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 8

Just Pray
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.’

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),
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.


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

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  • 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.

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.”



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.”


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


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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.”



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.



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.



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


just pray 800x600THE DEVIL IS REAL


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.


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.


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.



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.

Day 4


just pray 800x600PRAYER’S POWER


  • James 4:1-3 (NIV) 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2  You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James gives us two thoughts about prayer in a larger discourse about friendship with the world. He tells us that many of us don’t ask God for what we want, and many times when we do ask we don’t always get it because our motives are wrong.


The central theme of the larger passage is that friendship with the world means hostility towards God. We can’t love both God and the world. The world’s mentality is always a selfish one. We want stuff for ourselves and for our personal pleasure. That motive stands in direct defiance of a life surrendered to God. If we are truly God-followers then we are to submit ourselves to His will and purposes – our prayers should always have the perspective of praying for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

And when we live with a selfish mentality we tend to get angry when we don’t get what we want. We fight, get angry, give up on God because “He didn’t answer my request.”

The other thought here is that some people won’t even ask God because they don’t believe that He cares or that He will answer – which speaks to believing the world’s thinking over believing God’s word. We cannot love the world and love God at the same time.


God there are times my selfishness gets in the way of things. I pray for things with a completely selfish motive and then get angry at you if you don’t give it to me. Many times I am praying for the wrong things; a stone when you want to give me bread, a snake when you want to give me a fish. Forgive me for not trusting you when you say that when we ask you will answer. You may tell me no, you may tell me wait a while, you may tell me grow or you may say yes, and all of those are answers to my prayer. Give me the wisdom and courage to grow from the answers that you give me. Forgive me for allowing the thinking of the world to crowd out your thoughts, forgive me for being selfish and self-centered.

Lord I will continue to ask because you tell us to but I will place every request before you and I will trust you that the answer you give is the correct one. I trust you God.

Day 3


Just Pray



  • Acts 6:1-4 (NIV) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4  and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”


The apostles knew their priority was praying, preaching, teaching, and studying the Word. They would let nothing, no matter how urgent, distract them from those duties.

For them the it was not that serving in ministry was not important, it was the fact that serving in ministry had to be preceded by prayer.  Prayer preceded and pervaded everything they did.

We see the same with the apostle Paul, who was also devoted to prayer.

  • He wrote to the Romans that “God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you always in my prayers” (Rom. 1:9-10).
  • He told the Ephesians “I do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers (Eph. 1:16).
  • To the Philippians he wrote, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all” (Phil. 1:3-4).
  • Paul also prayed constantly for the Colossian church: “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9).

Paul’s ministry was built on his devotion to prayer.  We all know what kind of results he had.


The apostles’ pledge to devote themselves to their ministry set the pattern for all to follow. Too many Christians today have left the emphasis on prayer and the Word of God. We get so busy with the details of ministering and doing leaving us little time for prayer and the study of God’s Word.  Nothing substitutes for God’s power in ministry and the only way we can really have that kind of power and anointing is by prioritizing prayer and the study of the Word of God.


Father I am convicted that I have been placing the details of serving you above my relationship with You.  I get so busy with doing that I forget that the power and anointing for ministry and life flows out of communion with you in prayer and the study of your Word.  Forgive me for messing up the order.


Join us this evening from 7-8pm for a time of worship and prayer in the church Auditorium.


Day 2




  • Mark 1:35 (NIV)   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.
  • Luke 6:12 (NIV)  One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.


In the middle of a narrative on the choosing of disciples, healing people and driving out evil spirits Mark places a very interesting verse…Jesus stepped aside to pray!

Why would the God of the universe need to pray? 

My personal thought is that he was teaching the disciples about the importance of prayer.

Do you realize that everything God does in the work of ministry He does through prayer…

  • Prayer is the way you defeat the devil Luke 22:32, James 4:7
  • Prayer is the way lost people are saved. Luke 18:13
  • Prayer is the way we acquire wisdom James 1:5
  • Prayer is the way people are restored to God James 5:16-20
  • Prayer is how the sick are healed. James 5:13-15
  • Prayer is how we accomplish the impossible. Mark 11:23-24

Jesus wanted us to see that prayer was necessary for refreshing and reconnecting with the Father so that we could know His heart and live in His will.

Prayer was necessary for power to accomplish God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus prayed regularly. On this occasion he went up the mountain to pray and spent the whole night praying. Mark tells us that when the disciples got up in the early morning, Jesus had already gone out to pray. Luke tells us that he could often be found in lonely places praying.

Prayer was as fundamental an element in the life of Jesus as breathing. He inhaled his Father’s presence so he could exhale his Father’s will.

Jesus was in constant contact with his Father, whom he spoke of in a very personal, intimate, and familiar way.

The source of Jesus’ fruitfulness was in his reaching Up to God in prayer with the Father.

The words “pray” and “prayer” are used at least twenty-five times in connection with Jesus in the brief record of His life in the four Gospels, and His praying is mentioned in places where the words are not used. Evidently prayer took much of the time and strength of Jesus.


We are called Christ-followers, so what do you think should be our actions regarding this area of prayer?

Jesus did what he saw the Father doing and introduced his disciples to this very personal relationship with God, calling us into the same kind of intimacy with the Father that he himself has always known.

We are to live out the reality of that relationship always.

As his disciples, we are to model our lives after our Master.

“A man or woman who does not spend much time in prayer, cannot properly be called a follower of Jesus Christ.”

Take a moment today to set aside specific time for prayer and times with God.  Make it a consistent time each day that will be developed into a habit.

Write down the days of the week and when you will be spending time in prayer and then set aside time to do the same at the beginning of each week.

Day 1




The history of the church has always been a history of huge difficulties to overcome. The devil hates the church and seeks in every way to block its progress; by false doctrine, by division, by inward corruption of life. But by prayer, a clear way can be made through everything.

Prayer will…

  • root out heresy,
  • relieve misunderstanding,
  • sweep away jealousies and animosities,
  • obliterate immoralities,
  • and bring in the full tide of God’s reviving grace.

History proves this time and again. In the hour of darkest threats, when the case of the church, local or universal, has seemed beyond hope, believing men and believing women have met together and cried to God and the answer has come.

Today the church seems to be faltering, it may seem like is is now a dark day,


God is getting ready to work, and now He is listening for the voice of prayer.

  • Will He hear it?
  • Will He hear it from you?
  • Will He hear it from the church as a body?
  • I believe He will.
  • Psalm 119:126 (TLB)  Lord, it is time for you to act. For these evil men have violated your laws,


Take a moment and write out your plan for the next 28 days.

Why are you fasting?

What area(s) would you like to see God bring change, growth or breakthrough? What do you want to see God do in you personally? In our church family? In your neighborhood?

What will you fast?

Who will you encourage to fast with you?

When will you set aside for prayer?
For the complete Prayer and Fasting Manual click

Lord as we begin our 28 days of seeking you by fasting and praying we take time today to commit ourselves to the process.  We believe that prayer is powerful and brings about your will and your blessings on earth as it is in heaven.  As we spend time in prayer I ask that you will begin to reveal the areas of sin in our lives that keep us from living in your fullness  Show us where there is sin and disobedience that prevents us from experiencing your blessings fully.  God even as we begin will you show us broken relationships that need to be resolved, (Matt. 5:23-24), will you cleanse us of sin and unrighteousness and will you allow your will to be accomplished in us, on earth as it is in heaven.

God we are desperate for a manifestation of your presence in our lives here at Desert Streams. We ask that your presence be so obvious in us that it will draw men and women into relationship with you.  We pray for a harvest of souls this year at Desert Streams.  We pray that there will be a turning back to you in such a way that you become the priority and passion of people.

We invite you to work powerfully in us transforming us God as we spend the next 28 days seeking you.  Give the body at DSC strength, determination and courage to fast and seek you.  We pray that all the arguments and rationalizations that people give for not fasting will be torn down and instead there will be a turning of hearts towards you.

Thank you God for the amazing things that are about to happen as a result of your people seeking you through fasting and prayer.

Isaiah 50

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Isaiah 50:4

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.

Observation – What does it say?

This prophetic word contrasts the disobedience of Israel with the obedience of the coming Messiah. The Messiah to come, unlike Israel, will know the word of God. And, he will know it because God wakens him every morning to be instructed in his word.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

This is God’s goal for every Christian: to be conformed into the likeness of Jesus. If we are going to be like Jesus, we need to be instructed in the word. Not just on Sunday mornings, but

morning by morning.

We need to know this word that sustains the weary.

Psalm 1 says that the man who delights himself in God’s law, meditating on it day and night will prosper in all he does. If we are going to prosper in God’s eyes, if we are going to prosper in any area of our lives, we must devote ourselves to the reading, studying and memorizing of God’s word.

Life Application

This coming year, I will follow Jesus’ example by devoting myself to two things:

  1. Memorize more scripture, starting with 1 verse today.
  2. Start every morning in God’s word.
God, thank you for your word! Please give us hearts that are devoted to knowing it. As we dig into your word may it lead us into encounter with you and lead to transformation. May it not just be about information, but transformation. Write your word on the tablet of our hearts and bless us with minds capable of memorizing great amounts of scripture. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.

Isaiah 49

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Isaiah 49:14-15

14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!

Observation – What does it say?

Because of times of distress and affliction, God’s covenant people Israel cried out that God had forgotten and abandoned them. But God responds essentially by saying, “That’s preposterous!” He likens himself to a mother and Israel her baby. A mother could never forget her baby or lose compassion for it. But even if she did God would never forget or forsake his covenant children.

Understanding – What does it mean?

This text answers some common but difficult questions: “When I go through difficulty, does it mean that God has withdrawn from me?” “When I am afflicted, does it mean that God no longer has compassion on me?” “Does hardship mean God is disapproving of me or that he doesn’t love me anymore?”

The answer to all those questions is an emphatic “No!” The truth is, if we have become God’s child through putting our faith in Christ, he is always with us whether we ‘feel’ him or not. God’s compassion toward us doesn’t waver and his love for us is deeper than the oceans and as constant as his own existence.

Though we may feel at times that God has disappeared or forgotten about us, he hasn’t!!

When I read this text, I immediately thought of my wife and our 5 month old baby girl. If there is anyone she has her eye on, that she is continually thinking about, that she is passionate about caring for, it’s our baby girl. Regardless of how many dirty diapers she creates, how many times she wakes up crying in the night, how hard she is to console when she’s cranky, my wife’s heart is filled with undying love for her baby! This is how God is toward us.

God said in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Life Application

Trust that God is close to me and that he still loves me, regardless of my circumstances or how I feel.

Lord, thank you for the promises in your word! Thank you that regardless of what we experience we can rest in the knowledge that your love for us is unchanging. Thank you that even when we don’t ‘feel’ your presence in a tangible way we can rest in the knowledge that you are still with us in that moment. Thank you that you will never leave us or forsake us. Amen.
To check out the discussion or to join in click here.