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Pray Until 5 Things Are Manifest
by Tom Goodman
April 29, 2010

As a Hillcrest leader, how often do you pray for the formation of spiritual maturity in the Hillcrest Family?

In a recent blog post, Tim Keller presented what he called "a mini-guide to life."  He said that five themes of the entire book of Proverbs can be found in verses 3-12 of Proverbs 3.  It's a helpful outline, but it was how he concluded the post that really made me stop and think:

For a number of weeks I have been spending time praying for these five things for my family and my church leaders.  There's no better way to instill these great things in your own heart, than to pray intensely for them in the lives of those you love.

Until that last paragraph, I simply found his post good for my own personal development and maybe even to generate some ideas for a later Bible study on the book of Proverbs.  But that last thought returned me to prayer for everyone in my family and my church.

You and I should pray to the end that these five things will appear fully formed in daily life of those we love, in our families and in our church:

First, pray that they would put their heart's deepest trust in God and his grace.  We should pray until those we love are living from within the context of God's unconditional love.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart.
      -- Proverbs 3:3-5a

Second, pray that they would submit their whole mind to Scripture.  Pray until those we love are bringing Scripture to bear on every area of life.

Lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
      -- Proverbs 3:5b-6

Third, pray that they would be humble and teachable toward others.  Pray until those we love are forgiving and understanding rather than critical.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
       -- Proverbs 3:7-8

Fourth, pray that they would be generous with their possessions, and passionate about justice.  Pray until those we love share their time, talent, and treasure with those who have less.

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
      -- Proverbs 3:9-10

Fifth, pray that they would accept and learn from difficulties and suffering.  Pray until those we love recognize hardship as a refining process and not punishment.

My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
      -- Proverbs 3:11-12

This is our prayer:  To see a people "rooted in God's grace, obeying and delighting in his Word, humble before other people, sacrificially generous toward our neighbor, and steadfast in trials."


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