Day 20: Promises of Prayer – Purpose and Direction

1 To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. 2 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. 3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. 4 The Lord works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster. 5 The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. 6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided. 7 When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. 8 Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. 9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. 10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice. 11 Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making. 12 Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. 13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right. 14 A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it. 15 When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring. 16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! 17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives. 18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. 20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. 21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. 22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools. 23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 25 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. 26 The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on. 27 A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire. 28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. 29 A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good. 30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity; whoever purses their lips is bent on evil. 31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. 32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. 33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

Proverbs 16

Listen

What is God saying to you through the scriptures today?

Reflect

Have you ever caught yourself asking God to bless your latest project, idea, or plan, only to realize you hadn’t ever prayed for discernment or direction from God before you started down that path? Within each of us is an innate desire to be successful in life. We want to live with purpose and look back and know that we made a difference in the world. And as a Christ-follower, we desire to align our lives to a God-given purpose. Yet we also wrestle with a disconnect between what success in God’s Kingdom looks like compared to the world’s definition of success.

As we read through these wise principles of Proverbs 16, God’s promise of successful plans and direction for our lives are built on the values of honesty, humility, patience, fairness, and kindness, to name a few. These values don’t often align with our culture that accepts and celebrates progress by any means necessary, dishonesty as long as you don’t get caught, and prioritizing yourself over others. In order to align your life with God’s plans will require being counter-cultural, but that is where lasting success and purpose are truly found.

Pray

Before creating your task/to-do list today, spend time first in prayer. Ask God for direction and discernment over your plans; asking that your priorities would align with his priorities and values.

Do

Select one of the principles found within Proverbs 16, and commit to putting it into practice today. For example, you might select Proverbs 16:24 (Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.) and commit to intentionally speaking kind words to each of your family members today.

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