I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
I have occasionally shared in this weekly “Jym Shorts” article what my daily disciplines are in Scripture. I do this not to impress you, particularly since it isn’t all that impressive (Martin Luther, who preached on average 300 sermons per year, wrote books and tracts almost continuously and was a father and husband, started each day with two hours of prayer and time in God’s word – that’s impressive). I share with you my Christian disciplines as a way to encourage you to establish disciplines of your own. Surely, we all know that many of the things we stress and fret over in this life and spend countless hours upon will count for very little in eternity. However, every second in God’s word has value not only for this lifetime, but for our future lives as well (1 Tim. 4:8).
Most of my days begin with a quick shower (my wife says they are not so quick) followed by an hour or so of reading
Scripture and exercise (some isometrics interspersed with Scripture reading). I generally take one morning each week to work through passages I have memorized along with committing new passages to memory. I am currently working on memorizing Psalm 29 and portions of John 10. I then pray with Dedra before she leaves for work followed by some time in prayer on my own. Most evenings I also read a prayer from the devotional book “The Valley of Vision” and a psalm to Dedra before we pray to end our day.
I would like to offer some suggested prayer requests for our church family for which I am praying regularly in my devotions. Would you consider adding these to your own prayers in 2020?
- That the Lord will bring people under the influence of the church’s ministry who need to hear the gospel (Acts 18:9-10).
- That we will teach and preach “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). That we will not fear for our reputation nor our advantage in the community, but that we will proclaim “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
- That we will be a unified body of believers. That gossip and slander will be rejected by those who hear it, and that we will love and offer grace to one another in truly biblical proportions (John 13:34-35).
- That we will be a sending church, with a heart for gospel missions that is unquenchable (Matt. 28:19-20).
- That we will love and care for our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:39).
- That God will minister to the singles in our church family (whether they be single by choice, widowed, or are simply single now but will be married one day), that they will use their singleness for God’s glory and for his kingdom (1 Cor. 7:25-35).
- For the marriages at LifePoint. Many are under duress. This is a primary focus of attack for both our world and our enemy. Pray that God would strengthen our marriages and cause us to see them for what they are, an opportunity not only for our happiness, but for our sanctification as well, and as a witness to a watching world (Eph. 5:32-33).
Because it is worth repeating, I will also reprint my prayer for our church family that the apostle Paul prayed for his friends in Philippi. I have been praying this prayer over our church family for a couple years now: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you will be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9-11).
Your spiritual disciplines do not have to look like mine. Your lives and days may be significantly different than what I experience. Nevertheless, I urge you to set aside time regularly to be in God’s word and for prayer. Your lives, families, and ministries will be greatly enriched if you do.
Grace and peace,