Sin. One little word that has the capacity to do an extreme amount of damage to one’s self and others with irrevocable consequences cannot be ignored.
No one likes to talk about sin, but we at least need to be able to talk about it in prayer.
When I am “organizing my prayer closet”, which is what I like to call my time of making entries in my structured prayer journal, I take a moment to reflect on my failings by asking myself these questions:
- “Can I recall any moment today where I clearly know that I sinned?
- Did I feel convicted by the Holy Spirit over any of my actions today?
- Do I have any bad habits that need correction?
- What things did I fail to do?
- Has the Holy Spirit revealed any stubborn sins in my life?”
(excerpt from Organizing Your Prayer Closet)
When I answer Yes to any of these questions, I note it in my prayer journal (confess), and pray for God’s help to not repeat it (repent).
I’ve got all of this grace and mercy that comes along with the gift of salvation, and I just can’t take it for granted. I want to be aware of where my flesh is struggling and submit it to God for His help.
Why I think this is important:
“But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7
When I first read Paul’s assessment of the Corinthian church, I thought him a little too demanding. I mean, really, this church is doing far better than most, and he wants to get onto them about their giving???
Truth is, God wants us to do well in every area of our life. Obviously, we cannot do it in our own strength so He empowered us with His Holy Spirit, which yielded us the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit describes what a Spirit-controlled life looks like. The problem is that we are not always quick or consistent when it comes to employing them. We erroneously believe that we must pray for more patience for instance, but truth is, we always have the perfect amount of patience, as God’s Spirit that indwells us is perfect.
Utilizing the fruit of the Spirit is how we overcome sin and self. Take a moment and reflect on my above self-assessment questions against the fruit of the Spirit and see what shortcomings God reveals in you. I almost make this exercise sound exciting, don’t I? Well, it is, because I can tell you that after years of prayer journaling, using this compartment, I have experienced the most spiritual growth there than from any of the others.
Tomorrow, I am going to talk about prayer journaling our prayer petitions!
I am participating in The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. You can go here to keep up with my 31 day feature on structured prayer journaling.
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.