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 23
9 Do not speak to fools,
for they will scorn your prudent words.
You know there are times when no matter what we say, some people will never listen, especially the fool! Fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).
Remember that the book of Proverbs is telling us the way life generally works. The proverb is not saying to never speak, but just be wise when you do. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (1:7) There’s a key word in this description of the fool that we should pay attention to. It’s the word “despise.” It means to hold in contempt, to belittle, or to ridicule. We’re talking about a close-minded person, someone we’d describe as thick-headed and stubborn. The problem we run into with these types of people is that their vices only make them arrogant and they become a know-it-all! Now I’m sure you’ve been around folks like this a time or two. This is the type of person the proverb has in mind.
When you try and help someone like this, many times it ends up just going south, so to speak. They couldn’t care less about what you have to say, especially when it comes to holy things. Rather than seeing your assistance as a help, they turn on you. Patty and I have experienced this firsthand; we’ve had people take our words and twist them into daggers and fling them back at us. Rather than seeing our words as helpful, they turned them against us and used them to justify their actions. In the end, their hatred had only grown towards us. Let me tell you, it wasn’t a fun place to be.
So, what are we to do when we see someone acting foolishly? There is a rule of thumb that Patty and I have since learned to use when we’re helping people who are making foolish choices. We have determined not to “work harder than the person needing the help.” Ultimately, all we can do is offer words and resources, but eventually the individual is going to have to take the steps needed to change.
Here’s an example: say someone comes to you and says they have an addiction problem. You get on the phone, work to find assistance, get a place to stay, set up meetings, get in contact with others who have struggled with the same addiction, etc. Now all that person has to do is pick up the phone and call. The ball is in their court. And they don’t make the call; they think it’s not worth the effort. In fact, they may even turn on you and say you’ve done nothing for them! That’s how it often works when we work harder than the person needing help. If you’re doing this, you’re wasting your breath on the fool. Hear me out: I’m not saying you should give up on them. We should give encouragement, support, resources and help, but they will need to take action if their situation is going to improve.
Be wise with your words. Remember, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
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:
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.