me. Instead, gracious Lord, fill me with your Spirit, the Spirit of truth, and enable me to not only want to follow your truth, wherever it leads me, but to also be able to do so. I pray my faithfulness to your truth will lead others to give you praise in heaven and make a difference for the sake of your Kingdom here and now. In the name of the one who was and is the Truth, I pray. Amen.


This Week’s Prayer Guide

[You can use this prayer guide in your own personal prayer time. However, I encourage you to use it with a group of Christian men. Each week you should spend time praising God for who he is, confessing your sin to him (be specific) as well as expressing gratitude to him for his gracious forgiveness. Also, don’t forget to thank God for the many ways he has poured out his goodness in your life. Then, focus on the following areas of supplication, which will change from week to week.]

Petitions – prayers for yourself

• Lord, help me to faithfully participate in the life of my congregation and for the sake of my community…
 By my prayers
 By my presence
 By my gifts
 By my service
 By my witness
• Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
• Other needs

Intercession – prayers for others

• My family
• For those who serve in government, at the national, state, and local levels
• For those who serve in law-enforcement
• For those who serve in fire and rescue
• For those who serve in our nation’s military
• Other needs

 

Lesson 1: A Godly Man is Humble

prayer4Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

If you plan to build a tall house of virtues, you must first lay deep foundations of humility. St. Augustine

Principles

Humilitya freedom from arrogance that grows out of the recognition that all we have and are comes from God. (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

Read Philippians 2:1-4

1.       What do you think of when you hear the word, “humility?” What would you say are the primary influences of your view of humility?

2.       According to the Apostle Paul, how can the Philippians “complete his joy” (verse 2)?

3.       What does Paul mean by, “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose,” in verse 2? What would you say are some necessary conditions to the kind of like-mindedness and unity Paul has in mind?

4.       How does Paul’s command in verses 3 and 4 help bring about such unity? What would his words in these two verses look like if they were lived out in your…

·         Home

·         Church

·         Workplace

·         Community

5.       How would you define “humility,” based on these verses?

6.       C.S. Lewis said pride is the foundational sin that gives birth to all other sins in a person’s life. How is humility a foundational virtue and in what ways might it bring forth other virtues?

Walking Points

  • What is it about human nature that makes living out the humility described by Paul so difficult? In what circumstances do you find it hardest for you to live humbly in you daily life? Why?

 

  • What are three practical (real) ways you can apply Philippians 2:1-4 in your life, starting today?

Patterns

It is a contradiction to be a true Christian and not humble. (Richard Baxter)

Read Philippians 2:5-11

7.       In these verses, Paul provides a picture of what humility should look like. What kind of “attitude” or “mind” does he commend?

8.       What did Paul highlight about the life of Christ that describes the humility we should seek to imitate?

9.       What does it mean that Jesus “made himself nothing” or “emptied himself?” Did Jesus cease to be God? Explain your answer.

10.    Paul said that Jesus was made in human likeness (v. 7). What did mean by also saying Jesus took the very nature of a “servant” (v. 6)

11.    In what ways was the death of Jesus on the cross an act of humility?

12.    According to verses 9-11, what name did God give Jesus as an expression of his exaltation? (hint: it’s not the name, “Jesus”)

13.    In your own words, what does it mean that every knee should bow before Jesus and every tongue confess his Lordship?

14.    What does it mean to call Jesus, “Lord?”

15.    Who ultimately received glory from this act of humility and exaltation (v. 11)?

Walking Points

  • It’s unlikely you will have to die for another person and certain you will not (nor can you) die for another person’s sins. Therefore, what are three ordinary ways you can imitate the humility of Jesus in your life? (Read Luke 14:1, 7-11)
  • How does remembering what Jesus has done for you (Philippians 2:6-8) impact your thoughts about the importance of humility?

 

  • Read Matthew 28:16-20; John 1: 1-3; Ephesians 1:15-23; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-4. Considering these verses, how would you describe or define the Lordship of Jesus Christ to a friend?

 

  • Based on the verses in the question above, do you believe there is any area in all creation that should not be under the authority of Christ’s Lordship? Even in the lives of people who reject him?

 

  • Let’s narrow our focus and ask the hard question: Is there any area of your life which you have not submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord? What area(s) have you been keeping from him? Why?

 

  • What would your life look like if you submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord in every sphere of your life? Where would the inner conflicts arise? Where would the surrounding culture resist you? In what ways would it bless you and others?

Prayer

God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we give you our praise and thanks for the great work of Christ upon the Cross for our sin, rebellion, and brokenness. Not because he had to, not because of anything good in us, but because of his goodness and grace did he take on our flesh, humble himself, and become an obedient servant. He took the pain, humiliation, abandonment, and death that was our due. What a gracious Savior he is! Enlarge our hearts and minds to desire to know him better and love him more than we do. And let this knowledge of him and love for him humble us. We pray, O Lord, that our knees will bow before him as we serve others in our world. Fill us with his Spirit, for left to ourselves we cannot and will not imitate his humility. Help us die to ourselves and live the risen life with him, that we might faithfully represent him before a watching world, for your glory and the good of others. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. (based on Philippians 2:1-11)

Prayer Requests

Ministering to Men

Men-WorkBelow is an excerpt from my book, Foundations for Godly Manhood.

Hard Work

The process of becoming a genuine and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ is tough. It takes hard work. It doesn’t happen overnight. It can’t be manipulated over the course of a weekend. It doesn’t materialize from a neatly wrapped program. It’s a day-in and day-out pursuit of Christ, through his Word and prayer, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in a relational context.

While I am all for Bible studies and small groups for both genders, I think there must be a place for men to gather with other men, to study God’s Word and pray, in a context of accountability and encouragement. How many men do you know who would want to talk about lust in the presence of their wives? Or, how many men would want to share how they struggle with pornography with other women in the room?

The Final Goal

The goal of ministry to men is not primarily about producing morally improved men. It’s not primarily about warm-fuzzy experiences; it’s not even about emotional or psychological cathartic breakthroughs.

We may want each of those things to happen, but that should not be the primary target of men’s ministry. Instead, the purpose of ministry to men is to introduce men to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is God’s plan for transforming sinful men into redeemed sons of their heavenly Father. This transformation will produce men who passionately desire to become like Christ. They will want to know him better, love him more, and follow him more faithfully.

Such men will still battle sin, but as the Spirit works through the study of God’s Word, prayer, and accountable and encouraging fellowship, these men will become the men God has created, redeemed, and called them to be. And perhaps such men will turn the world upside down for God’s glory and the advancement of God’s Kingdom (Acts 17:6).

Prayer Journal: Week 52

follow Christ5Great supplicants have sought the secret place of the Most High, not that they might escape the world, but that they might learn to conquer it. (Samuel Chadwick)

 

This Week’s Scripture

• Exodus 12:1-14
• Psalm 149
• Romans 13:1-14
• Matthew 18:15-20

 

Adoration

Psalm 149:4
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.

How Firm a Foundation (verse 1)
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
(“K” in Ripon’s Selection of Hymns)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

 

Confession

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:11-12)

O merciful Father, who in compassion for thy sinful children didst send thy Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world: Grant us grace to feel and to lament our share of the evil which made it needful for him to suffer and to die for our salvation. Help us by self-denial, prayer, and meditation to prepare our hearts for deeper penitence and a better life. And give us a true longing to be free from sin, through the deliverance wrought by Jesus Christ our only Redeemer. Amen. (The Book of Worship for Church and Home)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

 

Thanksgiving

Almighty God of heaven and earth, I will sing a new song of praise and thanksgiving to you this day. You are my Maker and my King, and you alone are worthy to be praised. I will rejoice in you for you are good. You take pleasure in your people and you adorn the humble with salvation. I pray that my greatest desire would be the exultation of your glory. May your praise ever be upon my lips and may I always seek your honor above all pursuits. I thank you gracious God, my heavenly Father, for your tender love and mercy in my life. I will indeed sing a new song of praise and thanksgiving to you this day. In the name of my blessed Redeemer I pray. Amen. (based on Psalm 149)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

 

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

• Give me greater knowledge, depth of insight, and understanding of God’s Word.
• Remind me daily of who I am in Christ. Let me be defined by who God says I am, not the world around me.
• Guide me into greater understanding and faithfulness of God’s call in my life.
• Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
• Other needs

 

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

• My family
• My pastor(s), church staff, and missionaries
• Those wrestling with anger, anxiety, or the overwhelming desire to please people at all costs
• Other needs

 

O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise! (Charles Wesley)