“MY ONE-WORD RESOLUTION” or “MY ONE WORD” | Part 2

Course: Spiritual Exercises

Title: Lesson #5 – “My One-Word Resolution” or “My One Word” | Part 2

Part 2: My Seven-Year Story Making “My One-Word Resolutions” and Living by “My One Word” – and What They Have Been

In our last lesson segment, Part 1, I refreshed our minds about what Spiritual Exercises are just to get us back on track and in focus. Then I laid the groundwork for the Scriptural exercise of making holy resolutions and the daily lifestyle role that making holy resolutions should have in our lives and discipleship after Christ. I also gave you just a teaser about what a “One-Word Resolution” is and how I was introduced to this practice and exercise 7 years ago. If you haven’t watched that segment, I’d encourage you to do that. [link is imbedded above…]

What I want to do now is continue that personal story and give you some personal testimony about how I have implemented this exercise. So, I’m calling this Part 2 of our lesson: “My Seven-year story making ‘My One-Word Resolutions’ and living by ‘My One Word’ – and what they have been.’

So … now back to my story…

So, now that I’ve given you a little personal background about my long-standing exercise of making resolutions, and especially New Year’s resolutions, let me pick up the story of how I came across the book My One Word, and how it changed the way I make my resolutions.

I resolve…

It was late in the year of 2014. I was thinking ahead and praying about 2015. And, like Pastor Mike Ashcraft says in the teaser about his book, I was one of those who made lists of resolutions. They were all good resolutions. They were all resolutions that I thought I should make to serve the Lord more faithfully and walk more closely with Him.

But, I would think, pray, and meditate during the closing weeks of the year. And you know how that, even though the last 6-8 weeks of the year are busy with holiday events, and get-togethers, and activities, we usually still have some break from the normal pressures and focus of our regular work schedule. So, there may be some extra time in there to give a little more attention to other things … like preparing and making resolutions for the new year. And I would. And the lists of resolutions would be numerous, detailed, comprehensive, and oftentimes maybe overly-ambitious.

And I meant well … I was very conscientious about it.

But then, when the new year comes, your normal activities and responsibilities resume, and you get back to your usual demanding workload, and your attention becomes absorbed and preoccupied again just to live your normal life in many of the usual ways.

And what happens to your resolutions? I would often lose track of what I had resolved to do and what I had resolved to change and do differently. Sometimes I would even lose my lists of resolutions! It’s like I wouldn’t have the attention and time to fulfill my regularly-scheduled ministry activities and also give attention to and focus on making the extensive changes like I had resolved I would do.

And so very often, I would just revert back to some of my old imperfect ways just by default. Or, maybe I would become distracted, then discouraged, then defeated – and finally just give it up in frustration. And then, to make matters much worse, I would get depressed over my perceived failure to keep my resolutions.

Then, I discovered My One Word

Then, I discovered this book My One Word and read it. It changed everything for me. I began making “My One Word” Resolution beginning in January 2015, and I have continued that practice to the present.

I prayed about one major resolution that I should make to change my ways before God, and when I focused on that “One Word,” I discovered that other changes I need to make would also be included in “My One Word” and they, too, began to fall in line with “My One Word,” and I was actually pursuing several paths of growing in grace while I was focusing on “My One Word.”

How it has worked for me…

I think that maybe the best way to illustrate how “My One Word” works, and how it may prove to be a beneficial spiritual exercise for you, is to give you a personal testimony about how I have worked it in my life and experience.

So, let me give you a year-by-year testimony of what “My One Word” resolutions have been and how the Lord impressed each one on my life – and especially as I have prayed about what changes the Holy Spirit needed to make in my life as those changes were inspired and energized by the Word of God.

2015 – “REST”

So, as I say, 2015 was coming up. I knew there were changes that were going to take place in my life and ministry. Changes were going to take place in the church I was pastoring. I didn’t know how they were going to go or what the outcome of all these changes would be. I would find out later – but I didn’t know in 2014 going into 2015.

So, I was praying and seeking the mind and will of God for how I should lead in these changes. And, I was anxious about it all. I was anxious because of the uncertainty. I was anxious because I knew it was going to be an eventful and impactful year … I just didn’t know how the events would go or what impact it would all have on all of us.

As I prayed about it all, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I must have faith in God, trust Him, faithfully obey what I knew that I must obey – and REST!

And, always, as you seek a “My One Word,” your word to live by will come from God’s Word. He will give you the “One Word” He wants you to adopt and practice, and He will give you that word from His Word, the Scriptures, the Bible.

So, the words of Jesus in Matthew 11.28 were impressed on my soul: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST.” There it was – “REST”!

There were many others, like Psalm 37.7 KJV, “REST in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” To “REST” in the LORD means to give up my own worry and anxieties and trust Him implicitly … have confidence in His good intentions and purposes for me.

So, I went into 2015 resolved that I would not worry, or be anxious, or try to take matters into my own hands, but rather “REST” in the LORD, trust Him, and wait patiently for Him to work out His sovereign will and gracious pleasure in my life and ministry.

2016 – “DELIGHT”

As 2015 turned into 2016, the circumstances of my life and ministry began to be more complicated and difficult. But God was always there, working His sovereign pleasure and will in everything that was happening and developing. And I could sense that some of those circumstances were not headed in ways that were going to be particularly to my personal liking or pleasurable to enjoy. In other words, things were shaping up that had all the prospects that it would be personally painful and bitter to my personal tastes.

But, God was becoming more and more personal to me at the same time. I was enjoying more of His Presence and the joy, peace, and comfort of His personal company. I was “resting” in Him more. I was learning to trust Him more and just enjoy being with Him regardless of how things turned out for me personally.

So, as I continued with the LORD in 2016, He taught me that it isn’t enough for me just to “REST” in the LORD – as in just resigning myself to accept whatever He had planned for me – but I must “DELIGHT” in Him! I must not be content with just a passive and stoic acceptance of His will, but I must enjoy Him! I must treasure Him above my every other possession and personal experience!

And so “My One Word” was “DELIGHT.”

Again, “My One Word” for 2016 came from The Word of God.

  • Psalm 37.4, “DELIGHT yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
  • Psalm 1.2, “…but his DELIGHT is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.”
  • Psalm 40.8, “I DELIGHT to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” [quoted again by our Lord in Hebrews 10.7]
  • Romans 7.22, “For I DELIGHT in the law of God, in my inner being…”

And so the LORD began to draw my heart to seek Him for the sake of the DELIGHT of His company and His pleasure.

And not only did I learn more to “DELIGHT” myself in knowing Him, but I also reveled more in His “DELIGHT” in me! Proverbs 8.30-31 speaks of Christ in the work of creation, “…then I was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His DELIGHT, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in His inhabited world and DELIGHTING in the children of man.” And Proverbs 15.8 KJV, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His DELIGHT.”

There are so many other delightful Scriptures that call on us to DELIGHT ourselves in God just for the pure pleasure of knowing and enjoying Him! And many others that assure us of God’s own personal DELIGHT in us as His children and treasured possessions!

And so I resolved to more and more “DELIGHT” in God just for the pleasure of knowing Him and enjoying His company and His pleasure in me!

2017 – “FOLLOW”

As 2017 opened up, I could sense early on that there were going to be major changes in my ministry and in our lives as we had lived and known them up to that point. I didn’t know when these major, seismic changes and transitions would shift, but I knew they were coming. Nor did I have any idea where the direction or the course of our lives would take during the upcoming year.

So, going into 2017, “My One Word” was “FOLLOW,” and I resolved to the LORD that I would “follow” Him wherever His will would lead us. I got “My One Word” “follow” from John 12.25-26:

“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”

So, there I had it. Jesus Himself was following the Father’s will even to the Cross. I resolved that I would “follow” Jesus wherever He chose to lead us, take us, and go with us. I also knew that wherever He leads us, and wherever we follow Him to, that’s where He wants us to be to be working through us. That’s all that any of us is ever called to do anyway, is “follow” Christ.

So, on May 28 of 2017, I resigned the pastorate where we had served for the previous 35 years because I believed that Jesus was calling us to ‘follow’ Him … we just didn’t know where. As it turned out, we pretty immediately ‘followed’ His leadership to come here where we are now. “Follow” was a good word for 2017 – and for every day of every other year also, of course!

2018 – “ABIDE”

As we went into 2018, we had been here at Buck Run for six months; so this new course and direction for our lives was still very new to us. I was suffering from a bad case of disorientation because the whole structure and order of my life and ministry had suddenly changed, and I hadn’t prepared for it. For the previous 45 years, I had been pastor of a church in some role or another – most of those years as a lead pastor. Now, for the first time in almost half a century and for all of my adult life, I was not a pastor of a church.

I’m not saying it was a bad place to be in, just different. I was not depressed or disheartened by the changes in my function and roles, but I was very disoriented, and somewhat confused and casting about for what I was supposed to do.

That’s when the Holy Spirit began to impress the word “ABIDE” upon my spirit – as in “Abide in Christ.” Or, Paul uses the same original word in 1 Corinthians 7.27, “So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain [or, ‘abide’] with God.” The word ‘abide’ simply means ‘to dwell, remain.’ 

God began to reassure me that I was not in a bad place at all! I had not lost my identity. My identity was still “in Christ.” I was still the same child of God. I was still the same servant of the Most High God. I was still a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. I was still loved by God and by my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. All that had changed was my practical activities and ministry roles.

So, during that time, God began impressing me that He had brought all these changes into my life and ministry because He wanted me more for Himself. He wanted me to spend more undistracted time and attention on seeking Him and delighting in Him. He wanted me to focus on and cultivate more my relationship with Him. If I was going to ‘follow’ Him, He would lead me to more ‘abide’ in Him.

John 15 began to reverberate in my soul:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

And so, “My One Word” for 2018 was “ABIDE” as in “abide in Christ,” “abide in His love,” “abide in the fullness of His joy.” I began to explore, express, and enjoy more my intimacy and my relationship with Christ and what it means to “ABIDE” in Him.

2019 – “CONQUER”  

The more I focused on abiding in Christ, the more conscious I became of my indwelling sin. And especially all the sins of “self”: like self-will, self-love, self-ish, self-seeking, self-pleasing.

The struggles of temptation to have my own will and way and to have what I wanted to have for myself were vicious and fierce and unrelenting. The more I wanted to abide in Christ, the more my indwelling sin nature seemed to revive, rear its ugly head, and rage with desire for what it wanted. It was war. It was an internal civil war that renewed its intensity and ferocity. It was a constant battle and fight for mastery over my will. It was like I was constantly and daily living in the raging war that Paul describes in Romans 7.21-23:

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 

Peter describes this battle, this conflict, this war with this call to spiritual arms:

“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” [1 Peter 2.11].

And Paul describes his personal battle plan to CONQUER his indwelling sin in the language of destroying fortresses and strongholds and taking his every thought, feeling, and activity captive to serving Christ:

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… [2 Corinthians 10.3-5]

I was far too often and too much being defeated, conquered, and being taken captive by my own indwelling sin. So, I resolved to “CONQUER” my indwelling sinful desires for my own glory, my own getting, my own gratification. I didn’t want to just struggle with my indwelling sin, which all believers do – I wanted to CONQUER my indwelling sin by the grace of God.

In Romans, chapter 6, leading up to the inner struggles and warfare against indwelling sin that he describes in chapter 7, Paul makes this victory proclamation in Romans 6.12-14:

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. [my emphases added]

When Paul says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body,” he is saying ‘CONQUER your sin, don’t let it CONQUER you.’ When he says, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace,” he is saying ‘CONQUER your sin through the life and power of God’s saving grace because God’s grace will not allow your sin to CONQUER or have dominion over you.’

Now, the way I came up with “My One Word” CONQUER is actually by creating an acrostic. You can say I cheated on “My One Word” if you want to, but I also adopted seven other key words: one for every letter of the one-word CONQUER.

So, Here’s how I resolved to CONQUER my indwelling sin:

  • Commit to loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength – make God Himself the supreme and chief love and desire of my life
  • Own personal responsibility for my response to this temptation
  • Navigate my desires away from the temptation and seek the Face and pleasure of God
  • Question the source and nature of every desire and temptation – where is it coming from? from the Father? or from the flesh?
  • Unite all the strength and desires of my love and will to seek God and His pleasure [Psalm 86.11]
  • Employ all the means of grace God has made available to me: the Holy Spirit, the Word, prayer, obedience, fellowship with the saints, accountability – and most of all, confession of my sins
  • Receive and Rejoice in the promised resolve, life, strength, and desire of the Holy Spirit to choose to love Christ … and Receive and Rejoice in His forgiveness when I do fail

2020 – “Conquer / LOVE”

Some years – or however long a season you choose to live by your “My One Word” – you may choose to adopt and live by the same “One Word.” Just carry it over and carry it on until you believe it has worked its intended grace and growth in your life.

I did that in 2020, last year. I retained the “My One Word” “CONQUER,” but I added a companion “My One Word” to give it a sharper, more intensified focus and application: “LOVE” … just the simple, bottom-line, first-commandment, root-of-all-things “LOVE.”

Actually, “LOVE” is the keyword to the “C” in “CONQUER.” The “C” in “CONQUER” is “I Commit to loving God with ALL MY HEART AND DESIRES … I Commit to purity and holiness and pleasing Christ…” That, of course, comes from the First and Greatest Commandment of all in Deuteronomy 6.4-5:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your might” [my emphases added].

And Jesus repeatedly confirmed the primacy and first priority of LOVE in His teaching and preaching.

When I adopted ‘CONQUER’ as “My One Word” in 2019, I knew that LOVE is at the root of all my sin, and so it will also be at the root of all my conquering my sin. You say: “How can love be at the root of all sin?” Well, it’s because all my sin traces its root and origin and birth back to what I choose to love. All of my sin and all my temptations to sin are born in the womb of my desires and what I want. And I want and desire what I love.

All of my temptations to sin are just solicitations and opportunities that are presented to me by the Tempter to indulge in some illicit and fleshly desire that my indwelling sin nature loves and wants.  

In my struggles and fight to CONQUER my indwelling sin, I repeatedly traced it back to what I was wanting, what I was loving. James does his spiritual forensics on our temptations and sin when he diagnoses it this way:

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” ~James 1.14-15, my emphases added

When Paul describes his own personal inner spiritual struggles and warfare with his indwelling sin in Romans, chapter 7, he repeatedly describes it in terms of “what I want” and “I have the desire.” It’s our dueling desires, the constantly raging war of opposing loves. He even says that the cardinal sin that woke him up to his wretchedness and extreme sinfulness before God and “slew” him was the sin of covetousness! What is covetousness? And what makes covetousness so bad?  Covetousness is our love, desires, and lusts which are perverted, and mis-guided toward and mis-placed upon the wrong objects of desire. We love what we’re not supposed to love. We don’t love what we are commanded to love.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. ~Romans 7.21-25, my emphases added

Do you see the war of competing loves, conflicting loves, adversarial loves fighting against each other in our inner souls and desires?

The apostle John starts off 1 John, chapter 2 with “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.” So, what instructions does he give us when he teaches us how we may not sin? He commands us to regulate our lives and conquer our sins by choosing Whom we love:

Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” ~1 John 2.15-17, my emphases added

By the way, it was from this Scripture that I framed the “Q” in “CONQUER” as “Question the source and the nature of every desire and temptation – whether it is from The Father or from the world…”

So, that’s why, in 2020, I carried over the “My One Word” “CONQUER,” but then added the more focused “My One Word” “LOVE.” I adopted Deuteronomy 6.4-5 to memorize as my key Scripture to keep me focused on “My One Word”: to CONQUER my indwelling sin by LOVING the LORD my God with ALL my heart, soul, mind, and desires.  

2021 – “Conquer / FIGHT”

So, that brings me to where we are today – the beginning of 2021. Again, I’m retaining my 2019 “One Word” for 2021, except that again, I’m extending it with another intensifier “My One Word” … the word “FIGHT.”

I’m still battling and waging the ‘CONQUER’ war against my indwelling sins of ‘self’ – I’m waging that war by emphasizing and focusing on ‘LOVE’ as the primary weapon of my warfare. When I adopt and commit to practicing the “My One Word” ‘FIGHT’ for 2021, I am acknowledging that I am responsible to engage this war with all the weaponry and armor that God has given me by His saving grace and put at my disposal to FIGHT with.

In fact, this resolution “FIGHT” is actually already built into the “My One Word” I adopted for 2019: CONQUER. Remember that I told you that CONQUER is actually an acrostic with every letter being another resolution. So, the “O” in CONQUER is for “OWN” – “I Own personal responsibility for my response to this temptation…”

When I adopt the “My One Word” ‘FIGHT,’ I am acknowledging that if I CONQUER my indwelling sin with all of its illicit loves and desires, it will not happen on its own. My indwelling sin will not be conquered automatically just because I’m saved. I cannot be naïve, inattentive, lackadaisical, or passive about this inner war. Romans 7.22-23 is always raging in my members:

22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

I must FIGHT!

My indwelling sin will not be conquered without putting up its own fierce, vicious, and passionate FIGHT against me – even from within me; and I must FIGHT it back just as fiercely, just as viciously, and just as passionately in the life and power of the Holy Spirit.

I want to take the time here to tell you just how serious this FIGHT is. When Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6.12 that we do not “wrestle” [or fight] against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of darkness that are committed to eliminating us, the word that he uses for “wrestle” [πάλη] is used only this one time in the New Testament. It was a Greek contest [or ‘exercise,’ if you will] in which the fighters fought with one another until the victor, the conqueror, not only threw his opponent down, but pinned him and rendered him immobile with his own hand on his neck. In other words, the conquered opponent was rendered so weak, that his conqueror actually had his hand on his jugular vein and esophagus – he had the power of life and death in his hands over his opponent.

THAT IS THE FIGHT WE ARE IN! 

Paul charges Timothy in 1 Timothy 6.11-12:

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 FIGHT the good FIGHT of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

For Paul himself, that FIGHT was a FIGHT that lasted right up until the end of his life and ministry – it was one of the last testimonies that he gave before his own martyrdom:

“I have FOUGHT the good FIGHT, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” ~ 2 Timothy 4.7.

However, let me be perfectly clear about one truth: I am in no way suggesting or teaching that our FIGHT against our indwelling sin can be waged and won by any power or strength that is inherent in us.

In all of these discussions and teachings about CONQUERING our indwelling sins and FIGHTING against it in our struggles for holiness and godliness, I have tried to always emphasize that we don’t FIGHT sin and temptation to sin with our own will power or resolve or by making resolutions. In fact, if there’s one lesson I have learned from a life-long war against my indwelling sin, it is that IT IS MY OWN WILL THAT I’M FIGHTING AGAINST! The only power and strength that we have to FIGHT and CONQUER our indwelling sin is by the strength and power that is given to us by the grace of God.

You will never will-power yourself to holiness. What we are talking about is becoming more and more like Jesus Christ in every way: in our values, in our attitudes, in our character, and in our conduct. And you can’t do that with any and all the energies and strengths that you possess in yourself. God will have to work in you and through you to CONQUER your sin. You can FIGHT victoriously against your sin only in the strength that God gives you by His grace through the Holy Spirit.

In that all-equipping passage in Ephesians 6 where Paul trains us in spiritual warfare, he begins his training by reminding us that the only strength and weaponry we have for our FIGHT against sin is “in the Lord”:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. ~Ephesians 6.10-13

And so, I am resolving to assume my personal responsibility to FIGHT, even while I’m trusting in and relying upon the strength and power of God to make my FIGHT victorious and CONQUER my indwelling sin. The way I commit to FIGHT is by LOVING God with all my heart and obeying every word He gives me in the Scriptures in the power of the Holy Spirit.

By the way, I have also adopted Caleb in Joshua 14 as my model, exemplar, and my encouragement to engage this on-going FIGHT. In Joshua 14, they are taking possession of the Promised Land that God is giving them as their inheritance. That in itself is a prequel of the life we are now living in Jesus Christ as you will discover in Hebrews 3-4. God promised them the land. God is giving it to them by driving out their enemies from before them. But they must FIGHT to take possession of what God promised and is giving them. God Himself is FIGHTING with them and for them as they FIGHT at his command.

So, Caleb comes to his long-time comrade and compatriot during all their years of wandering in the wilderness, and he reminds Joshua how Moses promised them that they could have the territories that they believed God would give them if only they would trust Him and obey Him to go and take it. That was 45 years ago, but now they are in.

So Caleb asks Joshua to give him an additional ‘mountain’ or hill country territory that still had giant warrior inhabitants still living in it, the Anakim. He knew it would be a FIGHT, but he was prepared to take on that FIGHT because he knew that God would FIGHT for him and with him.

And, get this – Caleb was an 85-year-old man by this time. He was no spring chicken any longer. He was no merely ambitious young whippersnapper. He was an old, seasoned, experienced saint who wasn’t just out itching for a FIGHT, but was still willing to continue to FIGHT for what God had given him to have:

10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said. ~Joshua 14.10-12

So, that’s where I am this year. Still warring against my flesh and my indwelling sin, but still committed to CONQUER it by living by the supreme law of LOVE and being willing to engage the FIGHT as God gives me the strength, armor, and weaponry to FIGHT with.

I have been mightily helped and encouraged over the years in my struggles against sin and my aspirations for holiness by the ministry and writings of Jerry Bridges. He has written extensively on this subject especially in his books The Pursuit of Holiness, The Practice of Godliness, Holiness Day by Day [among others also…], but he wrote this little paragraph in one of his books that struck me years ago and has stuck with me as a constant motivation and inspiration to FIGHT against my indwelling sin:

“We Christians greatly enjoy talking about the provision of God, how Christ defeated sin on the Cross and gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us to victory over sin. But we do not as readily talk about our own responsibility to walk in holiness...We pray for victory when we should be acting in obedience.” ~Jerry Bridges [Pursuit of Holiness]

My act of obedience is to responsibly engage the FIGHT against the sin that dwells in me and CONQUER it in the strength and power of the grace of God.

OK – that is just a personal practical narrative of how this spiritual exercise of making holy resolutions has worked in my life and experience.

I hope you will join us for the next segment which will be some more teaching and examples from the Word of God to encourage us in this exercise: “Biblical authority and Precedent for and Examples of a ‘My One Word’ Resolution.”

I hope you’ll join us then also…

Here is the YouTube link to this lesson’s video:

https://youtu.be/WrvSAI_QKiA  |  Length 54:28

Here is a PDF of these Lesson Notes:

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“May prayer be made FOR Him continually…” ~Psalm 72.15

“May prayer be made for Him continually, and blessings invoked for Him all the day!” ~Psalm 72.15b

This Psalm bears the superscription “Of Solomon.” Whether ‘of Solomon’ means that David or some other Divinely-inspired author wrote this Psalm ‘of,’ about, or concerning Solomon with Solomon as the subject; or ‘of Solomon’ means that Solomon is the author himself – it is a prayer and appeal for God’s pleasure and blessings upon Solomon’s rule and reign over God’s kingdom. It is throughout a passionate appeal to God to bring to full fruition the covenant promises He had made to David and to his royal kingly descendants forever:

‘May they fear You while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!’ ~verses 5-7 ff

All of these desired and prayed-for blessings are just re-echoes from the covenant promises God gave to David in 2 Samuel, chapters 7 and 23.

“And now, O LORD God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and DO AS YOU HAVE SPOKEN!” ~2 Samuel 7.25

Without a doubt, as David recognized, these promises go far beyond any of David’s merely human descendants [2 Samuel 7.18-29]. These covenant promises were made concerning Christ [compare Psalm 72.8 with Luke 2.32-33], and they were made TO Christ Himself [Galatians 3.15-16]!

That being so, I have always been intrigued by verse 15b, “May prayer be made FOR Him continually, and blessings invoked FOR Him continually.”

We are used to singing in the second stanza of the beloved Isaac Watts hymn ‘Jesus shall reign where’er the sun…’, ‘FOR Him shall endless prayer be made, and praises throng to crown His head…’ Except that, in most of our later adaptations, it was changed to sing ‘TO Him shall endless prayer be made…’

Yes, it is true that we shall make our endless prayers TO Him; but the Psalmist said that ‘May prayer be made FOR Him continually…’ I have asked myself, ‘How do pray FOR Christ?’ He is not needy. He is not poor or deficient in any way to need us to pray FOR Him to receive or have anything. These covenant promises and blessings have been given to Him, and He shall every one of them in full!

But we do pray FOR Him! We pray FOR Him when we pray for Him to receive every covenant promise He Himself prayed to the Father to give Him when He prayed FOR Himself – like, in John 17, for example. He prayed to the Father FOR the covenant blessings the Father had promised and given Him ‘before the world existed.’

So, when we pray FOR Christ, we are praying FOR:

  • His Kingdom
  • His Name
  • His worship
  • His praise
  • His Word
  • His Gospel
  • His people
  • His Glory

Read the Psalm! Note the requests that the psalmist petitions God FOR the king. These are just some of the covenant blessings that the Psalmist prayed that God would ‘Give the king [verse 1]’ when he prayed FOR Him.

These are same petitions we pray to be fully given to Jesus Christ when we pray FOR Him continually! Let’s all join together and pray in unison and concert FOR Christ to receive them all fully!

“Blessed be His Glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be fill with His Glory! Amen and Amen!” ~verse 19

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“I WILL BE YOUR GOD!”

“YOU SHALL BE MY PEOPLE, AND I WILL BE YOUR GOD!” ~Jeremiah 30:22

I read this Pastor Richard Sibbes excerpt recently in the February 1 reading of Voices From The Past, volume 2, edited by Richard Rushing [Banner of Truth]. I just have to share it!

I wrote a personal note at the top of the page: “THIS God is God in all the supreme, sovereign, sweet, and sufficient meanings of what it is to be ‘GOD’ – and He gives Himself to me and commits: ‘I WILL BE YOUR GOD!’ I need a God. I want a God. I have a god … whomever or what it may be. But, THIS GOD says, ‘I WILL BE YOUR GOD, and YOU shall be My people!’ ‘And…can it be?’”

Here’s Sibbes: “God framed man to have communion and fellowship with Himself. This fellowship is where happiness consists. God’s love for man established the covenant of grace in the seed of the woman, Christ the Messiah, to restore mankind from the most miserable plight and misery into which Adam cast the world by his sin.

It is a most sweet sign of God’s great love that He would stoop so low as to make a covenant with us, to be our God and to be all in all to us! Consider such a covenant –

  • the Creator with the creature;
  • the immortal God and mortal man;
  • the glorious God, and dust and ashes;
  • the holy God and sinful man;
  • the great King of heaven and earth, and rebels and traitors.

For Him to condescend so low as to make a covenant with us, to enter into terms of agreement with us, is a wondrous sign of His gracious mercy and love.

This covenant is only by Jesus Christ, and to those who believe in Him. We enter into a relationship greater than the world can offer, and are freed from the cursed estate we are in by nature.

God delivers us from all ill, spiritually and eternally. God is able to save us against all our enemies whatsoever: our weakness, the devil, and all of our own corruptions or oppositions whatsoever.

Consider the wisdom of Heaven that says so much in ‘I WILL BE YOUR GOD!’

  • His wisdom is yours and watches you to find out ways to do you good.
  • His power is yours to keep you from danger, and to defend and rescue you from all enemies.
  • His providence is yours to turn all things to your good.
  • His mercy is yours to forgive your sins.
  • His love is yours to bestow all necessary comforts.

There is no phrase in Scripture that has so much in so little as ‘I WILL BE YOUR GOD!’ If we could but unfold and lay open this excellent promise. All other promises in the covenant of grace are members of this.

It is a wonderful and comprehensive promise: ‘I WILL BE YOUR GOD!’

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Judges … then Ruth – you never know what God is doing behind the scenes and under the cover of your darkness…

JUDGES … THEN RUTH!

Just a powerful conviction and encouragement.

In my Daily Time With God, I have been reading through Joshua and Judges. Especially Judges: what a debauched, perverted, raunchy, and dissolute time in Israel’s history. And to think this went on for over 300 years. And all because ‘they forgot the LORD.’

The writer of Judges makes this point, oh, so well. I have to believe that was the primary intentional take-away from his concluding narrative in chapters 17-21 [even after everything that had gone before…]. Just to let us know that “that was the way it was in Israel, ‘Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.’” Yes, they did ALL that!

And, not only did they do ALL that, but it was RIGHT in their own eyes.

And I say again, this went on for over 300 years. And it is going from bad to worse…

You finish reading Judges, and you just want to vomit. It’s depressing. You wonder: “Are they irredeemable? Can a people ever come back from this despicable abyss of degeneracy? Is it bottomless? Can this be turned around, redeemed? Can there ever again be any kind of a future worth expecting and living for?”

But, more than that, you have to ask: “Is God doing anything here? Is there NO hope? Can there ever be any expectation that a better, brighter day could ever come after this?’ This must have been the prevailing frame of mind for anyone who still retained even the feeblest, trembling “waiting for the Consolation of Israel” [Luke 2.25].

“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take!

The clouds you so much dread

are big with mercy and shall break

with blessings on your head!” ~William Cowper

Keep reading.

The next book is Ruth.

The writer intentionally again begins this continuing narrative with “In the days when the judges ruled…” to let us know that the Story he is about to unfold in the Book of Ruth transpired “in the days when the judges ruled…” Yes, that’s right – in those same days!

And you know what that Story is, don’t you? Oh, yes! You know! Ruth, the Moabitess comes back to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, Naomi. God brought them back! Yes! God is still working! God is still doing His Thing!

Ruth meets Boaz, they are married, and they have a baby.

“And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David” ~Ruth 4.17.

And thus begin the immediate family tree and lineage that would give birth to David – and David brings us to Christ! Just a few generations later, Jesus, the Son of David, is born into our world in that same “little town of Bethlehem.”

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people! For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the LORD!” [Luke 2.10-11]

And He comes as the Light and Savior of the world! God did it all! Oh, yes! He did! And He still is!

The world and all its cultures of darkness cannot overcome the Light of the World’s coming to save us from all our sin and give us the Light of Life! [John 1.4-5]

You never know what God is doing under the cover of the darkness – whether it is the darkness of the world in which you are living or the darkness of your own life’s history and story. “Let Light shine out of darkness!”

Here’s praying God shines this Light into your soul … right now!

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Just a few questions I ask myself at the close of the day…

JUST A FEW QUESTIONS TO ASK MYSELF AT THE CLOSE OF THE DAY:

– Have I recognized the Presence of God and the faithfulness of His ever-renewing mercies to me throughout the activities of this day?

– Have I recognized the extraordinary provisions that God has granted me, and interventions that God has worked for me [that God has done it] in what has transpired over the course of this day?

– Have I recognized and thanked Him for giving me all things that pertain to life and godliness today?

– Have I represented Jesus Christ faithfully and well in every interaction I’ve had with others over the course of this day?

– Have I intentionally lived and walked under the governance and guidance of the Holy Spirit today?

– Have I availed myself and made good use of all the means of grace God has made available to me today?

– Have I been a good steward of my time, attention, and energies in everything I have done today?

– Have I been diligent to make every effort to supplement the faith God has granted me with improvement and growth in His grace?

– Have I deliberately sinned in any way today: in thought, in word, in deed?

– Have I grieved or displeased God in any way today?

– If I have, did I immediately confess it and forsake it when the Holy Spirit troubled my spirit and convicted my conscience of it?

– Have I encouraged with a good word or helped with needed assistance any one today who God may have brought into my life?

– If I have experienced difficulties, or adversities, or interruptions and disruptions over the course of this day, have I remembered that God is in control of all things and asked Him what He wants me to learn from it?

– Have I been obedient and faithful with every responsibility God has entrusted to me today?

– Have I entrusted to God everything that is out of my control today?

– – To summarize and capsulize: Have I rejoiced in the LORD my God today? Not just rejoiced in the things I preferred and liked, but rejoiced in GOD? Have I delighted to know Him? Have I enjoyed my blessings and privileges of just having Him to be my God, and His having me to be His child? Have I served Him with joy and gladness?

– Am I prepared to give account to God right now, and to Jesus Christ in the Last Day for how I have lived the life He has graciously granted to me today?

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Cleansing ourselves from every defilement of body AND spirit…

“Since we have these promises, beloved,

let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit,

bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” ~2 Corinthians 7.1

We are to make every effort and implement every means God has given us to cleanse ourselves from every defilement – both in body and in spirit.

Jesus even went so far to say “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell” ~Matthew 5.29-30.

Now, THAT is making every effort and implementing every means! And, He is serious about, and so should we!

It is one thing to abstain from practicing and indulging in outward sins. We just must restrain ourselves from physically doing them. However, it is quite another thing to NOT practice and indulge ourselves in fantacizing about them and acting them out in our mind and spirit.

Jesus said that to indulge in the mental activities is to commit them in fact.

Not to cleanse ourselves in mind and spirit is to practice, train, condition, and entice ourselves, making it much easier to fall for the physical act of whatever sin we are mentally indulging. You are drawing out your plays on the whiteboard of your mind and desires, just waiting for the Tempter to present you with the opportunity to call for the play [see James 1.14-15].

It is much easier to commit the actual act of murder if you have been coddling and nurturing hatred in your heart toward someone else, and amassing all the evidences of your injuries, self-defense, and justification [see Matthew 5.21-26]. “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” ~1 John 3.15.

It is much easier to commit the act of fornication and adultery if you have been allowing yourself to want it, fantacizing about it in your mind and spirit, or imbibing pornography [see Matthew 5.27-30].

It is much easier to commit the sins of lying, slander, and character assassination if you have been rehearsing the case and playing it over and over again in your seething malice against another [see Ephesians 4.25-27, 31 & Colossians 3.5-11].

It is much easier to explode in evil and injurious anger toward another when you have been stoking and fanning that bitterness and anger until the opportunity arises for you to vent it in force for its maximum intended effect [see Matthew 5.21-26 & James 1.19-21].

It is much easier to cheat and steal when you have been plotting and scheming your covetous, idolatrous plans of whatever kind in your mind and spirit, watching and stalking for when and how you can do it and get by with it [see Ephesians 4.28].

And on and on throughout the sordid cesspool of our inward corruption that must be cleansed by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus and the pure life of the Holy Spirit. [see 1 Corinthians 6.11]

We all know to guard, not just our outward acts, but our minds and spirits.

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” ~Proverbs 4.23.

We must do this! And we must do this first!

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“MY ONE-WORD RESOLUTION” or “MY ONE WORD” | Part 1

Course: Spiritual Exercises

Title: Lesson #5 – “My One-Word Resolution” or “My One Word” | Part 1

“MY ONE-WORD RESOLUTION” or “MY ONE WORD”

Part 1: The Spiritual Exercise of Making Holy Resolutions & Introduction to “My One-Word Resolution”

“Spiritual Exercises”

This is Lesson 5 of a series we are calling “Spiritual Exercises.” So, let’s take just a moment here to remind ourselves again of what a ‘spiritual exercise’ is. We’ve been in this study for several weeks now, and we’ve had some interruptions, so it will do us good just to remind ourselves again what a “spiritual exercise” is to help keep us on point and in focus.

What is a “spiritual exercise”? A ‘spiritual exercise’ is any one of those activities or exercises that we do to exercise our obedience to God and discipleship after Jesus Christ. A ‘spiritual exercise’ is an activity that we practice and perform to follow Jesus Christ, obey Jesus Christ, serve Jesus Christ, and become more like Jesus Christ – which is always our ultimate purpose and aim.

A ‘spiritual exercise’ is any one of those activities that we practice that express and live out the lifestyle of truly being a Christian, a born-again child of God, and a transformed believer in Christ.

‘Spiritual exercises’ are those same activities and exercises that are sometimes also called ‘spiritual disciplines,’ ‘holy habits,’ or ‘habits of grace.’

And so, let’s be clear here: we’re not just talking about rote rituals or legalistic rules you make for yourself or for someone else – we are talking about the activities that express and exercise the real-alive, born-again, living, loving, and longing relationship of eternal life that we have with Jesus Christ. It is the expression and exercise of the spiritual life and fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, that the apostle John wrote about in his opening of 1 John, chapter 1.1-4:

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have observed
and have touched with our hands,
concerning the Word of life—
that life was revealed,
and we have seen it
and we testify and declare to you
the eternal life that was with the Father
and was revealed to us—
what we have seen and heard
we also declare to you,
so that you may have fellowship along with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
We are writing these things
so that our joy may be complete.

THAT is what spiritual exercises are: “…so that you may have fellowship along with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

Some “spiritual exercises” we have previously discussed…

And so, since the beginning of this course:

  • we have studied lessons on reading the Scriptures daily, regularly, and comprehensively
  • we have studied lessons on adopting and following Bible-reading plans and schedules
  • we have studied lessons on how to read the Word of God for the doctrinal and practical truths and lessons God means for us to learn, take away from our reading, and apply to the ways we live our lives
  • we have studied lessons on prayer and proposed prayer prompters that we must pray for every day taken from Jesus’ Disciples’ Model Prayer [usually called the Lord’s Prayer].

Another “spiritual exercise” – “MY ONE WORD”

What I want to do now is turn our attention and interest to another spiritual exercise that I pray and hope will encourage you to begin practicing it. I have personally practiced this spiritual exercise consistently for the past seven years and have found it to be one of the most beneficial and enriching spiritual exercises I have practiced over the course of my Christian life and my walk with the Lord.

I am calling this spiritual exercise, “MY ONE-WORD RESOLUTION,” or to shorten it up by one word, “MY ONE WORD.” I’ll be using both names as we go through this spiritual exercise. So, just by the first title that I have given you, you have deduced that it has something to do with resolutions, making resolutions. And you are right about that.

But, it is more than just a usual “New Year’s Resolution”

However, please don’t think that this just applies to what we usually call “New Year’s Resolutions,” although the turn and beginning of a new year is a good time to think about it and begin exercising it. The turning of a new year gives us a built-in opportunity and makes it more conducive to consider this spiritual exercise of making holy resolutions.

There is just something about the turning of a new year, the beginning of a new season of time that makes us stop and take stock and evaluate the year that has past and how we did in it.

  • Did we grow … or not?
  • Did we make spiritual progress … or backslide?
  • Did we follow on to know the LORD … or did we lapse into indifference?

There is something about a new beginning of time that sparks our interest in making new beginnings and gives us hope that we can.

But not just at ‘New Year’s’ – it’s a lifestyle

But, the beginning of a new year certainly should not be the only time of our lives when we think about making holy resolutions to be better than we have been – and better than we are in the present moment.

Making holy resolutions is a spiritual exercise and a holy lifestyle. In fact, making holy resolutions is just another word for another word that may be more common to us: the word ‘repentance.’

Making holy resolutions is practicing the spiritual exercise of repentance: reflecting on the ways we are, and the ways we are living and having the holy desire and resolution to change the ways we are for a life that is more like Christ and more pleasing to God … more expressive of the life of Christ living in us!

And so, before I even begin the story of how I discovered this practice of making “One-Word Resolutions,” let’s address this practice of making holy resolutions and why it is an essential spiritual exercise.

Believe it or not, I actually had a brother come up to me after I preached this spiritual exercise and was leading my church to adopt it and practice it, and he just kind of smirked at me and said, “I don’t do resolutions.” Like he was kind of above the need to make resolutions. To be honest with you, I was so stunned and taken aback by that statement that I didn’t even know how to respond. However, I thought about it later, and given the history of this brother, he actually may have thought he was quite OK the way he was, and that he didn’t need to improve on anything he was or was doing. He may have actually thought that he didn’t know anything he was doing that he could do better. I knew him well, and I knew better, but he may have had that impression of himself.

We’re not talking about merely getting caught up in the impulse of a season…

Now, if he was saying that he didn’t get caught up in the emotion and impulse of making New Year’s Resolutions, then that may have been understandable. I’m sure there is a LOT of impulsive, insincere, superficial New Year’s Resolution-making that goes on in the wave and emotion of the moment … resolutions that are not serious and the resolution-makers never really intend and are not convicted and intentional about making a life-changing commitment to follow through and keep them.

But, what he said is, “I don’t do resolutions.”

So, let me ask you: “Do you do resolutions … do you make resolutions?” Or another way to present the challenge is: “Do you repent?” Do you ever examine yourself, consider your ways, evaluate and take stock of your life, and say, “I need to repent of this, change my ways, and resolve and commit to obeying God in the ways that He commands and that please Him”? Do you ever change your ways – by turning away from something that is sin, and evil, and displeasing to God, and turn to commit to a righteous way of living?

So, we may condense and distill what a holy resolution is by simply saying: A holy resolution is your spiritual conviction and holy commitment to change your ways to become more like Christ.

When I think of making holy resolutions, my mind invariably goes to Psalm 119.59-60 HCSB:

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees [or ‘testimonies’]. 60 I hurried, not hesitating to keep Your commands.

What David is describing here is the spiritual exercise of thinking on, evaluating, every facet of his life from God’s viewpoint and pleasure, and when he sees things that are wrong and amiss, he immediately resolves to correct it according to what he reads in God’s Word.

Pastor Charles Spurgeon wrote this excellent and pointed brief commentary on this verse in his splendid work The Treasury of David:

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” While studying the Word, he was led to study his own life, and this caused a mighty revolution. He came to the Word, and then he came to himself, and this made him arise and go to his Father.

Consideration is the commencement of conversion: first we think and then we turn. When the mind repents of ill ways the feet are soon led into good ways; but there will be no repenting until there is deep, earnest thought.

Many men are averse to thought of any kind, and as to thought upon their ways, they cannot endure it, for their ways will not bear thinking of. David’s ways had not been all that he could have wished them to be, and so his thoughts were sobered over with the pale cast of regret; but he did not end with idle lamentations, he set about a practical amendment; he turned and returned, he sought the testimonies of the LORD, and hastened to enjoy once more the conscious favor of his heavenly Friend.

Action without thought is folly, and thought without action is sloth: to think carefully and then to act promptly is a happy combination. He had entreated for renewed fellowship, and now he proved the genuineness of his desire by renewed obedience.

If we are in the dark, and mourn an absent God, our wisest method will be not so much to think upon our sorrows as upon our ways: though we cannot turn the course of Providence, we can turn the way of our walking, and this will soon mend matters.

If we can get our feet right as to holy walking, we shall soon get our hearts right as to happy living. God will turn to His saints when they turn to Him; yea, He has already favored them with the light of His face when they begin to think and turn.”

So, that is what I’m calling us to do when I talk about the spiritual exercise of making holy resolutions: I’m talking about the Scriptural practice of repentance from our sins and turning back to walk in ways of holy obedience to God and His Word. I’m talking about the lifestyle of examining our ways before God by the standard and rule of His Word, and then conforming our lives to Christ in swift obedience and holy resolution.

Again, Psalm 119.59-60:

I thought about my ways and turned my steps back to Your decrees. 60 I hurried, not hesitating to keep Your commands.

By the way, before we leave Psalm 119 and return to the spiritual exercise of “One-Word Resolution” or “My One Word,” if you want to know how to make holy resolutions in keeping with the Word of God, then read Psalm 119. Mark all the times David makes holy resolutions with the words “I will…” or any of the numerous resolutions he makes just in Psalm 119 by declaring his intentions and then doing them. Psalm 119 is filled with scores of holy resolution prompters.

Let me just give you a brief sampler. If you want to know what a holy resolution looks like and sounds like, listen to this […and I’m just going to start at the beginning and go a few verses to show you how you, too, can make holy resolutions just by allowing David here to inspire you].

From Psalm 119:

verse 5: Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!

verse 7: I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules!

verse 8: I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.

verse 10: With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!

verse 11: I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

verse 14: In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.

verse 15: I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

verse 16: I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

There are 176 verses in Psalm 119, and every single one can be viewed as a holy resolution in one form or another. No statement in these 176 verses about The Word of God can be viewed as FYI only. Every expression is not just an indicative … every expression is also an imperative.

All of these resolutions are not only good holy resolutions, but they are also holy resolutions that should be the normal spiritual exercises of every believer

Now, let me return to my personal story of how I discovered this spiritual exercise of “My One Word” and began to practice it as a resolution-making lifestyle…

How I discovered and began practicing “My One Word” spiritual exercise

I first got started with this spiritual exercise of making “My One-Word Resolutions” when I came across a book by the title of My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word. It was written in 2012 by Mike Ashcraft. Mike is a Baptist pastor in Wilmington NC.

Here is the address for the website where the book is featured: http://myoneword.org/

Here’s how they tease the book on their website:

LOSE THE LONG LIST OF RESOLUTIONS. If you’re like most people, each January goes something like this: You choose a problematic behavior that has plagued you for years and vow to reverse it. In fact, you can probably think of two or three undesirable habits—make that four or five.

Thus begins the litany of imperfections to be perfected commonly known as “New Year’s Resolutions.” All of which are typically off your radar by February.

“My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond this cycle. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD.

This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future. So, we invite you to join us and pick one word for the next twelve months.

So, that’s what intrigued me when I first saw the book. This was around October 2014. 2015 was coming up. And, as usual, I was preparing for New Year’s Resolutions like I have done for as long as I can remember.

I have always been making resolutions…

I have always been one to be making resolutions. And not just around New Year’s. For pretty much all of my life, I have been one to be making resolutions all the time.

I have never been content with myself the way I was at any point. I have always been a perfectionist – and when I say that, I’m not commending myself – I’m telling you, that is not a good characteristic … not a good character trait. It’s one thing to want to be better than you are and strive for growth in grace and improvement in your character and conduct. That is a good thing. That’s what we should be doing all the time.

Perfection-ism is a sin

But perfection-ism is a sin. Perfection-ism is expecting perfection from yourself because … well, because you think you are perfect and can be perfect. And, of course, none of us is. But, in our pride, and arrogance, and self-righteousness, we strive to be perfect – or at least appear to be perfect. Except that when you are a perfectionist, all of our striving is in the energy of our own fleshly human will and nature which is fallen, flawed, and doomed to failure because “those who are in the flesh cannot please God” [Romans 8.8]. Paul had earlier confessed and lamented in Romans 7.18, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” But, a perfectionist is always striving to prove Paul wrong on that indictment: “there IS something good that dwells in my flesh, and I’m going to show you!”

And so much of what goes into being a perfectionist is wanting to appear to be perfect for your own self-esteem and for the praise of other people. When all of this pride and seeking the praises of others works itself in our resolutions and efforts to be better, that is what makes perfectionism such an abominable sin to God. It is a self-help effort to produce the righteousness of Christ – the righteousness that only God gives through faith in Jesus Christ and the life of the new birth. This is exclusively the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification.

But, I’m getting way ahead of my story here…

Not self-perfection-ism, but going on to perfection in Christ

I said all that to illustrate my statement that I have always been one to be making resolutions. But instead of making our resolutions from the motivation of a self-effort perfectionism, we must be making our resolutions – as a lifestyle – from the incentive and motivation of wanting to be perfect in the sense of growing up and being grown-up in the grace of God, perfect in the sense of being mature in Christ, and perfect in the sense of wanting to be complete in our character and conduct – complete as in becoming more and more like Jesus Christ.

This is the sense that the Hebrews writer is pressing on us when he says in Hebrews 6.1, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity…”, or as we are used to reading and hearing it in the Authorized KJV, “let us go on to perfection.” Or when James writes about our persevering through our adversities and trials of faith, he challenges us in James 1.4, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

To be perfect, whole, complete in Christ

So, that’s what we are striving for; that’s why we make resolutions – so we can be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing we are supposed to be and do. The aim of all our resolutions-making is not just to appear to be better people, or become “a better you,” or even to actually be better people for our own self-satisfaction, or to boost our self-esteem or to win the praises of others. But rather we make resolutions to be more and more like Jesus Christ in our character and conduct – more complete, more mature, more perfectly conformed to His image and likeness.

And, to put it another way: we make our resolutions for change and growth and improvement, not to seek to please other people or to please ourselves – but to please God!

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OK – this will serve as our introduction to the spiritual exercise of making holy resolutions and what a “My One Word” resolution is. I hope you will follow up with our next lesson – because I want to maybe explain and illustrate with my own personal testimony how to practice this spiritual exercise.

I’m calling that part of the lesson: My Seven-Year Story Making “My One-Word Resolutions” and Living by “My One Word” – and What They Have Been. I’d like to tell you some of my own story. I hope you will join us then also.

Here is the link to the YouTube video: https://youtu.be/wrlO2nrS1Vse

Here is the link to the PDF of these same lesson notes:

Posted in Discipleship, Holy Resolutions, I've been thinking, My One Word, My One Word Resolution, Spiritual Exercises, Sunday School lessons | Leave a comment

What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail – full lesson text

Spiritual Exercises

Lesson #4

WHAT I MUST PRAY FOR EVERY DAY … WITHOUT FAIL!

Read Matthew 6.5-15

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 

15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

One of the great difficulties I struggle with in praying is just the vast immensity of what I can pray for – and what I think I should pray for. I mean – there is a whole world out there to pray for!

There is so much going on in our own lives, in our immediate community, and in the whole world. There are so many concerns, so many cares, so many needs, so many issues and events that interest us and impact us.

How much of it should I pray for daily?

We know that our Lord Jesus gave us a model to follow in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer,” or “The Disciple’s Prayer,” or “The Model Prayer.”

So, let’s talk for just a moment here at the beginning about what we are going to call this prayer since I’m going to use it as a model or template for our praying and derive the suggested “prayer prompters” from it …

The Lord’s Prayer

Of course, this prayer is most often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” If you say “The Lord’s Prayer,” everybody is going to think of this prayer. And, if you quote these words, everybody is going to say “The Lord’s Prayer.” And so, it is “The Lord’s Prayer” in that Jesus, our Lord, teaches us to pray it. But, I’m going to go farther than that and say that it can also be called “The Lord’s Prayer” because when Jesus gave this prayer to His disciples to model their own prayers after it, He also modeled this very prayer after His own praying.

Let’s go to Luke 11.1-4 where Luke records another occasion when Jesus gave these very same words to His disciples and told them “When you pray, say:…”

Now Jesuswas praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of his disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 

And He said to them, 

“When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your Name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins, 

for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

But, on this occasion that Luke records, Jesus Himself was praying to His Father. “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ And He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:…’” and then He proceeded to teach them to pray by these same words.

Now, the point is that Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray just like they had just overheard Him praying to His Father. So, if He gives them (and us) this model, it’s going to be modeled after His own praying.

I know that we have balked at calling this “The Lord’s Prayer” because, for example, Jesus would never pray or have to pray “Forgive us our debts…” since He had no sin to be forgiven. But, He did Himself pray in much the same ways He is teaching us to pray. So, in that sense, we can rightfully call it “The Lord’s Prayer.”

The Disciples’ Prayer

It is “The Disciples’ Prayer” in that Jesus is teaching us to pray this prayer as His disciples, His learners, His followers. In the Luke account I just quoted, Luke writes that Jesus taught this prayer to His ‘disciples.’ So, this is His Disciples’ Prayer that He has given to us, His disciples, to pray like He Himself prays.

The Model Prayer

It is also “The Model Prayer” in that Jesus teaches us to “pray then like this…” using these words as a model by which to prompt and guide our own praying … modeled after His own praying.

Jesus actually said: “Pray then like this:” … and then He proceeded to give us words to pray by. How much better a model could He have given us?

So, the pressing question is: “What does Jesus mean when He says, ‘Pray then like this’”?

Not a verbatim ritual or formality

This prayer is not so much a verbatim ritual that we must or should repeat. Because just before giving these model words, Jesus had warned them “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then like this…” ~Matthew 6.7-9a. So, Jesus obviously doesn’t mean for us to just repeat these words by rote and ritual.

‘Prayer Prompters’

Rather, I think it is an outline, or a template of what I like to call ‘prayer prompters’ that Jesus is teaching us to think about, and ask for, and act on as the subject matter of what we must be praying for to be His disciples.   

For example, in that prayer, Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.”  But, in that single request or “prayer prompter,” Jesus taught us to ask comprehensively that God’s will shall be fulfilled on earth as it is done in Heaven … and that applies to every single detail of interest and experience, not only in our own personal lives, but in every single activity that goes on in the whole world!

So, what I’m going to do is take every phrase that Jesus gave us in this Model Prayer and use them as prayer prompters to teach us and motivate us to pray for what Jesus teaches us to pray for. They’re not necessarily in the same order in which Jesus spoke them, but we’ll cover them all.  

While we may not be able to express every one of these requests every day, there are some essential requests I must make every day without fail. And, by the way, when I say “every day,” I’m going on what Jesus taught us to pray about giving us day by day our “daily bread,” assuming that these are needs that we have and need to pray about every day.

Here are 10 of them.

I’m going to format this lesson by making these points:

  1. I will list 10 ‘prayer prompters’ or subjects of prayer that I believe we should at least address every day.
  2. Next, I will go back to the Disciple’s Prayer and make a note of the “Prayer Prompter Words” that Jesus taught us to prompt us to pray for that request.
  3. Finally, I will make just a few comments to explain the significance of that prayer request and how we can and should adapt it and personalize it for ourselves.

The 10 ‘Prayer Prompters’

Here is a summary of the 10 prayer prompters – then we will begin to address them in a little more detail as they apply to our own personal particular prayers concerns:

  1. I must pray every day without fail to delight in God
  2. I must pray every day without fail … with confession of my sins
  3. I must pray every day without fail … for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way
  4. I must pray every day without fail … for the salvation of those who are lost
  5. I must pray every day without fail … for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, teachers, elders, and leaders of my church
  6. I must pray every day without fail … interceding for pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know
  7. I must pray every day without fail … for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness
  8. I must pray every day without fail … for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities 
  9. I must pray every day without fail … that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word [this is for me – you will need to adapt it to your specific personal prayer needs…]
  10. I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified … here, there, and everywhere

NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT EACH ONE AND HOW TO PRAY THEM…

1. I must pray every day without fail … to delight in God

Prayer Prompter Words: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name”

Jesus teaches us to begin our praying by addressing God and approaching Him as “Our Father in Heaven…”

Now, before you go any farther … stop and listen to yourself. I know you’re repeating those words that Jesus taught you to pray – but what did you just pray? Pray it again: “Our Father in Heaven”!

Q: Who are you praying to? Who are you addressing?

A: Of course, you’re praying to GOD! You are addressing GOD!

And, the truth that He is “in Heaven” means that He rules over everything. He runs everything. It is a recognition of His supreme Deity, majesty, and sovereignty.

Psalm 135.5-6, “For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.”

Psalm 103.19, “The LORD has established His Throne in the Heavens, and His Kingdom rules over all!”

THAT is the God we are addressing – to whom we are praying!

Q: And, what did you just call Him? What did Jesus teach us to call GOD?

A: “Our Father in Heaven”!

Jesus is teaching us to come boldly to God, to the Throne of Grace in Heaven, and address this God who owns, and is ruling and reigning over all the universe – to address Him as “our Father in Heaven”!

And, of course also, just in the act of calling God our “Father,” we have to ask ourselves: “How did I come to have the relationship and the authority to call this God “our Father”?

So, that leads us to recognize and confess that the only way God is our Father, and the only way we can call God our Father in truth is through personal faith in Jesus Christ … and “in the Name of” Jesus Christ – and by the merits, deserts, and authority that are granted to us by our faith relationship with Jesus Christ!

Jesus taught us in John 14.6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life … no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Ephesians 2.18, “For through Him [i.e., Christ] we both [i.e., Jews and Gentiles – all peoples] have access to the Father.”

John 1.12, “But to all who did receive Him [i.e., Jesus Christ], who believed in His Name, He [i.e., God the Father] gave the right to become children of God.”

And, in 1 John 2.1, “…we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.”

And, Jesus means for us to understand that when we call God “our Father in Heaven,” we must pray to Him with the assurance and confidence that He is our perfect Father in every sense of that word.

Just like He is “God” in every perfect sense of that word, He is also our “Father” in every perfect sense of that name. Jesus has already told us in verse 8, the verse immediately preceding these words “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

In the next chapter, chapter 7, Jesus will commend our Heavenly Father’s love, grace, and generosity toward us, and His willingness to give us all the good gifts we need and ask for … with these words: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him?” ~Matthew 7.11

But, why am I also saying that when we approach and address God as “our Father in Heaven,” we are also to delight in Him?

Because, if we are calling God “our Father in Heaven,” and truly recognizing the awesome privilege and liberty we are exercising to have personal acceptance and a personal audience in the Holy Presence of God – then we cannot but delight in Him!

In the very exercise and expression of calling God our “Father,” and calling on God as our “Father,” … you can’t really, sincerely approach and address God and call Him “Father” without delighting in His grace, mercy, and love with which He makes you his child!

God didn’t become your Father by virtue of your own merits or deserts. God is your Father because He chose you to be His child, and because He accepts you and graces you to be His beloved child because of the worthiness and merits of His Son, Jesus Christ! According to the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1.6, “…He has made us accepted in the Beloved,” meaning Jesus Christ. This is why we pray to the Father and call God our “Father” ‘in the Name of Jesus Christ.’ Because God is our Father only because we have received His Son, Jesus Christ, by faith, and we are in Him!

And, as a further exercise and expression of delighting in God, think about those next words that Jesus taught us to pray to “our Father in Heaven” – Jesus taught us to pray with this request: “Hallowed be Your Name.”

“Hallowed be Your Name” is actually the first prayer prompter and request that Jesus taught us to pray for – ask for … because we are praying that God will do this, give this, grant this. When we pray “Hallowed be Your Name,” we are asking God “may Your Name be kept Holy, treated as Holy … may we speak to You and speak of You only with the utmost Holiness that Your Name deserves; Let Your Name be treated with utmost respect and reverence … by everyone in the whole universal world.”

It is simply another way of praying “May everyone in the world delight in Your Name!”

Actually, even the English form of the word for “hallowed” is another form for the word “holy” – so we are praying that God’s Name will be “holied” every time God is named or spoken of. This is in keeping with the third commandment, “You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.”

And, we are praying that God will “hallow” or “holy” His Name by every person in the world. We are praying that God will receive worship, praise, and adoration by every mention and every expression that names God. That every mention of God and His Name will be an expression of delighting in Him!

And, this must begin in our own personal thinking of God our Father, and in every conversation in which we name the Name of God, and in all the ways we address Him in our personal praying to Him.  

Now, God’s ‘Name’ is not just the moniker by which we call Him, but God’s ‘Name’ includes His character, His reputation – everything God says and does – every way by which God is known. God’s Name is who He is in the fullness of all the ways in which He reveals Himself and all the ways of our knowing Him.

And so, you must do this in conjunction with your reading of God’s Word. God reveals Himself and His Name to us through His Word. As you learn more about God’s perfections, Glory, excellencies, attributes, etc., you must reiterate, repeat, and, if possible, voice them back to God in adoration, praise and thanksgivings.

Keep in mind that the first “takeaway” from what we are reading in the Word in our Daily Time With God is “What does this Scripture say about the God I must know … and delight in?” (See the Lesson notes for Spiritual Exercises, Lesson 3, “Six Takeaways From Your Daily Time With God”)

We should learn and train ourselves to pray to God by voicing back to Him what He says and reveals to us about Himself in His own Word. Learn to “pray back” His own words back to Him!

Also, as you read about God either expressing or demonstrating His own perfections in His interactions in our human conditions, experiences, and situations, you must recognize His greatness – and DELIGHT IN HIM!

I must pray every day…without fail to delight in God!

I simply can’t let this go without reinforcing this essential truth: delighting in God is first and purest reason why we pray to begin with … and delighting in God is the first and purest reason why Jesus Himself prayed to His Father!

I think I can show you this truth from this very Disciples’ Model Prayer. Let me take you again to Luke’s account where Jesus taught His disciples to pray like this … using this prayer as a model.

Luke 11.1-2

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed by Your Name…’”

Now, what you need to notice is that Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray immediately after coming upon Him as He was praying – they were eavesdropping on Him as He prays to His Father, listening in on Him … and when He finished, they asked Him to teach them to pray like they had just heard Him pray. Then, He taught them to pray using this Model Prayer. Now, don’t you think that the Model Prayer He teaches us to pray will be modeled after the same way He Himself prays?!

What do you suppose Jesus prayed more than anything else? Do you actually think that He spent most of His prayer time with His Father asking for things? I’m sure He did ask for many things during His prayer times.

But, I am convinced that the vast bulk of the times that Jesus prayed to His Father was just to delight in Him! To express His love for His Father. To rejoice in and revel in His Father’s love for Him!

We do know that in His ‘High-Priestly Prayer’ that He prayed in John 17, in Gethsemane that night before going to the cross the next day, Jesus prayed in verse 5, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own Presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” My point is that all during the days of His earthly ministry here among us, when He prayed to His Father, He was reveling and rejoicing from here in that same loving fellowship and communion with His Father that He had enjoyed from eternity, before the creation of the world, and to which He was returning. But, when He prayed while He was here among us, He was delighting in that same fellowship with His Father. [see, for example, John 1.18 where Jesus insinuates that even while He was here living incarnated among us, He was still “at the Father’s side,” or “in the bosom of the Father.” That is the language of close, intimate, loving communion – delighting in His Father!]

And He teaches us to do the same thing when we pray.

I must pray every day…without fail to delight in God!

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2. I must pray every day without fail … with confession of my sins

Prayer Prompter Words: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”

I’m bringing in this prayer prompter second because it just kind of naturally flows from and follows after the first one. It doesn’t come immediately after our addressing and approaching God as “Our Father in Heaven…” in The Disciples’ Model Prayer, but it does follow logically in our frame of thinking…

I cannot address God and call Him “Father” without simultaneously recognizing that I am the sinner He loves and has saved! When I call God “our Father in Heaven” and recognize how holy, hallowed, perfect, and sinless He is, then I must immediately also recognize that I am the exact opposite!

Luke 18.9-14: “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!”

I must pray every day…without fail with confession of my sins and for Christ’s mind, life, and power to be dynamic in my thinking and will to turn away from and forsake my sins.

And so, Jesus teaches us, His disciples, to pray daily and continuously “…forgive us our debts/sins…” The forgiveness of our debts/sins against God is the only grounds on which we stand and the only means by which we come into the Presence of the Holy God and our Heavenly Father.

Our sins are called ‘debts’ because our sins or transgressions are violations against the very Holiness, character, and Name of this God we are calling “our Father in Heaven.”

When we sin, we are robbing God of the glory and the honor and the praise that He deserves. God deserves to be loved, to be worshiped, to be served by every one of His creatures. But, we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3.23]. When we break God’s holy law, we become debtors to His justice and Holiness. “O, to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!”

And, not only do we transgress and violate God’s holy law and character, but we also violate His love for us.

Still, though, God forgives us! And so, we pray “Forgive us our debts… forgive us our trespasses… forgive us our sins…” and the Father does forgive our sins!

1 John 1.8-9, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 2.1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

And so, I must pray with self-examination of my heart’s desires, my conduct, my temptations that I know about, and my actual transgressions. I must make a full, open, and honest confession of every sin that God convicts me of … and He will convict me of my sins that need to be confessed and repented of!

This is something else we need to emphasize and focus on in our praying: our praying is one of the simple, common, daily means of grace that God has given us to deal with our sins. And, our sins are daily. And, they must be dealt with. We all are way too negligent of dealing with our sins. We think way too highly of ourselves.

Far too often, we just get into the rut and the habit of tacking on the obligatory and perfunctory cliché at the end of our prayers: “…and forgive us of our sins and all the ways we have failed You…” Sometimes it’s almost as if we are saying, “Oh, and please forgive me if and when I’ve sinned … though none come to mind right now…”

But, Jesus means to teach us that everyone of us struggles with sin on a daily basis … continuously all throughout the day. Every thought we think, every word we say, every act we perform, every choice and decision we make – in all these activities we are subject to sin … and we often do. Probably every one of us struggles with particular sins that dog us, plague us, stick to us, harass us. It may not be the same sin for every one of us, but every one of us has to fight that fight continuously every day. I know what mine are; you know what yours are. Deal with it when you pray. That’s one of the prayer prompters Jesus gave us to pray.

And so, when we pray, we open up our lives and our consciences to our Father in Heaven. We openly and honestly confess to Him what He already knows much better than we ourselves do: that we have sinned. We confess it, repent of it, forsake it, and ask for forgiveness.

Here is God’s faithful promise … I’m going to repeat it again: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1.8-9.

And I must also pray that God will search my heart for hidden sins and blind spots that I am too willing to either accept, excuse, or self-justify. I must diligently seek a pure heart, clean hands, and an ever-growing and increasing love for Christ which purify my heart and conduct.

Pray that God will make your conscience just as sensitive to your sin as your sin is to the heart of our Father in Heaven.

And, you must do this every day – all day long of every day. John Flavel, the 16th-century Puritan has said, “The careless heart is an easy prey to Satan in the hour of temptation; his principal batteries are raised against the heart; if he wins that he wins all, for it commands the whole man: and alas! how easy a conquest is a neglected heart! … It is the watchful heart that discovers and suppresses the temptation before it comes to its strength.”

I must pray every day…without fail with confession of my sins.

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3. I must pray every day without fail … for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way – – and do this without self-pity or self-defense.

Prayer Prompter Words: “…as we also have forgiven our debtors…”

OK, so hold on for this next one … let’s read again this prayer request that Jesus taught us to pray: I must pray every day…without fail for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way – and do this without self-pity or self-defense.

These are Jesus’ own words: read the verses immediately following this Disciples’ Model Prayer – Matthew 6.14-15: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Jesus’ words are serious, sobering, convicting!

Mark 11.24-25: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Now, what I want every one of us to do right now is this: think of that person or those persons in your heart right now who have violated you, hurt you, or offended you the worst. You know who they are. We all bleed from those persons and those experiences.

Those painful experiences will mark us for life, and if we’re not careful, and if we don’t deal with them the way Jesus is teaching us to deal with them – they will destroy us.

One of the most resilient of our sins, one of the most stubborn of our sins, one of the most resistant of our sins to all our efforts to eradicate it is the sin of unforgiveness … resentment … bitterness … grudge-bearing. And, we may as well confess it and recognize it, that one of the reasons why it is so stubborn and resistant to being eradicated is because – we nurse it and coddle it. Too many times, we don’t want to let it go, we don’t want to deal with it because we are still secretly holding out and wishing that at some time the score may be evened.

We may not be so brash and bold as to seek revenge, but we are just waiting for God to mete it out. And, we want to see it and know about it when He does.

Why, if I forgive him/her/them, then I can’t hold out hope for the satisfaction of seeing them get theirs at some future time!

But, Jesus requires us to forgive our debtors of their moral debts against us just like our Father in Heaven has forgiven us of our debts against Him!

Listen to these words from Ephesians 4.30-32:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

And the same words again in Colossians 3.12-14:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

This is another one of those prayers you will need to pray every single day. These are among the sins you will need to confess over and over again. You will have to deal with it daily – because it simmers and stews and smolders all the time.

You need to cultivate what I have learned to call “the love, do good, bless, & pray rule.” I get it from Jesus’ teachings in Luke 6.27-28: “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

You will have to come to the place where you are willing to pray something like this: “Our Father in Heaven, you know and I know what so-and-so has done to me – but that is nothing compared to all I have done against you … and you have forgiven me. So, Father, I release them from being accountable to me, and I’m turning them over to you. And, if you choose to bless them with your love, grace, and favor – then I’m willing and happy for you to do that.” Love like you have been loved, do good to them as God has done good to you, bless them as God has blessed you, pray for them as you have been prayed for.

You have to do this.

I must pray every day…without fail for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended me and violated me in any way – and do this without self-pity or self-defense.

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4. I must pray every day without fail … for the salvation of those who are lost

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”

What is in these ‘prayer prompter words’ to lead us to pray that lost people will be saved? Well, actually, it is in all the words. The lost being saved is in the words “Your Kingdom come,” and the lost being saved is in the words “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

“Your Kingdom come”

What is this Kingdom of God that are praying will “come”?

God’s Kingdom is His sovereign rule over all He rules over – which is everything. God’s kingdom rules over everything and everybody, whether they are willing to be ruled over by God or not. Psalm 103.19 says “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” And, that means all things and everybody. All the elements and all the creatures in God’s universal creation Kingdom are under His sovereign rule and control. And there are many such references all throughout the Word of God – both Old Testament and New Testament.

But, especially in the New Testament, the Kingdom of God is God’s redemptive program, His redemptive work, His redemptive message and grace that is manifested in Jesus Christ. We all know that Jesus Christ came announcing and proclaiming that the Kingdom of God had come near, meaning that the Kingdom of God had arrived. The Kingdom of God was here. And the Kingdom of God was here because He was here. Jesus Christ is the Kingdom of God. He is the Lord and King of the Kingdom of God.

And, when He comes in the power of His Kingdom, He defeats all the opposing powers of sin, death, and Satan – and He defeats them soundly and reigns over them. And, when we are saved, we are brought into His Kingdom and under His rule of grace and life. Here’s how Paul describes the Kingdom of God in Colossians 1.13-14:

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

And so, God’s Kingdom is especially descriptive of God’s people whom He has saved and who serve Him gladly as His willing subjects. That’s why God’s saved people are often called His Kingdom.

  • The apostle John, in the book of The Revelation calls himself “your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus” [Revelation 1.9]
  • When Jesus came presenting Himself as our King and Savior, He proclaimed to us that “the Kingdom of God is at hand” [Mark 1.15]. “The Kingdom of God is at hand” because Jesus Christ Himself is the King of the Kingdom of God, and He had arrived … He was there.
  • When the “Gospel of God” is preached, it is proclaimed as “the Gospel of the Kingdom” [Mark 1.14-15; Matthew 4.23]. It is called “the Gospel of the Kingdom” because the Gospel proclaims that Jesus Christ is King and Lord.
  • When we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ, then we are said to “receive” the Kingdom of God [Luke 10.9, 11] because we acknowledge and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over His Kingdom of Grace and faith.
  • Jesus said in Matthew 24.14 “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a witness to all the nations…” – and He is referring to what He would repeat again and command at the end of His ministry among us before He ascended back into Heaven – we call it The Great Commission.
  • And when we believe the Gospel, and when we are saved from our sins, we are “born again” into the Kingdom of God by the new birth.
    • John 3.3 & 5: Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  …Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

And so, since we are “born again” into God’s Kingdom by the new birth, when we pray “Your Kingdom come,” we are praying that God will save others and deliver them out of the domain of darkness, from the power of sin, from the tyranny of Satan, and bring them into His Kingdom of Grace, the forgiveness of their sins, and eternal life.

“Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”

And when we pray “Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” we are acknowledging that it is God’s will and God’s desire to save people from their sins. Paul specifically commanded us in the churches to pray for the salvation of our governmental rulers, authorities, and leaders – those who are over us in our civil kingdoms. And why are we commanded to pray for them? Because God desires to save all classes of peoples:

1 Timothy 2.1-4: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3.9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

And so, it is plain that when Jesus teaches us to pray “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven,” He is teaching us to pray that God will save lost people.

And so, if you don’t already, you should begin to pray fervently, diligently, faithfully, daily for the lost people in your life and in your networks of associations to be saved.

Write down their names. Keep them in a notebook or a journal. Prepare to pray for them for the rest of your life … for the rest of their lives. Commit to pray for them like the Good Shepherd seeks and saves those who are lost: “UNTIL He finds them.”

Speaking for myself…

  • These names will begin with my children and immediate family and on out into my extended family.
  • Then these names will expand out to include those who are in my acquaintances, contacts, and neighbors … people I work with, people I go to school with, people I recreate with, people I hang out with and run around with.
  • Over the past couple of years, we in our Baptist churches have been praying for those whom we have called “My ONE” – except that many of us have been praying for years for “My 25 ONES” or “My 50 ONES.”

Jesus Himself is always seeking and saving those who are lost. And not only that, but Jesus Himself is still praying for more and more people to be saved – people for whom He died! How do I know that? Why do I say that? Listen to how Jesus prayed in Gethsemane for all of the others who would in time believe on His Name:

John 17.20-21 ~ I do not ask for these only [that is, His disciples there with him], but also for those who will believe in me through their word [that is, for all of us, all of those who would be saved in all the successive generations of the Kingdom of God until He comes back…], that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Jesus was praying … and is still praying and interceding at the right hand of the Father right now … for those who will be saved all down through the ages of Kingdom history, including right now, today – through our witnessing to them and praying that they will believe on Christ and be saved.

I am praying with Jesus when I pray for the salvation of those who are lost without Christ.

I must pray every day without fail … for the salvation of those who are lost.

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5. I must pray every day without fail … for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, and leaders of my church

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”

I’m going to stick with these “prayer prompter words” and expand them on out… beyond ourselves individually and apply them to our laboring together in our churches.

You have to keep this in mind, to begin with, as you pray this Disciples’ Model Prayer as Jesus is teaching us to pray it: this prayer is not a “Lone Ranger” prayer. This prayer is not to be prayed by yourself alone in isolation. This prayer is to be prayed in community. There are no “I” and “me” pronouns in this Disciples’ Model Prayer – all the pronouns are “our” … “we” … “us”.

Why is that? It is because Jesus saves us to live and work and worship and serve Him in community – specifically in our churches, in our assemblies.

This Disciples’ Model Prayer that Jesus is teaching us to pray by is just a segment and subset of the larger message we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” It is the Constitution, if you will, of Jesus’ Kingdom life. And, we live it out, and practice it, and make it work as we do it together in community … in our churches.

You need to learn to think about and envision the Kingdom of God around the world in any particular frame and snapshot of time as a fierce war and battle that is raging all the time. It is a spiritual battle. It is a battle for the hearts, and lives, and eternal destinies of people. Our weaponry are the Holy Spirit, the Word of God [specifically The Gospel], and prayer.

The theaters and campaigns of this world-wide war and battle are in all the local communities where our local churches are preaching, teaching, witnessing, and outreaching. 

Jesus Christ has established and strategically planted His churches where we are to be His commissioned and empowered “agents” for advancing His Kingdom message and agenda.

Acts 1.8 ~ But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

And since our pastors, elders, and leaders are on the “frontline” of our advancement, we must pray that God will give them wisdom to lead us – and cover them with His protection from sin and the assaults of the Evil One – and make their ministry and leadership among us effective and fruitful.

The occasions when Paul asked the churches to pray for him and for the blessing of God on his ministry are too numerous to detail here. But just know that our pastors would all beg and appeal to you to pray for them the ways that Paul asked the churches to pray for him:

Ephesians 6.18-20 ~ …praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am in ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

2 Thessalonians 3.1-2 ~ Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the Word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith.

And the Hebrews writer commands us:

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. ~Hebrews 13.17-18

Write down the names of all our pastors in a notebook or a prayer journal – make lists of the names of our pastors, their wives, and their children. Pray for their families. Yes, every one of our pastors lives in a house, and has a family life, and has a daily life to live at the same times they are ministering to us and serving our church body every day.

Pray for them.

  • Pray that God will cover them and protect them from the assaults of the Evil One and his minions of the Kingdom of Darkness … because they are primary targets because of their leadership in the Kingdom of God.
  • Pray that God will keep them encouraged with faith, trust, and hope in Him. Due to the burden of their responsibilities and the weight of the cares they wrestle with daily, they are subject to discouragement, disappointments, despondency, and even depression.
  • Pray that God will keep their focus on Him, and not on the inevitable criticisms, complaints, and objections from someone against whatever they do.
  • Pray that God will keep them spiritually, morally, and physically pure and rescue them from all the many temptations, snares, and traps of the Devil.

And, while you are praying for the leadership of our church:

  • Pray for our teachers.
  • Pray for our elders.
  • Pray for our deacons.
  • Pray for our ministry and office staffs.
  • Pray for all our community group leaders.
  • Pray for our volunteers.
  • Pray for all those who serve to make our church ministry function.

And, while you are praying for our church’s leaders, pray for yourself that you will be the church member that God wants you to be and calls you to be.

My church is my family in Christ and my field of His assigned service. I must fulfill my own service and ministry Christ has given me to do. I must pray for Christ to receive Glory through His church body and ministry.

To this end, I must pray every day without fail for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, and leaders of my church – that “Your Kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” … through the ministry of our church.

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6. I must pray every day without fail … interceding for the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know.

Prayer Prompter Words: “Give us this day our daily bread”

“our daily bread”

Now, this prayer prompter teaches us to pray for our daily needs, and particularly our daily physical needs. That’s what Jesus means when He uses the words “daily bread” – He’s talking about what we need to physically live and live well from day to day. It includes not only our food and what we eat, but it will also include all our daily provisions that are necessary for life.

And these things are usually what we think about, and pray about, and ask for when we talk about “prayer requests.” Most often, when we talk about “prayer requests,” it has to do with our health, our finances, our state of mind, our circumstances, our jobs, our families, our relationships – and then all the events that are going on around us: what’s going on in our communities, our nation, and the world. All of those sorts of things are included in “our daily bread.” And we all have lots of these needs and concerns, and we care about them deeply. And, we should.

The most familiar “prayer prompter”

Without a doubt, we are probably more familiar with this prayer prompter than we are with any of the others that are in this same Disciples’ Model Prayer that Jesus taught us to pray by. Out of all the prayer prompters we are proposing and considering, this one is surely the most-used one among us.

We are more familiar with and practiced in praying for our physical needs than we are [for example]: in praying to delight in God (as in “Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name…), or in dealing with our indwelling sin and transgressions (as in “Forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors…”), or how we are progressing in our daily walk with Christ and growing in His Grace and likeness (as in “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…”).

And, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with praying for all our physical needs and circumstances – Jesus is certainly teaching us here to do just that. I’m just saying that it is probably very often out of proportion and out of balance with how much attention and care we give the other essential spiritual exercises and needs of our daily lives.

In fact, there are those who would disparage us for praying for what we commonly call “prayer requests,” saying that it is unspiritual, and shallow, and even carnal and too self-centered. However, Paul actually calls them “requests” when he counsels us to pray for them in Philippians 4.6, “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” And the ‘requests’ he is referring to here are our requests for the physical provisions and circumstances of our daily lives. These are also the needs and “requests” we are most often anxious about.

Paul here is obviously echoing and repeating Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6.25-34. Jesus talks about our common responses of anxiety to the daily needs and events of our physical lives. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on …Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” [verses 25, 31-33].

So, here it is from Jesus Himself in Jesus’ own words: Don’t be anxious about any of your daily needs and provisions in whatever form or circumstance you need them. Pray, and ask your Father in Heaven to give you everything you need!

Earlier, in this same sermon/lesson/discourse, Jesus says: “Pray then like this” – so learn to pray this way also: “Give us this day [or, day by day] our daily bread…”

Here’s what we learn from this simple prayer prompter:

  • It is a prayer of desperate need and abject dependence on God. We are desperately needy and abjectly dependent on our Father for every single atom, element, and item of our daily lives and provisions … there is absolutely not one atom of anything we are and have that we made and provided for ourselves. Remember what Paul preached to the pagan Athenians in Acts 17.28: “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
  • It is a prayer of recognizing God’s immediate and personal Presence in our daily lives. Our Father personally and immediately gives and is giving us everything we receive and enjoy on a daily basis in our daily lives … our Father is personally present and actively engaged in every single gift, benefit, and provision we receive, use, and enjoy each and every day of our lives. In that same classic sermon in Athens, Paul also said “…nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” [Acts 17.25].
  • It is a prayer of sincere and profuse thanksgiving to God. We must and we should ask Him to give it to us and provide it for us to keep us sensitive to how desperately we depend on Him and how grateful we should be toward Him for what He does give.
  • It is a prayer of delighting in God. When we pray like this, we are reminded afresh of His goodness, His generosity, His grace, His Lordship, and His faithfulness in our daily lives … in other words, this is another way and means in which we delight in God!

So, over the years, this is how I have learned to pray to our Heavenly Father from this prayer prompter – with all this in mind, sometime during the day … every day … and most often sometime in the morning of the day, I will pray to our Father in words like these:

“Our Heavenly Father, I thank you for giving us this another day and the life to live it. Thank you for giving us another 24 hours of time to know You, love You, serve You, and enjoy You … and I pray we will. Thank you for the breath with which I’m praying, for “You give to all life, breath, and all things.” I thank you for the mind with which I’m thinking these thoughts. Thank you for everything we are and everything we have because “it is in You that we live, and move, and have our being.” Thank you for being God, for being our God – for giving Yourself to us to be our God, and for taking us to Yourself to be your people. Thank you for being there – thank you for being here with us. Thank you for your generosity, your constancy, your faithfulness. We know that your mercies are renewed every morning and that your faithfulness is great. We love you, we trust you, and we depend on you. May we live for your pleasure today with the life and the time you have entrusted to us, and may we represent you well before a watching world.”

And then, I begin to pray and ask our Heavenly Father for the resources and the wherewithal I will need to live the life He has given me to live for another day.

“Give us this day [or, day by day] our daily bread…”

That prompts us then to make this commitment: “I must pray every day without fail for the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know…”

I’m adding the caveat “for the pressing needs I know of” because it’s obvious that we don’t know all the needs of those for whom we’re praying, but we also have this confidence that God, our Father, does know. When Jesus was teaching us how to use this Disciples’ Model Prayer, He told us to pray about all our daily physical needs and ask our Father to give them to us and provide them for us, but not to be anxious about them. In Matthew 6.8, He says “for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

And, I’m also adding the words “I must pray every day without fail for the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know…” because we don’t even know about the needs of those we don’t know. But, we do know some of the pressing needs of those we do know – and we must pray for them. We must “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” [Galatians 6.2].

AND NOTE THIS! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! This is NOT just about “Give ME this day MY daily bread” – that is NOT what Jesus taught us to pray. He tells us to pray “Give US this day OUR daily bread”! This supplication and intercession must be made in community with our brothers and sisters, and for the community. Yes! Pray to your Father in Heaven and make supplication for all the essential needs and provisions for YOUR ‘daily bread’ … but you are in community with all your brothers and sisters also! “Give US day by day OUR daily bread”!

“I must pray every day without fail for the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know…”

This is also NOT JUST for those we like, but for those we don’t like and who may not like us – and even for those who are our enemies, and who mistreat us, and treat us spitefully.  Read Matthew 5.43-48 again …

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven.”

Many of these pressing needs we will be praying about are related to sicknesses, distresses, and trials of many, many kinds. “Give us this day our daily bread.” And so, in praying for myself, and for you, and for all the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know, I must pray that God will make Himself known to all, and that all of those who are suffering and are in need will recognize and experience the Presence of God and the fullness of His Grace, and that He will get glory to Himself through all our trials and afflictions.

“I must pray every day without fail for the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know…”

You will note, for example, that in all the prayers of Paul for the saints in his epistles1, when he prays for them and all their needs, it is almost always for some spiritual grace to be granted to them or for some spiritual benefit to be granted and added to their lives because of whatever it is they were experiencing. He prays that they will enjoy the peace of God that surpasses our comprehension. He prays that they will enjoy the Presence of God in their lives, and especially in all their afflictions and tribulations. He prays for their faith, trust, and confidence in the grace of God – that their faith will not grow weak or be shaken, but that their faith in God’s provisions will grow stronger and stronger. And, especially, he prays for them that whether their physical circumstances improve or not, whether they get the physical answers and responses from God that they want or not … that their service for Christ will not falter and their witness for Christ will continue to shine by their obedience to the faith they profess.

And, that’s what I pray for you, too – and what we all should pray for one another!

1 For example: Ephesians 1.15-23; 3.14-21; Philippians 1.3-11; Colossians 1.9-14

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7. I must pray every day without fail … for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven”

I want to apply this prayer prompter to how the will of God is being perfected, fulfilled, and worked out in my daily personal life. We must pray for whatever God wants from us and for us to be performed in our everyday lives and activities.

So, even before we get started on this prayer prompter, I’m going to tell you where we’re going with it: when I pray for God’s will to be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven … I know that when it comes to God’s will for my personal life here on earth, His ultimate and perfect will is to shape me, make me, change me, and transform me until I am conformed into the image, likeness, and character of His Son, Jesus Christ. And so, everything God brings into my life and everything God works and does in my life will be aimed at and purposed for making me more like Christ in my values, my attitudes, my character, and my conduct.

When I pray to the Father “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven,” I am praying that He will do whatever He wills and wants to do, whatever needs to be done to make me more Christlike – more like His Son, Jesus, in Whom He is always well-pleased.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. ~Romans 8.28-29

I understand when I pray this that it will require Him to break me, wean me, and prune me in all those ways that I don’t conform to Christ. And there are many. But when He answers this prayer, He will be growing me in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ. That is His ultimate will for me.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~Romans 12.2.

First of all, let’s all recognize that God is going to do everything He does both in Heaven and on earth according to His own will and pleasure. God will always do what He wants to do and chooses to do. That is true in the whole universe, and it is true in the little world that is your life. That is how the universe was created and brought into existence, and that is how the universe works: “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

God always gets what He wants, and He always does what He wants – according to the counsel and purpose of His own sovereign will. And, that’s what we should always want for ourselves and what we should always pray for.

You remember how James counsels and teaches us to pray in all of the desires, intentions, and plans of our lives: “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” [James 4.15]. And so, we are always praying “…if it is Your will…” in everything we pray for.

Our praying is NOT for the purpose dictating to God what His will should be for our lives – rather, we pray to discern what God’s will is, to discover what God’s will is … and then to defer, surrender, and submit to what God’s will is. And, we pray even to delight in what God’s will is.

Yes – our praying is, is many respects, a tug-of-war between wills: God’s will and our will. But, God’s will ALWAYS wins, and God’s will is ALWAYS for our ultimate good – and the will that ALWAYS must change and yield to the other will is NEVER God’s will … it is ALWAYS our will!

Remember that Jesus Himself prayed to His Heavenly Father in His struggles in the Garden of Gethsemane and concluded with this surrender: “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

“Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

And so, let’s just reiterate and remind ourselves again, to begin with, that we are not praying to change God’s mind about anything, or to bring God around to agreeing with us about anything we’re asking Him to do, or persuade God’s will in any way to conform with our will.

One of the primary, priority purposes for our praying is to bring our wills and lives into conformity with the will of God in every respect. And so, this brings us back to this prayer prompter as it applies to every aspect of our daily lives – “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

So, what is the will of God for your life and mine? We’re talking here, of course, about God ultimate, comprehensive will for our lives. What is our Heavenly Father’s ultimate purpose, design, and desire for everything He does in our lives? What is He aiming at in everything He brings into your life and mine? Where is He taking us?

Here is God’s will that He is working out in our lives – just like He performs His will in Heaven: God’s will is to progressively transform us into the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

We will not always understand why He does what all He does nor why He does what He does the ways He does them. But, we always know that His good and perfect will is to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ. And, the Holy Spirit will teach us and help us to pray this way in humble submission and trust in the Father’s will.

Here it is from Romans 8.26-29:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becausethe Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers.

So, there you have it!

  • God’s will in Heaven is for me to conformed to the image and likeness of His Son here on earth
  • The Holy Spirit intercedes and prays through me and for me for this will of God to be done
  • I must pray by the Holy Spirit and with the Holy Spirit for this will of God to be worked out in every event, activity, and circumstance of my daily life

“I must pray every day without fail … for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness”

And so, just keep examining yourself by the Word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit. Use Jesus Christ Himself as your standard for measurement and evaluation. Commit and strive to become more and more like Jesus Christ each and every day in your values, your character, your attitudes, and your conduct. And, in those areas you know you have failed and you fall short – and we all do, and we all will until we are glorified in the resurrection – then repent of your shortcomings and resolve to grow in that grace where you lack.

Just keep in mind, and keep reminding yourself, that Jesus prays this very same prayer for us also. Remember how He prayed to His Father in John 17.3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

And so, if Jesus prays to the Father that we will know Him and be conformed to Him as the expression of our eternal life, then we ought to pray to that end also.

Now, I know that I have been emphasizing that this prayer – and all our prayers – should be prayed in community: “we…us…our”. We should pray with our hearts, our minds, and our attention on all the others, and not just on ourselves.

But, the truth remains that we must also, and at the same time, be praying daily and constantly for our individual, personal lives … that each one of us would be in an on-going process of transformation into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.

We should pray like we sing:

“Have thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;

Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.

Mold me and make me after Thy will

while I am waiting, yielded and still.” ~Adelaide A. Pollard

And, we should pray this same way for each other. Paul sums up how we should pray for one another in his prayer for the saints in the church at Ephesus:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3.14-19

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8. I must pray every day without fail … for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities

Now, I know that this prayer prompter sounds a lot like the one I just explained – but it is different in this respect: in the last prayer prompter, we are praying that God will work out His will in His ultimate purpose for everything He brings into our lives.

In this prayer prompter, we are praying that God will work out His will in the specific performances of our daily lives – in other words, in every specific act and activity.

Here are the Prayer Prompter Words: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [or, The Evil One]”

The Psalmist would add to this prayer request and prompter: “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

So, here is a twin / dual prayer prompter: I pray that God’s will and pleasure will be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities by leading me away from temptations to sin and into paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

I must pray every day this way – and I must pray this way constantly and continuously throughout every day. I must come to each day with the prayer Jesus prayed to the Father when He came into our world – and as He Himself lived every day of His life here among us: “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God’” ~Hebrews 10.7

This prayer has two expressions:

[1] I must pray to not yield and respond to temptations. You will not avoid temptations. You will be tempted to sin at every turn and juncture of every day. We don’t pray that the Father will keep us from being tempted – because we will be tempted. But, what we pray for is that the Father will lead us away from that temptation, and out of that temptation without consenting to it, and yielding to it, and following it … and thereby sinning against Him.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus entered the Garden on the night before His Cross, He knew that He was going to be tempted by Satan to turn away from His obedience to the Father. He also knew that His disciples would be tempted to deny Him, and abandon Him to save themselves. That’s when He warned them and told them to pray that they would not enter into that temptation and sin. This may be the most neglected prayer that Jesus commands us to pray … that we don’t pray!

Luke 22.40: When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Mark 14.38: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

[2] I must pray to walk in obedience to God and please Him in every activity of every day. I want God Himself to lay out my every day’s path and order my steps into whatever He has planned for me. God will work out His own good, perfect, and sovereign purposes and pleasures for me on a daily basis by leading me into those activities that will bring His will into practical fruition

Psalm 23.3: He leads me in paths of righteousness [or ‘right paths’] for His Name’s sake

Psalm 37.23: The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way

Jeremiah 10.23: I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps

I must pray every day without fail … for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

9. I must pray every day without fail … that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your Kingdom come”

When you pray to our Father in Heaven “Your Kingdom come…,” you are also praying that He will use you and work through you fully and effectively to make His Kingdom come … and you are submitting, volunteering, and offering yourself to serve in whatever capacity and role He gives you to fulfill to bring His Kingdom into reality in our human experience here on earth.

Now, as I have been saying all along, all of these ‘prayer prompters’ from this Disciples’ Model Prayer are for my own use. I have developed them over the past few years to help me keep myself on task and on track concerning what I must be praying for and praying about constantly and daily.

So, when I pray ‘that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word,” this is my personal prayer for the particular activities and exercises of the ministry that God has called me to fulfill.

And, even those roles have changed especially over the past most recent years with changes in places of service and transitions in the assignments and roles He has given me to fulfill. But, I am still preaching – though not regularly – and I am still teaching regularly. And so, I’m still praying that I will continue to grow and improve in those gifts and exercises.

And, of course, I am still witnessing as a Christian and a believer and a disciple/follower of Jesus. Every one of us will share this Kingdom role alike with one another even though our other specific roles and tasks may be different than each other’s.

But, more on that here in just a minute…

Now, when you apply this prayer prompter to your own service for Christ, you need to recognize and evaluate how God has gifted you and called you to serve Him – and what opportunities for service He is giving you. Every one of us will not exercise the same gifts … all of us will not serve in the same roles … every one of us will not do the same tasks as the others of us do.

But, every one of us is called by Jesus Christ to serve Him in His Kingdom.

Here’s the way Paul described our service in Colossians 3.23-24 [HCSB]:

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically [or, from your heart, whole-heartedly], as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

Do whatever you do in Jesus’ service the best you can – and continually pray you can do it better!

That’s why I am using Jesus’ words from The Disciples’ Model Prayer “Your Kingdom come…” to prompt us all to pray that God will improve us in the exercise of whatever it is we are doing in His Kingdom.

When Jesus describes who we are and what we do as His children, His disciples, His followers, He always begins with our relation to Him in His Kingdom. Just read the Sermon on the Mount. Every characteristic Jesus commands us to live out is in our relationship with Him in His Kingdom.  We are ‘sons of the Kingdom.’ We are born again into His Kingdom. We are citizens of His Kingdom. We are servants in His Kingdom. We are commanded to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God…”

And so, when we pray to Him “Your Kingdom come…,” it is understood that we are answering His call to obey Him, serve Him, and do whatever He is calling us to do and whatever He is giving us to do to make His Kingdom come.

Jesus Christ has given us the royal calling and the high privilege to labor and serve with Him to bring His Kingdom into physical and spiritual reality here in the world around us.

And so, whatever Jesus gives you to do to serve Him in His Kingdom, then pray that you will do it the best you can do it – as God helps you to grow and improve in the doing of it. It may not even be visible. It almost never will be glamorous. Sometimes it is menial. Nobody but Christ may even see what all you are doing in His Kingdom. But, be faithful in the doing of it, do it the best you can with the ability God gives you, and do it for His glory and to please Him!

Here’s how Peter describes how we are to humbly serve one another:

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Peter 4.8-11 HCSB

And, pray that you will keep on doing whatever you are doing in God’s Kingdom faithfully, and that you will keep on growing and improving in the doing of it! Never stop growing! Paul wrote this to Timothy to encourage him and incentivize him to keep practicing, training, and improving his ministry roles:

Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. ~1 Timothy 4.14-15 HCSB

Now, getting back to witnessing to others, each one of us should be praying that God will improve your witnessing to make you more effective in ministering His Word to others. Each one of us should consider yourself to be an “ambassador” for Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 5.20] – a representative of Christ and a spokesperson of His Kingdom –and a “witness” to the Gospel to everyone God gives us to interact with.

Luke 24.46-48:and [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

“You are witnesses of these things” means me, you, everyone of us!

So, how does each one of us pray this prayer for ourselves?

When you pray, “Your Kingdom come…,” you are praying that God will give you opportunities to witness to your lost family members, neighbors, your network of friends and acquaintances, associates, co-workers, and anyone else He may bring you into personal contact with so you can tell them the Good News / Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom.

When you pray “Your Kingdom come…,” you are praying that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sins and give them the faith to believe in Christ and trust Him and be born again to see and enter the Kingdom of God.

Each of us should and must pray continuously that God will keep our hearts on fire with love for Jesus Christ and with a burning passion to see lost people saved … and with the flaming desire for the Holy Spirit to use us as His witnesses and speak and work through us to make the Kingdom of God come in the hearts and lives of many others!

So, whatever service and ministry Jesus Christ is giving you to do, and whatever work He is giving you opportunity to serve Him in, pray every day that He will grow you and improve you in the doing of it – and especially in witnessing to Him to others!

Before I move on to the last prayer prompter, I want to talk directly to some of you will read this lesson or hear it … and you are discouraged, you feel like you are useless, and you are tempted to believe that none of what I have been saying means anything to you. Maybe you are homebound. Maybe you feel isolated, secluded, and maybe even forgotten. Maybe because of age and physical weakness and infirmity you are tempted to believe that all the days of your usefulness to God are long past and will never come back. Maybe you feel like you have no part to play, no role to fulfill, no service to give in the on-going work of the Kingdom of God.

Please! May I plead with you not to think any of that or feel any of the feelings I have just described. Listen again to these prayer prompter words: “Your Kingdom come…” Those are not just ‘prayer prompter words’ … those words are the prayer! Can you not pray those words? Can you not plead that prayer? Yes! You can! There is no sickness, no weakness, no infirmity, no restrictive circumstance or secluded environment that can keep you from praying this mighty prayer to God! Your physical weakness in no way restricts or impedes the strength of this prayer!

You may be restricted to one small space in your house, or even to a bed of sickness and weakness, but your prayer from there can help bring in the Kingdom of God in all the world! Jesus even commands us to go to our secret, hidden place of prayer when we pray!

I’ll even go farther than that – those who are more actively working and serving out in their various more public fields of service want and need your prayers to God on their behalf! We have often said that when those who have been more prominent and public in their ministry profiles stand before Christ, if there is fruit that has been harvested through their ministries, it will be not only because of their more public gifts and labors – but maybe even more because of the hidden and secret prayers that were prayed to God on their behalf to empower their ministries and make their more public work effective.

So, please, wherever you are, whatever you are suffering, even if you can’t leave the room where you are, or the chair you’re sitting in, or the bed you’re lying on … pray this prayer that Jesus teaches us to pray: “Your Kingdom come…!”

And, as Jesus promises, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” ~Matthew 6.6.  

>>>>>>>>>> † <<<<<<<<<<

10. I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your Kingdom come”

I know we have used these words “Your Kingdom come…” to prompt a number of these prayers that we must pray every day. But, “Your Kingdom come…” encompasses pretty much all that God purposes to do and is doing to do His will on the earth like it is done in Heaven.

The Kingdom of God IS God doing His will on earth like He does His will in Heaven!

So, I’m using these same words this time to prompt us to pray for world missions. We must be praying every day that the Kingdom of God comes and that God’s will is done on earth as it done in Heaven … not only in our own personal lives, not only in our local church, not only in our own community and city – but also in all the world … everywhere!

So, I’m going to quote some Scriptures – some familiar and some maybe not so familiar – but all of them will emphasize what God’s will is for His Gospel, this Gospel He has given us to proclaim! Pay attention to where God commands us to proclaim His Gospel, and that will pretty much explain why I am saying that we must pray every day without fail “that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere!”

Matthew 24.14: This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the worldas a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.

Matthew 28.18-19: Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…”

Mark 16.15: Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation…”

Acts 1.8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Romans 16.25-26: Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my Gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations

Colossians 1.5-6: You have already heard about this hope [of Heaven] in the message of truth, the Gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth.

Revelation 14.6: Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, having the eternal Gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people.

Now, what do you read – and what do you hear – in all these words that will express what God’s will is for His Gospel? What does God want for His Gospel of the Kingdom? Where does God want it to be proclaimed and preached and told and heard? Where does God want it to go? Where does God command us to take it?

How does God command us to care about His Gospel world-wide?

How does God command us to pray for His Gospel world-wide?

I have expressed this prayer prompter this way: ‘I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified … here, there, and everywhere’ because that word “run” is precisely the word Paul used and the way he told the Thessalonian church to pray for him as he himself ran throughout the world preaching it… 

2 Thessalonians 3.1 [ASV]: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified, even as also it is with you…

The word that Paul uses for his missionary advance of the Gospel is “run” – just the common word for “run.” And, he requests and pleads with the Thessalonian church [and all of us] to please pray for him “that the Word of the Lord may run and be glorified…” Another way to say it would be “Please pray for me that the Gospel may speed ahead…or spread rapidly…everywhere I preach it – here, there, and everywhere!”

I assure you that this is what your missionaries are pleading with you to do for them and with them.

So, here’s how you and I pray this prayer prompter: Pray for your missionaries by name. Find out who they are and where they are. Learn what they are doing and what their needs are. Ask them what they need, what their struggles are, and how they want you to pray for them.

And then, more than anything else, and in every other prayer you pray for them, pray that the Gospel they are witnessing and preaching and proclaiming will “run” into people’s hearts by the living power of the Holy Spirit … that the Holy Spirit will use their witness of the Gospel to convict people of their sins, bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and transform their lives by the life-giving power of the new birth!

Let’s get in sync with the heart of God and with Jesus Christ. Jesus wants Him and His Gospel to be preached to every person in every nation, tribe, language, and people. He wants us to love, care for, support, and pray for all those who are proclaiming His Name and His Gospel to all the peoples of the whole world!

So, let’s do it!

I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word, the Gospel of the Kingdom, will run and spread rapidly throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified … here, there, and everywhere!

“For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen”

********************

NOTES, OBSERVATIONS, TAKEAWAYS

How am I going to pray and what am I going to pray for … in light of what we have studied from this Disciples’ Model Prayer and Jesus’ teaching us to “Pray then like this…”?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here is the PDF copy for these lesson notes:

If you are interested in viewing the YouTube videos for the 7 segments of this lesson, here are the links for those episodes:

LESSON 4: WHAT I MUST PRAY FOR EVERY DAY WITHOUT FAIL

Lesson Notes:

[link to full text of Lesson Notes above here…]

LINKS TO LESSON NOTES & YOUTUBE VIDEOS FOR LESSON SEGMENTS

  • Episode 6 – Spiritual Exercises / Lesson 4 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, parts 1&2 / Introduction to the Disciples’ Model Prayer, and Prayer Prompter #1 – Pray to delight in God

https://youtu.be/ixIuo4pQCGU  /  Length 31:25

BLOG POST & LESSON NOTES:

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/10/25/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-part-1/

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/10/25/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-part-2/

  • Episode 7 – Spiritual Exercises / Lesson 4 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 3 / Prayer Prompter #2 & #3: Pray with confession of my sins & Pray for the Grace to forgive those who have violated or offended me

https://youtu.be/G4_CtVuTxUs  /  Length 29:19

BLOG POST & LESSON NOTES:

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/10/25/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-part-3/

  • Episode 8 – Spiritual Exercises / Lesson 4 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 4 / Prayer Prompter #4 & #5: Pray for the salvation of the lost & Pray for the Pastors, teachers, elders, and leaders of my church

https://youtu.be/cqpKXc4lXvc  /  Length 34:26

BLOG POST & LESSON NOTES:

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/11/01/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-part-4/

  • Episode 9 – Spiritual Exercises / Lesson 4 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 5 / Prayer Prompter #6: Pray for the pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know

https://youtu.be/F3CQh60K13A  /  Length 27:34

BLOG POST & LESSON NOTES:

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/11/15/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-lesson-4-part-5/

  • Episode 10 – Spiritual Exercises / Lesson 4 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 6 / Prayer Prompters #7&8: Pray for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness & for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities

https://youtu.be/UzbOHrU7TIk  /  Length 26:02

BLOG POST & LESSON NOTES:

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/11/27/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-part-6/

  • Episode 11 – Spiritual Exercises / Lesson 4 / What I Must Pray For Every Day Without Fail, part 7 / Prayer Prompters #s9&10: Pray that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word; and Pray that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified … here, there, and everywhere.

https://youtu.be/opjv_RtfTkE  /  Length 32:31

BLOG POST & LESSON NOTES:

https://daveparksblog.com/2020/11/29/what-i-must-pray-for-every-day-without-fail-part-7/

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What I must pray for every day … without fail / part 7

Spiritual Exercises

Lesson #4 / part 7

(Please see Lesson #4 / parts 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 for preceding Lesson content…)

WHAT MUST I PRAY FOR EVERY DAY – WITHOUT FAIL?

Read Matthew 6.5-15

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 

15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The 10 ‘Prayer Prompters’

Here is a summary of the 10 prayer prompters – then we will begin to address them in a little more detail as they apply to our own personal particular prayers concerns:

  1. I must pray every day without fail… to delight in God
  2. I must pray every day without fail… with confession of my sins
  3. I must pray every day without fail… for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way
  4. I must pray every day without fail… for the salvation of those who are lost
  5. I must pray every day without fail… for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, and leaders of my church
  6. I must pray every day without fail… interceding for pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know
  7. I must pray every day without fail… for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness
  8. I must pray every day without fail… for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities 
  9. I must pray every day without fail… that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word [this is for me – you will need to adapt it to your personal prayer needs…]
  10. I must pray every day without fail… that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere

NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT EACH ONE AND HOW TO PRAY THEM…

9. I must pray every day without fail … that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your Kingdom come”

When you pray to our Father in Heaven “Your Kingdom come…,” you are also praying that He will use you and work through you fully and effectively to make His Kingdom come … and you are submitting, volunteering, and offering yourself to serve in whatever capacity and role He gives you to fulfill to bring His Kingdom into reality in our human experience here on earth.

Now, as I have been saying all along, all of these ‘prayer prompters’ from this Disciples’ Model Prayer are for my own use. I have developed them over the past few years to help me keep myself on task and on track concerning what I must be praying for and praying about constantly and daily.

So, when I pray ‘that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word,” this is my personal prayer for the particular activities and exercises of the ministry that God has called me to fulfill.

And, even those roles have changed especially over the past most recent years with changes in places of service and transitions in the assignments and roles He has given me to fulfill. But, I am still preaching – though not regularly – and I am still teaching regularly. And so, I’m still praying that I will continue to grow and improve in those gifts and exercises.

And, of course, I am still witnessing as a Christian and a believer and a disciple/follower of Jesus. Every one of us will share this Kingdom role alike with one another even though our other specific roles and tasks may be different than each other’s.

But, more on that here in just a minute…

Now, when you apply this prayer prompter to your own service for Christ, you need to recognize and evaluate how God has gifted you and called you to serve Him – and what opportunities for service He is giving you. Every one of us will not exercise the same gifts … all of us will not serve in the same roles … every one of us will not do the same tasks as the others of us do.

But, every one of us is called by Jesus Christ to serve Him in His Kingdom.

Here’s the way Paul described our service in Colossians 3.23-24 [HCSB]:

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically [or, from your heart, whole-heartedly], as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

Do whatever you do in Jesus’ service the best you can – and continually pray you can do it better!

That’s why I am using Jesus’ words from The Disciples’ Model Prayer “Your Kingdom come…” to prompt us all to pray that God will improve us in the exercise of whatever it is we are doing in His Kingdom.

When Jesus describes who we are and what we do as His children, His disciples, His followers, He always begins with our relation to Him in His Kingdom. Just read the Sermon on the Mount. Every characteristic Jesus commands us to live out is in our relationship with Him in His Kingdom.  We are ‘sons of the Kingdom.’ We are born again into His Kingdom. We are citizens of His Kingdom. We are servants in His Kingdom. We are commanded to ‘seek first the Kingdom of God…”

And so, when we pray to Him “Your Kingdom come…,” it is understood that we are answering His call to obey Him, serve Him, and do whatever He is calling us to do and whatever He is giving us to do to make His Kingdom come.

Jesus Christ has given us the royal calling and the high privilege to labor and serve with Him to bring His Kingdom into physical and spiritual reality here in the world around us.

And so, whatever Jesus gives you to do to serve Him in His Kingdom, then pray that you will do it the best you can do it – as God helps you to grow and improve in the doing of it. It may not even be visible. It almost never will be glamorous. Sometimes it is menial. Nobody but Christ may even see what all you are doing in His Kingdom. But, be faithful in the doing of it, do it the best you can with the ability God gives you, and do it for His glory and to please Him!

Here’s how Peter describes how we are to humbly serve one another:

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. ~ 1 Peter 4.8-11 HCSB

And, pray that you will keep on doing whatever you are doing in God’s Kingdom faithfully, and that you will keep on growing and improving in the doing of it! Never stop growing! Paul wrote this to Timothy to encourage him and incentivize him to keep practicing, training, and improving his ministry roles:

Do not neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. 15 Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. ~1 Timothy 4.14-15 HCSB

Now, getting back to witnessing to others, each one of us should be praying that God will improve your witnessing to make you more effective in ministering His Word to others. Each one of us should consider yourself to be an “ambassador” for Jesus Christ [2 Corinthians 5.20] – a representative of Christ and a spokesperson of His Kingdom –and a “witness” to the Gospel to everyone God gives us to interact with.

Luke 24.46-48: …and [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

“You are witnesses of these things” means me, you, everyone of us!

“You are witnesses of these things” means me, you, everyone of us!

So, how does each one of us pray this prayer for ourselves?

When you pray, “Your Kingdom come…,” you are praying that God will give you opportunities to witness to your lost family members, neighbors, your network of friends and acquaintances, associates, co-workers, and anyone else He may bring you into personal contact with so you can tell them the Good News / Gospel of Christ and His Kingdom.

When you pray “Your Kingdom come…,” you are praying that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their sins and give them the faith to believe in Christ and trust Him and be born again to see and enter the Kingdom of God.

Each of us should and must pray continuously that God will keep our hearts on fire with love for Jesus Christ and with a burning passion to see lost people saved … and with the flaming desire for the Holy Spirit to use us as His witnesses and speak and work through us to make the Kingdom of God come in the hearts and lives of many others!

So, whatever service and ministry Jesus Christ is giving you to do, and whatever work He is giving you opportunity to serve Him in, pray every day that He will grow you and improve you in the doing of it – and especially in witnessing to Him to others!

Before I move on to the last prayer prompter, I want to talk directly to some of you will read this lesson or hear it … and you are discouraged, you feel like you are useless, and you are tempted to believe that none of what I have been saying means anything to you. Maybe you are homebound. Maybe you feel isolated, secluded, and maybe even forgotten. Maybe because of age and physical weakness and infirmity you are tempted to believe that all the days of your usefulness to God are long past and will never come back. Maybe you feel like you have no part to play, no role to fulfill, no service to give in the on-going work of the Kingdom of God.

Please! May I plead with you not to think any of that or feel any of the feelings I have just described. Listen again to these prayer prompter words: “Your Kingdom come…” Those are not just ‘prayer prompter words’ … those words are the prayer! Can you not pray those words? Can you not plead that prayer? Yes! You can! There is no sickness, no weakness, no infirmity, no restrictive circumstance or secluded environment that can keep you from praying this mighty prayer to God! Your physical weakness in no way restricts or impedes the strength of this prayer!

You may be restricted to one small space in your house, or even to a bed of sickness and weakness, but your prayer from there can help bring in the Kingdom of God in all the world! Jesus even commands us to go to our secret, hidden place of prayer when we pray!

I’ll even go farther than that – those who are more actively working and serving out in their various more public fields of service want and need your prayers to God on their behalf! We have often said that when those who have been more prominent and public in their ministry profiles stand before Christ, if there is fruit that has been harvested through their ministries, it will be not only because of their more public gifts and labors – but maybe even more because of the hidden and secret prayers that were prayed to God on their behalf to empower their ministries and make their more public work effective.

So, please, wherever you are, whatever you are suffering, even if you can’t leave the room where you are, or the chair you’re sitting in, or the bed you’re lying on … pray this prayer that Jesus teaches us to pray: “Your Kingdom come…!”

And, as Jesus promises, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” ~Matthew 6.6. 

10. I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your Kingdom come”

I know we have used these words “Your Kingdom come…” to prompt a number of these prayers that we must pray every day. But, “Your Kingdom come…” encompasses pretty much all that God purposes to do and is doing to do His will on the earth like it is done in Heaven.

The Kingdom of God IS God doing His will on earth like He does His will in Heaven!

So, I’m using these same words this time to prompt us to pray for world missions. We must be praying every day that the Kingdom of God comes and that God’s will is done on earth as it done in Heaven … not only in our own personal lives, not only in our local church, not only in our own community and city – but also in all the world … everywhere!

So, I’m going to quote some Scriptures – some familiar and some maybe not so familiar – but all of them will emphasize what God’s will is for His Gospel, this Gospel He has given us to proclaim! Pay attention to where God commands us to proclaim His Gospel, and that will pretty much explain why I am saying that we must pray every day without fail “that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere!”

Matthew 24.14: This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.

Matthew 28.18-19: Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…”

Mark 16.15: Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation…”

Acts 1.8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Romans 16.25-26: Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my Gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations

Colossians 1.5-6: You have already heard about this hope [of Heaven] in the message of truth, the Gospel that has come to you. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world, just as it has among you since the day you heard it and recognized God’s grace in the truth.

Revelation 14.6: Then I saw another angel flying high overhead, having the eternal Gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people.

Now, what do you read – and what do you hear – in all these words that will express what God’s will is for His Gospel?

What does God want for His Gospel of the Kingdom?

Where does God want it to be proclaimed and preached and told and heard?

Where does God want it to go? Where does God command us to take it?

How does God command us to care about His Gospel world-wide?

How does God command us to pray for His Gospel world-wide?

I have expressed this prayer prompter this way: ‘I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified … here, there, and everywhere’ because that word “run” is precisely the word Paul used and the way he told the Thessalonian church to pray for him as he himself ran throughout the world preaching it… 

2 Thessalonians 3.1 [ASV]: Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified, even as also it is with you…

The word that Paul uses for his missionary advance of the Gospel is “run” – just the common word for “run.” And, he requests and pleads with the Thessalonian church [and all of us] to please pray for him “that the Word of the Lord may run and be glorified…” Another way to say it would be “Please pray for me that the Gospel may speed ahead…or spread rapidly…everywhere I preach it – here, there, and everywhere!”

I assure you that this is what your missionaries are pleading with you to do for them and with them.

So, here’s how you and I pray this prayer prompter:

Pray for your missionaries by name.

Find out who they are and where they are.

Learn what they are doing and what their needs are.

Ask them what they need, what their struggles are, and how they want you to pray for them. They know more and best, and they will be glad to share them with you.

And then, more than anything else, and in every other prayer you pray for them, pray that the Gospel they are witnessing and preaching and proclaiming will “run” into people’s hearts by the living power of the Holy Spirit … that the Holy Spirit will use their witness of the Gospel to convict people of their sins, bring them to faith in Jesus Christ, and transform their lives by the life-giving power of the new birth!

Let’s get in sync with the heart of God and with Jesus Christ. Jesus wants Him and His Gospel to be preached to every person in every nation, tribe, language, and people. He wants us to love, care for, support, and pray for all those who are proclaiming His Name and His Gospel to all the peoples of the whole world!

So, let’s do it!

I must pray every day without fail … that God’s Word, the Gospel of the Kingdom, will run and spread rapidly throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified … here, there, and everywhere!

“For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen”

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE YOUTUBE LESSON:

https://youtu.be/opjv_RtfTkE  /  Length 32:31

HERE IS THE PDF COPY OF THESE SAME LESSON NOTES:

Posted in Prayer, Spiritual Exercises, Sunday School lessons | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I must pray for every day without fail / part 6

Spiritual Exercises

Lesson #4 / part 6

(Please see Lesson #4 / parts 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 for preceding Lesson content…)

WHAT MUST I PRAY FOR EVERY DAY – WITHOUT FAIL?

Read Matthew 6.5-15

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 

15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The 10 ‘Prayer Prompters’

Here is a summary of the 10 prayer prompters – then we will begin to address them in a little more detail as they apply to our own personal particular prayers concerns:

  1. I must pray every day without fail… to delight in God
  2. I must pray every day without fail… with confession of my sins
  3. I must pray every day without fail… for the grace of God to forgive those who have offended and violated me in any way
  4. I must pray every day without fail… for the salvation of those who are lost
  5. I must pray every day without fail… for my church’s ministry – for the pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, and leaders of my church
  6. I must pray every day without fail… interceding for pressing needs I know of that are afflicting those I know
  7. I must pray every day without fail… for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness
  8. I must pray every day without fail… for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities 
  9. I must pray every day without fail… that God will improve my preaching, teaching, and witnessing to make me more effective in ministering His Word [this is for me – you will need to adapt it to your personal prayer needs…]
  10. I must pray every day without fail… that God’s Word will run throughout the whole earth and that Christ will be proclaimed and glorified…here, there, and everywhere

NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT EACH ONE AND HOW TO PRAY THEM…

7. I must pray every day without fail … for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness

Prayer Prompter Words: “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven”

I want to apply this prayer prompter to how the will of God is being perfected, fulfilled, and worked out in my daily personal life. We must pray for whatever God wants from us and for us to be performed in our everyday lives and activities.

First of all, let’s all recognize that God is going to do everything He does both in Heaven and on earth according to His own will and pleasure. God will always do what He wants to do and chooses to do. That is true in the whole universe, and it is true in the little world that is your life. That is how the universe was created and brought into existence, and that is how the universe works: “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

God always gets what He wants, and He always does what He wants – according to the counsel and purpose of His own sovereign will. And, that’s what we should always want for ourselves and what we should always pray for.

You remember how James counsels and teaches us to pray in all of the desires, intentions, and plans of our lives: “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” [James 4.15]. And so, we are always praying “…if it is Your will…” in everything we pray for.

Our praying is NOT for the purpose dictating to God what His will should be for our lives – rather, we pray to discern what God’s will is, to discover what God’s will is … and then to defer, surrender, and submit to what God’s will is. And, we pray even to delight in what God’s will is.

Yes – our praying is, is many respects, a tug-of-war between wills: God’s will and our will. But, God’s will ALWAYS wins, and God’s will is ALWAYS for our ultimate good – and the will that ALWAYS must change and yield to the other will is NEVER God’s will … it is ALWAYS our will!

Remember that Jesus Himself prayed to His Heavenly Father in His struggles in the Garden of Gethsemane and concluded with this surrender: “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

“Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

And so, let’s just reiterate and remind ourselves again, to begin with, that we are not praying to change God’s mind about anything, or to bring God around to agreeing with us about anything we’re asking Him to do, or persuade God’s will in any way to conform with our will.

One of the primary, priority purposes for our praying is to bring our wills and lives into conformity with the will of God in every respect. And so, this brings us back to this prayer prompter as it applies to every aspect of our daily lives – “Your will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.”

So, what is the will of God for your life and mine? We’re talking here, of course, about God ultimate, comprehensive will for our lives. What is our Heavenly Father’s ultimate purpose, design, and desire for everything He does in our lives? What is He aiming at in everything He brings into your life and mine? Where is He taking us?

Here is God’s will that He is working out in our lives – just like He performs His will in Heaven: God’s will is to progressively transform us into the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Here it is from Romans 8.26-29:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, becausethe Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. 29For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers.

So, there you have it!

  • God’s will in Heaven is for me to conformed to the image and likeness of His Son here on earth
  • The Holy Spirit intercedes and prays through me and for me for this will of God to be done
  • I must pray by the Holy Spirit and with the Holy Spirit for this will of God to be worked out in every event, activity, and circumstance of my daily life

“I must pray every day without fail … for my personal growth in grace and in knowing Jesus Christ – that is, Christlikeness”

And so, just keep examining yourself by the Word of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit. Use Jesus Christ Himself as your standard for measurement and evaluation. Commit and strive to become more and more like Jesus Christ each and every day in your values, your character, your attitudes, and your conduct. And, in those areas you know you have failed and you fall short – and we all do, and we all will until we are glorified in the resurrection – then repent of your shortcomings and resolve to grow in that grace where you lack.

Just keep in mind, and keep reminding yourself, that Jesus prays this very same prayer for us also. Remember how He prayed to His Father in John 17.3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

And so, if Jesus prays to the Father that we will know Him and be conformed to Him as the expression of our eternal life, then we ought to pray to that end also.

Now, I know that I have been emphasizing that this prayer – and all our prayers – should be prayed in community: “we…us…our”. We should pray with our hearts, our minds, and our attention on all the others, and not just on ourselves.

But, the truth remains that we must also, and at the same time, be praying daily and constantly for our individual, personal lives … that each one of us would be in an on-going process of transformation into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.

We should pray like we sing:

“Have thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;

Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.

Mold me and make me after Thy will

while I am waiting, yielded and still.” ~Adelaide A. Pollard

And, we should pray this same way for each other. Paul sums up how we should pray for one another in his prayer for the saints in the church at Ephesus:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3.14-19

8. I must pray every day without fail … for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities

Now, I know that this prayer prompter sounds a lot like the one I just explained – but it is different in this respect: in the last prayer prompter, we are praying that God will work out His will in His ultimate purpose for everything He brings into our lives.

In this prayer prompter, we are praying that God will work out His will in the specific performances of our daily lives – in other words, in every specific act and activity.

Here are the Prayer Prompter Words: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil [or, The Evil One]”

The Psalmist would add to this prayer request and prompter: “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

So, here is a twin / dual prayer prompter: I pray that God’s will and pleasure will be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities by leading me away from temptations to sin and into paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

I must pray every day this way – and I must pray this way constantly and continuously throughout every day. I must come to each day with the prayer Jesus prayed to the Father when He came into our world – and as He Himself lived every day of His life here among us: “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God’” ~Hebrews 10.7

This prayer has two expressions:

[1] I must pray to not yield and respond to temptations. You will not avoid temptations. You will be tempted to sin at every turn and juncture of every day. We don’t pray that the Father will keep us from being tempted – because we will be tempted. But, what we pray for is that the Father will lead us away from that temptation, and out of that temptation without consenting to it, and yielding to it, and following it … and thereby sinning against Him.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus entered the Garden on the night before His Cross, He knew that He was going to be tempted by Satan to turn away from His obedience to the Father. He also knew that His disciples would be tempted to deny Him, and abandon Him to save themselves. That’s when He warned them and told them to pray that they would not enter into that temptation and sin. This may be the most neglected prayer that Jesus commands us to pray … that we don’t pray!

Luke 22.40: When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Mark 14.38: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

[2] I must pray to walk in obedience to God and please Him in every activity of every day. I want God Himself to lay out my every day’s path and order my steps into whatever He has planned for me. God will work out His own good, perfect, and sovereign purposes and pleasures for me on a daily basis by leading me into those activities that will bring His will into practical fruition

Psalm 23.3: He leads me in paths of righteousness [or ‘right paths’] for His Name’s sake

Psalm 37.23: The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way

Jeremiah 10.23: I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps

I must pray every day without fail … for God’s will to be fulfilled and accomplished in my day’s activities

Here is the youTube link to this lesson segment:

https://youtu.be/UzbOHrU7TIk  /  Length 26:02

HERE IS A PDF COPY OF THESE SAME LESSON NOTES:

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