Silence and Centering Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; - PSA 37:7 Confession: Holy and merciful God, we confess to You and to one another that we have sinned against You by what we’ve done,and by what we’ve left undone. We have not loved You with our heart, mind, and strength.We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have failed to be the people that You’ve called us to be. You alone know how often we have grieved You by wasting Your gifts and by wandering from Your ways. Forgive us, we pray,most merciful Lord,and free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of Your Holy Spirit for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Savior.In His Name we pray. Amen. PAUSE FOR 5 MINUTES OF SILENCE Reading & Devotional: There is a story in the Old Testament of a king named Ahaz who made a very foolish decision. Rather than trusting in God to protect him from his enemies, he sought help from foreign nations. The Lord sent Isaiah the prophet to King Ahaz to tell him –“Honor God has as holy and fear Him instead of man. If you do, God will protect you.”(seeIsaiah 8:13-14) In other words, “If you will humble yourself before God and make Him your refuge, He will take care of you.” Whenever we are experiencing a time of difficulty, it is easy for us to focus more upon our problems than upon God who is able to help us with our problems. However, focusing upon our problems will never help us. It will only cause us to lose hope and to sink into despair. Peter was concerned that some of his fellow believers might do the same. They were suffering great persecution and he knew that it would easy for them to become discouraged. Therefore, in effort to encourage them, Peter gave them these important words of instruction- 1 Peter 3:14… “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…. Rather than letting our problems cause us to become discouraged, we should use our problems as an opportunity to witness to our faith in God. Peter tells us that our faith should be so real that it will cause others to wonder and to ask us about it. As I write these words I am reminded of an incident that happened to us a few years ago. A member of our family became very ill and there was a time when we seriously wondered if they would recover. But during that time of trouble, we sensed in our hearts that God was with us. At one point during our storm, God did something miraculous for us and before I knew it, I found myself proclaiming to the doctors and nurses who were present, “I don’t know whether or not you believe in God, but I can tell you that He is real!” Peter encourages us to use our problems as an opportunity to express our faith. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…” 5 minutes of SILENT PRAYER & REFLECTION. Waiting on God (which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?) Prayer Of The Day Dead to sin Before you begin, ask God for a fresh out-pouring of the Holy Spirit on your life. Lord Jesus Christ, it is in Your mighty Name that I pray…. Father, Your Word says that a patient man is better than a warrior, and one who controls his temper than one who takes a city. You have admonished me in Your Word to control my body – my appetites and behavior, in a way that is holy and honorable to You. But I confess Father that I fall short of this in many areas of my life and I ask that You strengthen me by Your Spirit, so that I might not let sin reign in my body or give in to evil desires (pause and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of your life that are not yet submitted to Him). May the fruit of self-control continually increase in my life, that this godly characteristic may be evident in the way that I eat, how I shop, the hobbies I engage in, my sexuality, my words and actions… may every aspect of who I am and how I live be under the control of the Holy Spirit. I submit to You now in Jesus’ Name Father. Empower me to keep a tight rein on my tongue. May I be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, knowing that anger does not bring about the righteous life that You desire. May I bless with my mouth and my life. May my life be so controlled by Your Holy Spirit, that I truly live and move and have my very being in You alone. Help me this day to not indulge my fleshly nature. Strengthen me to stand firm and be self-controlled in thought, word and action – that I might be a useable, noble vessel for Your purposes and the glory of Your great Name. Accomplish this through Christ in me, for I pray in His name. Amen. Praying for Believers “Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for ____ this morning. I ask that you would fill _____ with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. I pray that _____ will walk in a manner worthy of you. May _____ please you today – bearing fruit in every good work. I ask that you increase ______ knowledge of you. May ______ be strengthened with all power, according to your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. I give thanks to you, Father, for qualifying _____ to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Thank you for delivering ______ from the domain of darkness and transferring ______ to the kingdom of your beloved Son. I pray this in the name of Jesus in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin. Amen.”Colossians 1:9-14 Praying for Non- Believers Father, forgive me for my selfish disregard for my friends and neighbors who are lost in their sins and trespasses. I pray that You might break my heart for the lost, and that I might give myself to earnest intercession for their salvation. And help me to present a loving witness to them as I have opportunity. Give me the passion of Paul for a world that has lost its way. And now I pray for ______ that they might be drawn to Jesus Christ for salvation. I pray that You, O Lord, might cause them to see their sins, and that they might cry to You and be saved. Lord, make them discontent with their self-help solutions and their misguided quest for personal peace and significance. Show them the glories of Jesus, not just as Savior, but as Lord and King. Cause them to believe on Him and be saved. The Our Father (slowly pray this) Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.