DAY FIVE – Prayer to Ignite Deliverance, Discipline, Dedication, and Drive Father God, help me to seek You for deliverance. Don’t let pride keep me from getting free from everything that holds me back from the life You called and created me to live. Let me develop the discipline to maintain that deliverance, and give me dedication and drive to become ferocious in prayer and in life. Lord, remove all pride, anger, bitterness, depression, and anything else that keeps me stagnant. Reveal methods and strategies that will help me grow stronger and more ferocious in my faith. I will trust in You, Lord, and as I delight myself in You. You will give me the desires of my heart. I submit my way to You, and You bring forth my righteousness. Lord, help me to hope in You when I face fierce battles in life and things don’t seem to be going well. Help me remember that You cause all things to work together for my good. Show me who You have called me to be in this season. Let me see myself the way You see me. Give me supernatural favor and joy. Deliver me from yokes and bondage that have weighed me down. Give me a passion to follow You. It is so, and so it is. Amen.
A Special Friend
Today’s Bible Reading: 2 Kings 2:1–12
In 1919 a young man, recovering from injuries suffered in World War I, rented a small apartment in Chicago. He chose the location to be near the home of a man named Sherwood Anderson. An author, Anderson had written the popular novel Winesburg, Ohio, and he was known to be willing to share his wisdom with young writers.
The two men spent time together nearly every day. They shared meals, took long walks and discussed writing late into the night. The young man wrote passages and asked Anderson to critique them, which the novelist did with brutal honesty. The young man didn’t defend himself or his writing because, as he said later, “I didn’t know how to write until I learned from Sherwood.”
Within two years, the young man set off to write on his own. In 1926 he published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises, which was met with critical acclaim. His name was Ernest Hemingway—one of the greatest American writers of his generation.
But the story doesn’t end there. Sherwood Anderson also mentored William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, William Saroyan and John Steinbeck. Three of Anderson’s protégés earned Nobel Prizes; four won Pulitzer Prizes.
Why did Sherwood Anderson help aspiring new writers? Perhaps because he himself had been mentored by the famed authors Theodore Dreiser and Carl Sandburg.
Elijah served as Elisha’s mentor long before that word was coined. Elijah believed in Elisha and wanted him to succeed as a prophet. Elijah willingly offered himself to Elisha to assure the younger prophet’s success. God brought Elijah into Elisha’s life in order to prepare, train and befriend him for fulfilling the role of prophet to the nation of Israel.
Do you have a spiritual mentor? Mentoring goes well beyond information and activity. It builds on the maturity and integrity of the individuals in the mentoring relationship. Mentoring brings in a level of accountability that fosters growth and helps the beneficiary of the tutoring to stay on the right path. Perhaps you might consider offering your wisdom to another person who is new to the faith or faltering in his walk with God. Either way, take a moment to consider how mentoring could play a role in your own spiritual development.
To Take Away
- Who are the mentors in your life—those people who believe in you and want to see you succeed?
- In what areas of your spiritual life do you need honest appraisal?
- To whom will you offer yourself as a trusted confidant and friend?
In Other Words
“Great leaders produce other leaders.” —John C. Maxwell
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Breaking out of comfortable routines can be beneficial for us, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. My (jcd’s) father, for example, hated automatic transmissions on automobiles because he had learned to drive with stick shifts. I’ve fallen into similar patterns. Until 1992 I wrote books on yellow pads with pencils. I worked that way for years despite the availability of word processors. The twentieth century was almost over before I decided to join it.
Rigidity and the force of habit can cause us to do things that make no sense. Yet when we stop learning and growing, we fail to reach our potential. To look at it another way, which companies would you say are more successful in today’s fast‐changing marketplace: those whose motto is “We’ve always done it this way,” or those that continually evaluate their methods and seek improvements?
Some of what succeeds in business also makes sense in marriage. You might ask yourself if any outdated routines and pointless—or even costly—habits are holding you back.
Just between us…
- Am I stuck in any habits that no longer make sense?
- How are those who are unwilling to change like the Pharisees of
Scripture? (See Luke 11:37–44.)
- Do you enjoy learning?
- How can I encourage you to get out of old ruts or discard outdated habits?
Lord, we can become so comfortable in our old ways, but comfort can lead to stagnation and retreat. Inspire us by Your Spirit “of power, of love and of self-discipline” to reach for Your creative best. Thank You for the gift of new life we can enjoy together every day. Amen.
- From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson