Prayer Journal: Week 8

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Be not afraid to pray; to pray is right; Pray if thou canst with hope, but ever pray, Though hope be weak or sick with long delay; Pray in the darkness if there be no light.” (E.M. Bounds)


This Week’s Scripture

• Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
• Psalm 119:137-144
• 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4
• Luke 19:1-10


Adoration

Psalm 119:137-139
137 Righteous are you, O LORD,
and right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness
and in all faithfulness.

How Great Thou Art (verse 1)
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
consider all thy worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my souls, my Savior God to thee;
how great thou art, how great thou art!

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.


Confession

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:5-10)

I confess that thou hast not been in all my thoughts, that the knowledge of thyself as the end of my being has been strangely overlooked, that I have never seriously considered my heart-need. …Let me not delay to come to thee; Break the fatal enchantment that binds my evil affections, and bring me to a happy mind that rests in thee, for thou hast made me and canst not forget me. Let thy Spirit teach me the vital lessons of Christ, for I am slow to learn; And hear thou my broken cries. Amen.” (The Valley of Vision)

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

Gracious Lord and God of peace, I give thanks to you for all Christians everywhere who are growing in their faith. I offer you praise that where these Christians are assembled as local churches, so too is their love increasing. The Lord Jesus taught us that the world will know we are his disciples as we love one another as he loves us. Make that truth an increasing reality in our lives O Lord. I thank you for the faithfulness of the churches around the world who are afflicted by persecution. Please increase their faith more and more, that your glory will shine, even in the midst of their hardship and suffering. I ask this in the name of the One who suffered on our behalf, Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen. (based on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4)

Ask the Spirit to search your heart and mind and then spend some time thanking 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

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Amen. (Matthew 5:6)

Redeem Your Time

timeEphesians 5:15-17 – Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Scripture says we are like vapors which are here today and then, POOF, gone in an instant. Some of us may live to the national average or even past it. Others will not live that long. Whatever the case may be, Scripture reminds us, “man knows not his time.” Therefore, since no one knows when they will be called home, doesn’t it make sense to make the most of every day as though it was our last?

Have you ever been asked what you would do if you only had one week or month left to live? Often, when we’re asked such a question, we offer a sweet, sentimental, or even profound answer that stresses urgency. Yet, few “live out” their answers because they suppress the truth of reality and mistakenly believe they have an infinite supply of time and opportunities before them.

In our Scripture, the Apostle Paul says this is unwise.

Making the Most of Time

Paul instructs us to be careful in how we live. He says we need to be wise, not unwise, and make the most of every opportunity. Many of the great saints of Christian history referred to this as, “redeeming the time.”

Brother, your life is a gift from God. You are called to be a steward of it. In a real sense your life is not your own. In Romans 12, the Apostle Paul said followers of Christ must offer themselves as living sacrifices to God. He lived during Israel’s sacrificial system in which the animal “gave up its life” on the altar. If we are called to be living sacrifices, we must daily put ourselves back on the altar before God in dedication to him, because living sacrifices tend to crawl off the altar by the end of each day.

There is cost involved here to be sure. To give ourselves to the Lord in this way will require sacrifice, commitment, and self-discipline. To redeem the time we have been given, to make the most of every opportunity, we must change the way see and think about our daily lives. A change of perspective is required.

An Eternal Perspective Needed

God can be glorified in our most mundane tasks. Whether we are driving to work, mowing the yard, or wrestling with our children, we can do so to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). What matters is the motivation of our heart. Martin Luther is attributed as saying a cobbler who makes excellent shoes on Monday glorifies God as much as the pastor who preaches the Gospel on Sunday. Both require an eternal perspective and motivation that transcends themselves.

Isn’t it a relief to know you can glorify God without necessarily moving to the other side of the world as a missionary or becoming an ordained pastor? You don’t have to be doing something “religious” to redeem your time. The Apostle Paul said whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it for God’s glory. What’s more ordinary than eating and drinking? What you are doing is not as important as why and how you are doing it. So, redeem your time.


Walking Points

• What are some ways you unthinkingly waste your days and miss the opportunities God has for you? What are some reasons you do so?
• How can you change the focus and motivation of your daily life from the temporal minutiae to an eternal perspective that seeks God’s glory?
• What are three ordinary things you do daily that can be transformed by wisely making the most of them?
• Share your ideas with someone you can trust to hold you accountable and will pray for you.


Prayer

All-wise Father, you have told me in your Word to number my days so I may have a heart of wisdom. You want me to seek wisdom and live my life in such a way that I may make the most of every opportunity. You know better than I how often I have failed in this pursuit. I don’t wake up each day planning to fail at this, and yet by not better preparing I often fail by default. Please forgive me. Fill me with your Spirit of wisdom and give me not only a desire to live each and every day wisely for you, but enable me to do so. Help me to prepare on the front end so I may be ready to make the most of each opportunity you present me. Most of all, let my thoughts, words, and deeds be done for your glory. In Christ 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

Prayer Journal: Week 7

PrayerJournal-7Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees. (Corrie Ten Boom)

This Week’s Scripture

·         Haggai 1:15 – 2:9
·         Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21
·         2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
·         Luke 20:27-38


Adoration

Psalm 145:1-3

I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (verse 1)

Holy God, we praise thy name; Lord of all, we
bow before thee; all on earth thy scepter claim;
all in heaven above adore thee. Infinite thy
vast domain; everlasting is thy reign.
(Ignaz Franz)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.


Confession

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:18-19)

O Lord, open thou our eyes, that we may see ourselves as thou seest us; in thy mercy show us the evil that is in us, and cleanse us by thy mighty power. From irresolute purpose, from unchastened desires, and from a weak and wavering will, good Lord deliver us. 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

Good and gracious Lord, we give you thanks for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are loved and chosen by you. You saved them through the sanctifying power of your Holy Spirit and thus enabled them to believe in your truth. You called them, and us, through your gospel of grace so that we all may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Father, fill us now with that same Holy Spirit, so we may stand firm to the end and faithfully hold to the teachings of your Word made flesh and inscripturated. We thank and praise you for your love, eternal comfort, and good hope through your grace. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. (from 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17)

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 (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         Help me to grow in wisdom and become who you created and redeemed me to be.
·         Renew my mind and enable me to cultivate a godly perspective and attitude regarding the various spheres and circumstances of my life.
·         Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My family, immediate and extended
·         Those struggling with sin, illness, or relational difficulties
·         Other needs

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

Starting Points (New Book)

Starting Points2The purpose of Starting Points is to introduce new Christians to the foundations they need to better know Christ and faithfully follow him as his disciples throughout their lives.

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Not All That Glitters is Gold

glittering goldExodus 7:8-13 – The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, [9] “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” [10] So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. [11] Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: [12] Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. [13] Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

Exodus 7:20-22 – Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. [21] The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. [22] But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.

Acts 16:16-18 – Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. [17] This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” [18] She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.


Parlor Tricks

I have never quite understood how the magicians of Egypt could perform the same miracles as Moses and Aaron, at least a few of them. Well, we know that they weren’t exactly the same miracles, but they fooled enough of the people enough of the time to be considered the same.

Let me back up.

The Scene

Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh and his court. Just after Aaron threw his staff to the ground, it became a snake. That would have impressed me. But it didn’t seem to impress Pharaoh. What did he do? He summoned his wise men, sorcerers, and magicians to do the same thing. And they did, sort of. Aaron’s snake ate all of their snakes. God’s little way of reminding folks who’s sovereign and who’s not.

Then there was the scene at the Nile River. It was there Moses and Aaron turned the Nile’s water into blood. That would get my attention. Not Pharaoh. He rounded up his FX artists again and, just like before, had them do the same thing as Moses and Aaron.

In the New Testament Too

This isn’t confined to just the Old Testament. In the New Testament we learn of a slave girl, “who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.” And like so many of the demons who recognized who Jesus really was, this slave girl’s “spirit” understood that Paul and company were “servants of the Most High God,” and were telling the people “the way to be saved.”

In one sense it was good that she (or rather, the spirit in her) recognized who Paul and his companions were. But at the end of the day, it was still a demonic spirit and, by definition, up to no good. That’s why Paul cast out the spirit from the girl in the name of Jesus Christ.

Our Need to Discern

Not all that glitters is gold. Not all miracles are of God. Not all spirituality is Christian spirituality. Not all visions are from God. We make a grave error indeed when we assume, undiscerningly, that any and every sign and wonder is automatically from God. Too much in God’s Word tells us otherwise.

That’s why humility is key here. We must have a teachable spirit. We need to obey God and his Word. Scripture alone must be our final, ultimate, and sufficient authority, not our experience and feelings. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:1,

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

That is wise counsel. And it’s the only sure way we’ll stand firm to the end.


Walking Points

• Have you ever experienced someone claiming to have a “word from God” that did not seem to be Scriptural? What was it? How did you respond?
• What are the dangers in accepting such a claim without discernment?
• How can you “test the spirits to see whether they are from God?”
• Do you have a strong enough foundation in your knowledge of Scripture to spot false spirits? If not, begin meeting with a couple of men regularly to study and pray over God’s Word together, seeking encouragement, correction, and training from the Lord.


Prayer

Gracious God of truth. I do not desire to be led astray by every “shiny” word others share with me. I want to be gracious toward them, yet always discerning. Lead me with your Spirit into the Word you first inspired when it was written and which you continue to inspire as I read it. Give me the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and discernment you promise throughout your Word. And please let that renewal of my mind lead to the transformation of my life. 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

• Give me greater love for those who are hard to love.
• Help me to be compassionate and kind to those in need, even when it’s inconvenient.
• Pour out upon me your courage and boldness to love those who do not know you and to share with them your Gospel, in word and deed.
• Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
• Other needs

Intercession – prayers for others

• My family
• My family and friends who do not have a saving relationship with Christ
• For those in my other spheres of influence who do not know Christ
• For evangelists around our city, country, and world who risk much in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who are lost
• Other needs

New Prayer Journal Book

prayer journal4Hey guys, looking for a resource for your prayer life in 2018? Check out this new Prayer Journal I put together. it would be a great gift for the new year.

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