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 4
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
I love going to Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak in particular. It rises some 14,115-feet. It’s a thirteen-mile hike to make it to the top. The last 4,000-feet or so is above the tree line, the trail narrows at this point, and the oxygen gets thin. This is where you really begin to slow down. Patty and I have hiked to the top twice. It was unbelievably challenging!
Then there is the Manitou Incline. The once railroad track now consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties! At just under a mile, it is a 2,000-foot climb in elevation. To put the distance into perspective, the Shanghai Tower (the second tallest building in the world), is 2073-feet tall! It’s a steep incline, you can go up, but you are not to turn around and head down, it’s too dangerous, there’s a chance you’ll fall! Once you start the ascent, you’re committed to going to the top.
Although Pikes Peak and the Incline are challenging in different ways, they are the same in one way: Both require you to pay attention! When you start on Pikes Peak, the path is wide and leisurely, but as you progress the trail gets narrower and steeper. You can’t be looking around; you have to be intentional about moving forward. On the Incline, it’s the same; there is a chance you can miss a step and stumble. You might think, “Yeah, Jim, I get it. Watch where you’re going, that’s easy enough.” However, it’s not as easy as you might think, several things are fighting to distract you and take your focus off the task at hand. One is fatigue. You get tired, and when you’re tired your mind wanders. “It’s just another step,” you tell yourself as you mindlessly continue to move up the trail paying less and less attention to what you’re doing. It lulls you into a sense of complacency. But you can’t let that happen to you, shake off that feeling of complacency and determine that you are going to be intentional.
Another distraction is the beauty all around you. Listen, Colorado is beautiful. Its beauty calls out to you to look! Rather than looking at the placement of your feet, you look at what catches the eye, and before you know it, you’ve stumbled! This very thing has happened to me. As I looked over the treetops at the stunning view, I completely missed the step! Now that is a heart-stopper! I clearly remember how my heart raced as I gathered my composure.
Isn’t it interesting that the writer of Proverbs uses the metaphor of intentionally walking on a path to cast a vision to the young to walk with God? It’s not just any path either, it’s one like the two I’ve described—difficult paths, yet paths worth hiking. Walking in God’s wisdom will take our undivided attention. You have to be determined to stay on the path, and not be distracted. We must take action to establish our footing, to make sure it is fixed, firm, and secure. It’s essential that we not leave the only good way! Stay on the Gospel’s path.
Know that there are two ways to live. One that leads to life, the other leads to brokenness and destruction. Choose to stay on the straight path! Pay attention. Shake off distractions—the things that will make you stumble. Do the work required. Be intentional in the journey and experience the rewards of walking in God’s ways!
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:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.