Journal Entries
Every weekday you will find a journal entry here from someone different in our church family. 
 
Click the scripture title and scroll down to see a comments section where you can ask questions, share insights and post your own SOUL Journal entry for the day!
 

Day 14

Week 2: A PATTERN FOR PRAYER

Justpray_app

JUST PRAY!

We have looked at the Lord’s Model Prayer over the last week.  I hope you see that prayer is simple, it does not have to be long and it must never become mindless repetition.  The following is a diagram I use in prayer so that I can pray on track.  It keeps prayer fresh and new to me because every time I use it the Holy Spirit points out some area of focus.  Try it for yourself and see.  Let’s just pray.
Prayer Circle

 

 



Day 13

Week 2: A Pattern For Prayer

Justpray_app

THE MODEL PRAYER – THE ENDING

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 6:13 (NKJV) 13

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

 

OBSERVATION

Although the line “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen,” is not found in the most reliable manuscripts they seem to be perfectly fitting to this passage, and they certainly speak of the reality of God.

 

UNDERSTANDING

After asking for provision and forgiveness, guidance and protection the prayer ends with a declaration that allows us to believe that our prayer is not in vain. After all we are asking our requests to the One who is in charge of everything and can do whatever He wants. He is almighty and powerful. When we end with such a declaration it is a faith builder because we are reminding ourselves that God, to whom we have asked our requests is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ever ask or think.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

Remember the saying…

If the request is wrong God says NO

If the timing is wrong God says SLOW

If you are wrong, God says GROW

And if the request is right, the timing is right and your heart is right God says GO!

 

Pray. Pray with confidence that God is able to meet all of your requests because He is in charge of everything and can do whatever He wants.



Day 12

Week 2:  The Model Prayer

Justpray_appOUR NEED FOR FORGIVENESS AND TO FORGIVE

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 18:21-35

 

OBSERVATION

This is not a passage about salvation but rather a passage about forgiveness in relationships. Just as children of God we do things that require forgiveness from God on a daily basis, so too we are in relationships where people do things that require us to forgive them. How we respond to those people can free God or tie His hand in our forgiveness.

 

UNDERSTANDING

Peter in asking Jesus the question of how many times we should forgive makes an assumption that many of us make – we assume that all offenses are against us and that we never offend anyone. If he thought that he was the offender do you think he would have asked, “How many times should we forgive? Seven times?” Truth is Peter was being generous because the Rabbis of the day said that three times was sufficient. So Jesus tells the parable to help us see that we are both offender and the offended one and how we respond to the those who offend us determines how God will deal with us when we offend Him.

The reality of the whole story is that if we cannot forgive people who offend us then our hearts are not in the right place (righteous) and so God cannot forgive us when we confess our sins to Him and ask for forgiveness. When our hearts are humble and repentant we will gladly forgive our brothers and sisters, but where there is pride and a desire for revenge then there is no real repentance, and God cannot forgive.

It is not enough to receive God’s forgiveness, or the forgiveness of others, we must experience that forgiveness in our hearts so that it humbles us and makes us gentle and forgiving towards others. The servant in the story was not humbled by the forgiveness of his debt, he was just glad to be “off the hook” and that showed in his treatment of those who were in debt to him.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

Forgiving others in order to fully receive forgiveness is an important part of prayer and God responding to our requests. Jesus reminds us that when we are praying and there is an issue of unforgiveness we need to stop praying and go and deal with it. (Mark 11:25)

Take some time today to ask God to show you the areas where you have sinned against Him and then ask Him to forgive you.

Also take time to verbally forgive the people who have sinned against you. Say out loud…

I forgive _____________ for __________________.

 



Day 11

WEEK 2:  THE MODEL PRAYER

Justpray_appOUR NEEDS

SCRIPTURE

  • Matthew 6:11-13 Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

 

OBSERVATION

GIVE US

When we submit ourselves to the Father’s care being passionate about His Name, His Kingdom and His Will, it gives us the privilege of asking confidently for our needs. A master cares for the food of his servant, a general of his soldiers, a father of his child. And will not the Father in heaven care for the child who has in prayer given himself up to His interests?

 

UNDERSTANDING

Give us our daily bread is a prayer for all the daily necessities of life.

Martin Luther suggested that the bread represents all that we need in the physical realm: food, drink, good health, good weather, a roof over our heads, good jobs, good government, and so on.

He included the following sentence in his book for Peter the barber.

Give us favorable weather and good harvest. I commend to thee my house and property, wife and child. Grant that I may manage them well, supporting and educating them as a Christian should.

Jesus isn’t suggesting that we don’t work, and just pray for food. We do both. The old maxim applies here: “Pray like it all depends on God; work like it all depends on you.” This prayer is a reminder of our humble dependence on God. We are to live a day at a time, trusting our Father to care for us.

And notice it’s not a “me-prayer” but a “we-prayer”—give us our daily bread. Most of us here have no shortage of daily bread; if anything, most of us have too much. So when we pray this, we must also pray for those who have too little or nothing at all.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

Lord, you know what we need. You know our daily necessities. Please provide for us. Lord, I have everything I need, and more; for this I humbly thank You. So I pray today for those in our church who don’t have what they need. I pray for those who need money, or basic necessities like food and shelter and heat—provide what they need. Provide jobs for the unemployed and better jobs for the underemployed.

I pray these same things for the needy in our community. Help us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless.

I pray that no child would go to bed hungry in our town.

I pray for all the single moms struggling to provide for their kids—bless them with everything they need.

Bless us so that we can bless others. Bless our businesses so that we can provide jobs for those who have none. You said that if we have two coats we should share with those who have none. Help us share our abundance with those in need right here in our own church or community.

And we pray this prayer for daily bread for the poor and needy around the world.

Father, let what breaks Your heart break ours. We have everything we need—don’t let that become an excuse to be selfish, but let it become a reason to share what we have and work for the welfare of others.



Day 10

Week 2:  A PATTERN FOR PRAYER

Just PrayTHE MODEL PRAYER – GOD’S CONCERNS

 

SCRIPTURE

  • Matthew 6:9  “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

OBSERVATION

Jesus teaches us that God has some concerns that He wants us to pay attention to first in prayer. Having recognized that we are talking to our loving and caring Father, the Father wants His children to pay attention to what concerns His heart.
 

UNDERSTANDING

HIS NAME

According to the prayer God wants His name hallowed. Another meaning of hallowed is holy or revered.

This request reflects a passion for God’s reputation, for God’s glory. May all the world see God as He really is and give Him the honor and respect He deserves.

What’s so big about a name?

It represents God. God is His name. So when we hallow His name we are literally giving honor, respect and reverence to God.

HIS KINGDOM, HIS WILL

God’s kingdom come and His will being done are two sides of the same coin. If the kingdom of God were to come here on earth as it is in heaven, then His reign and rule will be established and His will would be what is done. So when we pray Lord let your kingdom come what we are saying is may your will be accomplished as your kingdom rule is established here on earth.

 

Matthew 29:18-20 tells us how God’s will can be established on earth as it is in heaven. It requires our obedience to Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of all nations. Starting in our own homes we are to teach others what Jesus taught us about God and to obey His commands. As we develop other disciples who know God and follow His ways God’s kingdom is established on earth as it is in heaven. Do you see how important you are in this process?

 

LIFE APPLICATION

In my own words, today, I would say something like…

God you are perfect and I want to declare it throughout the world. You are worthy of every bit of praise that man could give you. You are a mighty God, full of power. You are without beginning and without end and your grace and compassion cannot be measured. You are awesome and majestic. I worship and adore you, I exalt your name here on earth in my words and my deeds.

Lord let your name be glorified and adored on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord let your heavenly kingdom be established here on earth (starting with us!)

Lord let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven and I surrender myself to you so that this can be accomplished.

Lord I pray for your kingdom and will to be accomplished in the life of DSC. I pray that the children of God at DSC will embrace your kingdom purpose to become a Great Commission Movement – declaring your good news in Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, California and to the ends of the earth.

I pray for your children at DSC to have a passion for you and to want to obey you with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I ask that they will be hungry for you and put you FIRST! Dethrone everything in our lives that seek to usurp your pre-eminence in our lives. Be first on the throne of our lives.

Lord I know that your will is to see people come to repentance and that is true of the city of Santa Clarita. I know that you are moving on the hearts of people in the SC Valley and drawing them to you and I ask that we your people will be willing to be the ones bold enough and obedient to go and reap the harvest that you have prepared. Let you salvation will be done in the lives of many as we your people partner with you in reaping the harvest.
 
 


Day 9

WEEK 2: A PATTERN FOR PRAYER

Just Pray

ADORATION

 

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 6:9 (NIV) 9“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

 

OBSERVATION

Jesus tells us that we are to call God Father. The implications here are mind blowing when we stop and think about it.

 

UNDERSTANDING

We were people who had not spiritual father. We were children of sin and darkness, in bondage to sin and on our way to death – eternal separation from God. We were hopeless because there was nothing we could do to change that situation, it was out of our control.

But God…man how I love those words! I was hopeless and in despair but God did something about it. I was lost and on my way to death BUT GOD did something about! God in His amazing love did what we could not do, made a way for us to change our destiny. To go from death to life. He did that through the work of His Son Jesus and now because of Jesus we can be adopted into the family of God.

Adopted. Grafted in to His family. No longer outsiders but we have become insiders – children of God.

We have been redeemed by God through Jesus – set free by the paying of a price. But we are now no longer slaves to sin but we have become sons and daughters of God. That means we have been adopted in the family, we get to enjoy the family of God. We get all the liberties that come with being a child of God and we have become heirs to His inheritance.

Because we are children we now have a loving and caring Father whom we can turn to anytime with any need and know that He is gracious and compassionate towards us, always listening to hear our cries.

 
LIFE APPLICATION

We have access to the most powerful Father in the universe and He encourages us to come to Him and ASK of Him. Pray and ask regarding His Kingdom and His Will, for our needs and for forgiveness and for Him to lead us and protect us.

What are we waiting for?



Day 8

WEEK 2:  A PATTERN FOR PRAYER
Just Pray
Day 8:  THE MODEL PRAYER
 
SCRIPTURE
Matthew 6:9-13
“‘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 today 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 the evil one.’
 
OBSERVATION AND UNDERSTANDING

This prayer is a pattern for prayer: it tells us what to pray.  It can be used as an outline for prayer.  Just remember it can easily become meaningless repetition if we are not careful.

Prayer begins with worship

: “our Father”.  Then it focuses on God’s concerns.
Notice that the first three requests all have to do with God: “

your name, your kingdom, your will

.”

Prayer isn’t primarily placing orders at the heavenly catalog counter; it is getting marching orders from our king.

It isn’t primarily telling God what we want, but finding out what He wants.  It is God first, not me first.  This kind of prayer seeks what God wants before we present what we want.

After we worship and put God first, then the next three requests have to do with
our needs:
physical (give us our daily bread),
spiritual (forgive our sins),
and 
moral (lead us not into temptation).

All of life, all of our needs are represented in these requests, and teach us that all of life can be brought to God and laid before Him for His help.  There is nothing too small for His love or too large for His power.

LIFE APPLICATION

 
Try praying this prayer one phrase at a time.
Take each phrase, think about it, write down how it applies to your life, and pray it to the Lord.  It will be one of the best prayer times you’ll ever have!


Day 7

WEEK 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
just pray 800x600
A PRIMER ON PRAYER (PART 2)
 
SCRIPTURE
  • And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
 
OBSERVATION

The hypocrites pray to be seen by men.  
The pagans pray to wrestle a favor from a reluctant God.

They imagine God to be reluctant and tight-fisted with His blessings; so they plan on overwhelming him with words, wearing him out with verbiage.  “If we just keep talking, He’ll give in eventually.”

 

UNDERSTANDING

Do you think that God is saying we should never repeat our prayer requests?

Luke 18:2-7

 

“Babbling like pagans” refers to prayers said that were simply words and did not come from the heart.  They were without thought.  They were not sincere and did not carry the desire to please God.

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

At first glance it might appear as if this thought made prayer unnecessary: God knows far better than we what we need. But as we get a deeper insight into what prayer really is, this truth will help much to strengthen our faith. It will teach us that we do not need, with the multitude and urgency of our words, to compel an unwilling God to listen to us.

My Father knows I need it and must have it. And if there is any delay in the answer, it will teach me in quiet determination to hold on and trust with quiet confidence.

The purpose of prayer is not to inform or persuade God, but to come before Him sincerely, purposely, consciously, and devotedly.  John Stott

Martin Luther said, “By our praying… we are instructing ourselves more than we are him.”
 

LIFE APPLICATION

Let’s do that today.  Find a quiet place and allow the life and love of the Father to fill us.  He knows what we need.  Just take the time to be with the Father.  Enjoy His love and His approval.

Take some time today to pray thoughtfully and not with the usual verbiage that you are accustomed using.



Day 6

Week 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

just pray 800x600

A PRIMER ON PRAYER

SCRIPTURE

Matthew 6:5-18  5  “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

 

OBSERVATION

In this discourse on prayer (vs 5-18)  Jesus gave four instructions on prayer.

  • We must pray in secret before we pray in public.
  • We must pray sincerely.
  • We must pray in God’s will.
  • We must pray having a forgiving spirit towards others.

In the scripture excerpt we read today we see the first of the instructions.

 

UNDERSTANDING

We must pray in secret before we pray in public.

Jesus is not saying that we should never pray in public.  It is not wrong to pray at our times of prayer at church, over our meals, in the presence of other believers.  I think that what Jesus is driving at is that before we pray publicly we must begin privately.  We must start in our “closet.”  Jesus modeled this for us by going off by himself to pray.

  • Mark 1:35 (NIV) 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

What would be some of the reasons why Jesus would say that we must start in private before going public with our prayers?

If all we do was pray in public then our motivation would have to be called into question.  Are we praying so that people can hear us and be impressed with us?

Our private pray gives power to our public prayers, so when we just pray in public our prayers will be lacking in power.

Jesus does not want us to be hypocrites by giving the impression of something we are not.

Jesus also wants us to pray in private first to remind us that God is our audience not the people in the room listening to our prayers.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

God I want a prayer life that is filled with power so I will start by finding a solitary place where I can commune with you in prayer so that when I am called upon to pray in public my prayer will carry the power of a man having been with God.  I want the order to be correct, because it is important to you.  Private prayer before public prayer.  And when I pray in public Lord let my heart be to glorify you and bring honor to Your name, nothing more, nothing less.



Day 5

WEEK 1:  THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER

just pray 800x600THE DEVIL IS REAL

SCRIPTURE

1 Peter 5:5-9 (NIV)
5  Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
6  Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
7  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

OBSERVATION

Peter warns us that the devil is real and always looking to destroy us. We cannot defeat him on our own we need God’s help and we must utilize the proper weapons of warfare to defeat him. Weapons such as the Word of God and prayer. We must practice with those weapons in order to wield them properly which means we must develop proper disciplines.

UNDERSTANDING

I remember the first time I went to the shooting range with a friend. He handed me the gun and explained what I needed to do and then he told me to point it at the target and squeeze the trigger. I fired off a few shots and they hit the target. I was so excited that I spun around with the gun and started yelling at my friend to about how I had hit the target. The moment I spun around everyone in the gun range dropped to the ground and started yelling at me. What I didn’t realize was that I had to put the gun down before turning around. Crazy putting that much power in the hands of a novice, yet that is exactly what God does. He gives us great power at our disposal to defeat and destroy the works of the devil but we must do the hard work of learning how to use those weapons well.

Peter says be self-controlled and alert. The word self-controlled or sober means we are to have self-control regarding intoxication but also carried the understanding of disciplining our mind and body so as to be able to wield our weapons well. In other words we must be disciplined to practice with our weapons.

Even as we are practicing and growing comfortable with our weapons we must be always watchful for the sneaky attack of the enemy. It is very rarely a full frontal assault but he tries to sneak in to our lives and worm his way in. We must be watchful, using God’s truth to discern his lies.

Resist him! How? When we see his lies we must have the courage to do something about it – to make the changes necessary so that he does not gain a foothold.

 

LIFE APPLICATION

God has given us His Word and prayer as weapon to destroy the work of the devil. (Ephesians 6) We must take time to practice praying and we must learn how to properly read and glean the truths of God’s word. The discipline of practicing with these weapons will serve us well when the enemy attacks. Paul in Ephesians 6:18-19 tells us to pray. Pray! Pray on all occasions. And when we have read the word of God we are able to pray according to will and truth of God.

  • Ephesians 6:18 (MSG) 18  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Let us be sober and self-controlled regarding prayer and God’s Word so that we can resist the devil. Satan has no control over the man or woman of God who has practiced wielding prayer and God’s Word.