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 22
17 Listen closely, pay attention to the words of the wise,
and apply your mind to my knowledge.
18 For it is pleasing if you keep them within you
and if they are constantly on your lips.
19 I have instructed you today—even you—
so that your confidence may be in the LORD.
20 Haven’t I written for you thirty sayings
about counsel and knowledge,
21 in order to teach you true and reliable words,
so that you may give a dependable report to those who sent you? (CSB)
“Listen closely,” “pay attention” and “apply your mind to knowledge” are all acts that require effort on the part of the hearer. In other words, what the teacher is about to say doesn’t just happen. The student will have to discipline themselves if they’re to reap the full benefit of understanding a proverb or a parable. This reminds me of the old adage “practice makes perfect.”
When I was in the Air Force, every couple of months we would have war games known as “Aircraft Generations.” I was a crew chief and my job was to make sure my aircraft was ready for battle. We did these games with such frequency that it became second nature. To be honest, I hated doing the games, mainly because it was a lot of work and it was always over the weekend!
It wasn’t until the first Gulf War that I realized the true value of playing these games. I remember landing in Saudi Arabia, where the flight line supervisor immediately drove up to my aircraft and said, “Follow your checklist and generate your aircraft,” then he drove off to the next plane. So I got busy generating my aircraft. There was no hesitation. I would complete a task and move right on to the next. I remember stopping about 30 minutes into the whole process and just looking around. It felt so weird to me because even though we were at war, it felt like I was back in Texas doing one of those weekend Aircraft Generations drills that I hated doing. It was then that I realized all of my training had become second nature to me. I was filled with confidence! I knew exactly what needed to be done and got busy doing it. Why? Because during all those years of training, I learned to pay attention, listen closely, and apply my mind to learning the skills needed to prepare an aircraft for battle.
In the same way we can become skilled in our jobs, we can also become skilled in walking the path of wisdom. As the writer says in Proverbs, it’s going to take work to learn the “words of the wise,” but that work will be well worth the effort you’re going to put in. (See Proverbs 1:5-6) Why? Because wisdom will be ready on your lips, or, in other words, on the tip of your tongue to guide you as you go through the trials of life. Paying attention, listening, and applying wisdom brings joy to our hearts because it changes us from the inside out.
Are you putting in the work it’s going to take to grow in wisdom? If not, why?
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:
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.