I. Prayer to enter the Lord’s presence:
Be still for a moment. “Lord, I give the day that is now past to you. It is yours. I give the day that is to come to you; help me to see where you are working and to join you there. Speak to me during these moments. I commit them and myself to you.”
II. Prayer of Confession:
“Lord, you are faithful to forgive me and cleanse me of my sin when I confess it to you. I confess my sin(s) of ______________. Thank you for forgiveness.” (1 John 1:9)
III. Prayer of Thanksgiving:
Choose to be thankful, speak out loud of what God has done.
“Thank you, Father, for _________________. Fill my heart and my mouth with gratitude throughout this day.”
IV. Scripture Reflection
Read: Proverbs Chapter 17
17 A friend is always loyal,
and a brother is born to help in time of need.
When I think of my friends, especially those who have been like a brother to me, I’m humbled. What a blessing it has been over the years to go through some difficult times with faithful friends. The word for “brother” in this proverb can mean a relative or companion, a fellow tribesman. I like this idea of tribesmen! I think it resonates with me because my closest friends have become like my brothers, they are tribesmen in the most real sense. They have been faithful in times of adversity as well as prosperity. Too many stories come to mind right now, but I’ll just share one to give you an idea of the kind of friendship I’m talking about.
In 2002 our family moved from Wichita to OKC. The move was hard on our family. I was a First Sergeant for a Combat Communications Squadron. It was a demanding job and required a lot of my time. I felt so bad for Patty and the kids. They knew no one in OKC. In a real sense they were completely starting over. Think about it, they had to leave all that they knew and loved in Wichita—church community, the kid’s schools, other activities, their neighborhood, and most of all, their friends—and start over! And to make it even worse, I wasn’t around much. To say it was challenging is a bit of an understatement.
We were in OKC for a year when my unit was activated for deployment to Baghdad, Iraq. Needless to say, the stress within our family was tense. Patty was frustrated and scared. She never said it, but I know she was feeling like, “I didn’t sign up for this, Jim!”
About halfway through the deployment, Patty and the kids experienced a traumatic event. It was terrible. I needed to be there for my family, but as bad as it was, to leave Baghdad and head home wasn’t an option! I can’t tell you how low I was at that time… I had troops I needed to take care of, but my family needed me and there was nothing I could do. This is where my friends stepped up; it didn’t matter that we were no longer in Wichita, we were part of the tribe! They mobilized and came to the aid of my family. Their love and commitment to our family spoke volumes to me. It solidified our relationships—their loyalty has created a bond that is rock solid!
These are the kind of relationships the writer has in mind—foundational relationships. They’re the kind of relationships we need if we’re going to thrive as we face difficulties. These kinds of relationships make us resilient people. The writer has in mind friends who are there through the thick and thin of life, friends who have your back. These are the kinds of friendships we’re encouraged to develop. It is a joy and a privilege to have faithful friends and to be a true friend to others.
Take some time today to think about the people God has used in your life, those who have been loyal friends, those who have been a part of shaping you. Thank the Lord for bringing these people into your life. You might even consider reaching out to them today and expressing your gratitude to them. It could be a phone call, email, handwritten note, or even a short text. I’m sure it will be a blessing to them.
V. Prayer for others:
Pray specifically for the concerns of your life and the lives of others.
VI. Prayer of commitment:
“Lord God, I commit to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and to love my neighbor as myself. Empower me today to love you and others with everything that I am.” (Luke 10:27)
This Week’s Scripture Memory:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.