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 28
1 The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
Here the wicked are compared to the righteous. The wicked are those characterized by godlessness. A righteous person is one whose actions are just and right. The wicked—or the fool—is described as one who is always on edge, one who thinks everyone is out to get them, while the righteous stand firm, “bold as a lion.” What is it that makes these two types of people respond the way they do?
Let’s look at the wicked person first. If you had to bring it down to brass tacks, you’d have to say it’s a guilty conscience. They know what they’re doing is wrong. They make up excuses for their actions –they’ll spend all kinds of time trying to justify what they have done – yet in the end, they know what they’ve done is wrong. This only ends up deepening their sense of guilt. That guilt can get so bad that they start believing things that are just not so—like suspecting that people are chasing them when there is no one there.
The sad thing is that we all can tend to act the same way when we have a guilty conscience. Don’t think so? Well, if you’re like me, then why do you automatically hit the brakes and get that shot of adrenaline when you see a state trooper on the side of the highway? Or maybe you’ve not told the truth, or you’ve gossiped or betrayed a confidence, and now it seems like every conversation puts you on edge. Your mind takes anything that can remotely be connected with the situation and makes a direct connection. It only produces fear, a sense of self-protection, and distrust. Listen, this is no way to live!
Now contrast those feelings above with the ways of the righteous—and it’s a no-brainer! Walking the path of righteousness gives us no cause to flee in shame and fear, but instead, it provides us with the strength to stand boldly like a lion. Walking in righteousness fills us with courage; we have no fear of retaliation from wrongdoing.
Now with all that said, here’s some really good news for us: when we find ourselves on the wrong path, we can quickly get off the path by repenting of our sin, turning the other direction, and start walking the right path. We can step off the way of wickedness and step onto the path of righteousness. When we mess up, fess up, and move on. Do like Paul does—follow his example—and make it your goal to know Christ (Phil. 3:12-13). You don’t have to live with a guilty conscience. Our hope—our confidence—is in Christ.
Let go of your past guilt—repent! Now look forward to what God has called you to—walk in righteousness. Make it your goal to grow in the knowledge and love of Christ. Thank God for the forgiveness you have through Jesus. His mercy makes it possible for you to stand boldly in Christ. Determine today to walk the path of righteousness.
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:
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.