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 18
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
I like how the New Living Translation states our verse for today: Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. It really gets down to the brass tacks: we don’t listen well!
Listening carefully, hearing what the other person has to say seems to be a lost art, especially today! Many listeners are quick to jump to conclusions before the words are even out of the other person’s mouth. Make it a topic we’re the resident expert on, and we’re even quicker to answer without listening to the other person.
Jumping to conclusions—answering before listening—is an old problem that seems always to hang around. Jesus faced it first-hand when the religious leaders of His day didn’t want to hear what He had to say, they tuned Him out, they would have nothing to do with what Jesus had to say. In fact, they wanted Him gone! Nicodemus is another; he’s the pharisee who visited Jesus at night. He was tuned out by his fellow Pharisees’ and wasn’t heard when he pushed back on them and indirectly spoke up for Jesus (John 7:50).
So, if jumping to conclusions is so obviously wrong, then why do we do it? The most straightforward answer is pride. It’s allowing the temptation for self-importance to raise its ugly little head. We begin to think we’re the smart ones, the wise ones, the ones who got it all figured out! This kind of attitude makes it easy for us to announce the solution before we have fully heard the problem. A friend or a person begins to speak, and we immediately think, “That’s stupid! Look, you just need to do this…” you see that’s pride. You have no interest in hearing the facts or anything else that might contradict your own opinions.
Now I don’t know about you, but I can have a tendency to do this when it comes to talking about things that are way above my pay grade—like political issues. Oh, I’ve got an answer to all of it. But in reality, how arrogant of me! I talk as if I could snap my fingers, and all could be fixed, everyone would just get along. Here’s the problem with all this, I’m not God! I don’t know anything! My knowledge is limited. And when it comes to individual people, I have no real power to read their hearts, only God can do that. By answering before listening, all I’m doing is showing people that I’m arrogant, unteachable, or prejudiced. And when it comes down to the street level, down to people’s lives, it gets even more personal. How prideful it is to assume that we are smart enough to know what a person will say before they say it. We have treated them like they don’t matter and only show to all our own thoughtlessness and ignorance. How much better if we would slow down and get all the facts before giving our opinion. Do this, and we’re on the path that leads to loving our neighbor as Jesus would have us love them.
Fools speak impulsively, without really listening and reflecting on what they hear. They say all sorts of things that get them into trouble and earn them the reputation of being stupid, and in this way, they are humiliated. You and I don’t have to live like that, we can choose to walk
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.