Pastor Joynt's Devotionals

How Should I Pray, Week 3, Day 4

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MATTHEW 10:16 | JOHN 21:1-7

“Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

There came a key moment for Jesus to call and direct Peter, you will remember, at the seashore. Read the story in John 21 to see how direct and strategic Jesus was in this moment, undoing Peter’s threefold denial with a breakfast barbecue and a threefold call. Again it is the power of a request—“feed my sheep!” In Matthew 10:16, Jesus wants us to be snake-like and dove-like. How is a snake wise? A snake waits and strikes at the right moment; its wisdom is in its patience and timing. How is a dove innocent? A dove cannot deceive or practice intrigue. It cannot dissemble or manipulate. Like a small child, it is direct and straightforward. We are to seek to help our friends, relatives, and associates to connect with Christ and to grow in him. What will matter is how we do this—particularly our timing and simple honesty. This will determine our influence and the effectiveness of our requests for others to think or act in new ways.

Prayer

Great God, Give us dove directness and snake wisdom! Grant us patience, in our requests and interactions, borne out of respect for other’s freedom. Let our timing and our attitudes reflect yours so that we can bless others in their journeys toward life. Amen.

 

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How Should I Pray, Week 3, Day 3

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LUKE 22:32

“I have requested, concerning you, that your faith might not die. And when you’ve recovered, you may strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus was fully aware that Peter would deny him—he famously assured him that it would happen before the cock crowed. But our Lord did not condemn Peter or manipulate him or fix his weak loyalty. Jesus said, with some sadness, but also with complete trust in his Father, “I have requested concerning you…your faith might survive and when you’ve turned around that you may help your brothers.” Jesus begged for Peter to pass the coming trial but allowed him to freely succeed or fail. He failed, before his God, his Lord, his community and all those who know the story. But Jesus offered him no wise words or subtle condemnations to avoid this. He trusted God to restore and use Peter. It is confident trust in God that allows us to treat others with genuine respect.

Prayer

Gracious God, How hard it can be to commit others into your hands. We are so tempted to force them or push them in right paths. Help us to value their freedom as you do ours, and to gain with them the influence we need to keep them. Increase our trust and so our capacity to make real requests with faith and hope. Amen.

 

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