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
8 A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it;
they think success will come at every turn.
“A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn.” This is an interesting proverb! Don’t let it mess you up, it’s not describing an act that we should want to emulate, it’s quite the opposite—it’s describing how things operate in a fallen world. It’s not encouraging us to behave this way, but rather to refrain from acting like that. Bribery is condemned (Ex. 23:8), and rightly so. Bribery is using something of value to influence a person for the desired outcome. Bribes are used to get a person to act in ways that are opposed to justice or the real situation. And that is clearly out of touch with the wisdom found in the Bible.
So, let’s look at the proverb again. Notice how the bribe is described as a precious stone, a good luck charm that hasn’t failed its holder yet. Now picture the briber who is confident in the all-around effectiveness of his tool. Imagine him boasting proudly, “You know, money talks!” as he walks on with a wink and a smile.
Remember what God thinks of bribery? The Lord detests bribery, He sees those who use it as wicked (vv15, 23). Clearly, we don’t want to walk their path.
This proverb reminds us of the value found in honesty. God wants us to be honest toward Him and others (Psalm 51:6). Bribery is just one of many ways dishonesty can creep into our lives.
I think dishonesty creeps in because sometimes we tend to live as though God can’t see us. When we do this, we open ourselves up to moving off of the good path. Somehow we can believe that because we don’t see God, then He’s not present. Now when you read this, you know that sounds foolish—and it is—but if you stop and think about the sin in your life, you’ll realize just how true it is! We can never forget that, even when we’re alone, God is right there with us, He sees us, even when others don’t. The truth is we should live our lives as though He were present with us, because He is!
Take some time and be honest with God… Truth is when we lie, He knows. When we look, He knows. When we cheat, He knows. When we are being dishonest, He knows. When we are being selfish or greedy or prideful or materialistic or lustful, He knows. He knows it all. (Anders)
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:
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops.