We are now beginning the very difficult and practical part of this series.
So far, we have seen that:
1. We are all leaders and are called to some level of leadership in life. This is a reference to the life of Steven, a waiter for the church. He had his moment to shine for Jesus and he did. We too are put in situations where life requires wisdom.
2. We have seen that wisdom is grown. It doesn't come through some magical moment but through seeking and knocking.
3. We have seen the method of a leader of the past, Jonathan Edwards. His pattern was to seek his heart and to exercise a rigorous self-observation. Edwards documented his failings and set particular goals for himself. He paid great attention to the affections of his heart. His self0-examination and life of worship (contemplation of God/theology) was his and our forefathers method of sanctification.
Now, we come to the practical necessity for us to journal and pray with consistency.
So how do we start?
First, we must make prayer our intention. We must make a commitment. I say that all the leaders of the bible, Daniel, David, Paul, Jesus ..., had consistent lives of prayer. They had a secret history with God. So too we must make time and make a way for this practice. You cannot be a Christians and not Practice Christianity.
I suggest a minimum commitment of 30 minutes and i think a pastor should make a commitment of two 1 hour prayer times per day. For pastors, this is not sermon prep time. This is not bible study time. This is prayer through the issues of your life and the issues of our heart.
Second, make goals or a list. An example might be:
1. Worship: "Lord I want a heart of worship...I want to know and learn to contemplate and be filled with affection for You. Lord, I am immature in the contemplation of You. rarely in private am I moved to emotion and affection when considering You in and of Yourself. Yet, You are worthy of all my affections."
A great method of worship is to contemplate the Lord's Supper in private. You may even use the elements if you like. Contemplate Grace and forgiveness. Love God's grace and forgiveness until we too are people of love and forgiveness.
2. The tongue and speech. I think this is a great topic for all of us. 'Lord, let my words be always seasoned with Grace. Let no unwholesome word come out of my mouth. Lord, I like others often speak ill of others. Let me be a cut above in this regard. Lord, with my children give me consistency but grace.
In listing issues of the tongue make sub-categories. Words at work. Wisdom of my words. Words to my children. Words of encouragement to my wife. Quite.
3. Sexual purity. Need I say more..
4. Evangelism. For me this is a category as a pastor. I used to be very bold and evangelistic but I am not moving in this lifestyle as of late. Bathe this life-change and need in prayer.
Spend a great deal of time working this list and improving it. Some key scriptures: The Sermon on the Mount, The List of Virtues of a Leader in 1 Tim., For women Proverbs 31. ...
The future posts will go into great detail in how to develop a list. I also suggest reviewing your list with the scripture references weekly. Redo the outline etc. Look at your prayer list like the outline of an essay. It takes work. It should be totally memorized. It is your personal catechism.