The Holy Spirit wants you, commands you to center your thoughts and actions on putting God first in your life. Specifically, how does he want you to implement his calling to put God first? He instructed Solomon to urge you to guard your heart because it is the source of your life. Then he directs Paul to tell you to be in constant prayer and that everything you do should bring honor to God.
Few would argue that you should put God first, but how do you practically make that happen? Here is a prayer that if you have the courage to pray it faithfully will make a huge difference in your relationship with God.
Dear God, please make what I am about to do something that will draw my heart closer to you and bring honor to your name. In Christ’s name, Amen.
That’s it, two sentences!
If these two sentences are faithfully and frequently prayed when you have decisions to make your life will be oriented to be one of praise and honor to God. Here is an example of how this prayer can help to change your walk with God and keep you from sin:
You are debating about whether you should engage in something you know is not good for you. You feel you are trapped by this activity, this sin. After you engage in this particular indulgence you feel awful and ask God to help you change. But, sadly you return again and again to be caught in its trap. One way that can help you avoid the trap is to ask yourself if could pray and ask God’s blessing on what you are about to do. If you can’t pray and ask God to help you do something, that is a strong indication that this is something you should avoid like the plague! In other words, don’t wait till after you mess up to pray. So before you engage in what you know is not good ask God to help you do what is good!
Solomon’s words in Proverbs 4:23 call out to you to guard your heart. The Holy Spirit knows that opportunities for you trust yourself rather than God are always everywhere. So, he says to guard your heart, your life depends on it. Watch what you say, be careful where your feet travel, where your eyes wander and beware of the words you hear and protect your heart.
Paul makes the same point when he directs you to do everything you do for the glory and honor of God with gratitude in your heart. Everything! (I Corinthians 10:31 & Colossians 3:16-17)
Your child is not responding quickly or not at all to your directions. You can feel the anger building within you. You can attempt to fight the frustration. knowing that the anger will soon boil over into something you will regret. The idea of praying to God to help you lose it to honor him is not a prayer you would pray.
But you can pray!
Dear God, help me to use pleasant, firm words to call my children to you and to be faithful to allow them to do what they want. In Jesus name, Amen.
You can pray that prayer and then immediately begin to call your kids to obedience with a loving, pleasant spirit. Or you can blow up and ask God to forgive you afterward. Which way is more attractive to you?
Ask God for the courage to pray a two sentence prayer that will call your heart to worship and give a focus to your life that honors the words of God’s Spirit.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.