The 40 Prayer Journal Entries is an eight-week series designed to exam certain words which describe emotions and actions that keep us from having a close relationship with God. Each week we will examine five new words with accompanying Bible verses. These five words and Bible verses will be prompts for you to write about your own feelings, responses, and prayers surrounding these words and verses.
Last week when I announced this eight-week series, I requested that participants read the book of Matthew. I am using the Bible translation, “God’s Word, Today’s Bible Translation that says what it means. Please feel free to read whatever Bible translation you desire for this prayer journal series. The reason I have chosen this particular translation is because it is easier to understand for readers who are relatively new to reading the Bible. When reading the Bible verses, I hope you will read these verses in the context of the whole book and chapter in which they appear. In addition, I hope you will seek out other verses throughout the Bible that speak of the word provided.
When writing your answers to the journal prompt questions or to your own questions when you read these words and Bible verses, remember you inviting God into your life during this time to help and guide you. As you begin to draw close to Him, He is there where you are…
Here are this week’s words and Bible verses for five journal entries.
As sinners, we have all experienced anger. Either our own anger or the recipient of someone else’s anger. This past week the United States held elections for a new president. Social media has been ablaze with many emotions. Many are angry over the election results. Over the course of your lifetime, reflect on the emotion of anger.
Are you angry? Have you been the brunt of someone’s anger? How has anger affected your life? These are just a few questions that come to mind as you reflect on the word, anger, and the following Bible verses.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 7:1-9
“A good name is better than expensive perfume, and the day you die is better than the day you’re born. 2 It is better to go to a funeral than to a banquet because that is where everyone will end up. Everyone who is alive should take this to heart! 3 Sorrow is better than laughter because, in spite of a sad face, the heart can be joyful. 4 The minds of wise people think about funerals, but the minds of fools think about banquets. 5 It is better to listen to wise people who reprimand you than to fools who sing your praises. 6 The laughter of a fool is like the crackling of thorns burning under a pot. Even this is pointless. 7 Oppression can turn a wise person into a fool, and a bribe can corrupt the mind. 8 The end of something is better than its beginning. It is better to be patient than arrogant. 9 Don’t be quick to get angry, because anger is typical of fools. 10 Don’t ask, “Why were things better in the old days than they are now?” It isn’t wisdom that leads you to ask this!”
1 A gentle answer turns away rage,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongues of wise people give good expression of knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out a flood of stupidity.
3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere.
They watch evil people and good people.
What did Jesus say about anger in the book of Matthew?
In Matthew Chapter 4 beginning in verse 22:24 –
22 But I can guarantee that whoever is angry with another believer[a] will answer for it in court. Whoever calls another believer an insulting name will answer for it in the highest court. Whoever calls another believer a fool will answer for it in hellfire.
How does God tell us to handle anger?
In Romans Chapter 19 beginning in verse 19:21 –
19 Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.”20 But,
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him a drink.
If you do this, you will make him feel guilty and ashamed.”
21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good.
Here we look at the opposite of anger. Everyone seeks peace in their lives but some people find it difficult to attain it. Why is that? Are you one of those people? What keeps you from enjoying peace in your life? Perhaps the following Bible verses may help you as you reflect on the joy of peace you feel, how you were able to attain peace in your life, or why peace continues to elude you.
Psalms are considered the hymn book of the Bible. There are several verses that speak of peace.
Here is one to consider, Psalm 37:37
37 Notice the innocent person,
and look at the decent person,
because the peacemaker has a future.
In the New Testament, John 14:27, Jesus promises believers peace:
27 “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.
Paul’s Advice in Philippians
4 Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! 5 Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. 6 Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. 7 Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.
I don’t know anyone that deep down feels good about lying to someone, but often, at one time or another each of us has been lied to, as well as, told a lie or two. When have you told a lie? Who did you lie to or, who has lied to you? How did those lie(s) make you feel? How did it make you or them feel?
18 “Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow,
so is a person who gives false testimony against his neighbor.”
In the Old Testament, the Lord declares in Zechariah 8:17:
“Don’t even think of doing evil to each other. Don’t enjoy false testimony. I hate all these things, declares the LORD.”
Revelations 21:8 goes right to the heart of a liar:
8 But cowardly, unfaithful, and detestable people, murderers, sexual sinners, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Sometimes it is difficult to speak the truth when we believe it may lead to hurt feelings. Honesty can make us unpopular, but it can also relieve a burden for someone else too. Is there a situation now that is causing you to withhold your feelings? Are you finding it difficult, to be honest with yourself on a subject? If you were honest with yourself or with someone else, what do you think would happen?
The prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament says this about honesty in Chapter 33:15-16:
15 The person who does what is right and speaks the truth will live.
He rejects getting rich by extortion and refuses to take bribes.
He refuses to listen to those who are plotting murders.
He doesn’t look for evil things to do.
16 This person will live on high.
His stronghold will be a fortress made of rock.
He will have plenty of food
and a dependable supply of water.
“Better a few possessions gained honestly than many gained through injustice.”
11 “Never steal, lie, or deceive your neighbor.”
Enemies are both real and imagined. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. How do you define the word, enemy? Who are you at war with today? In the past?
“Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
and the tent of the wicked will cease to exist.”
“No weapon that has been made to be used against you will succeed.
You will have an answer for anyone who accuses you.
This is the inheritance of the LORD’s servants.
Their victory comes from me,” declares the LORD.”
“The LORD helps them and rescues them.
He rescues them from wicked people.
He saves them because they have taken refuge in him.”
“The LORD your God is going with you. He will fight for you against your enemies and give you victory.”
Love Your Enemies
My plan was to have posted the beginning of this 8-week series last Sunday before the elections. In my prayer journal, I wrote…. “God, I feel bad that I didn’t post when I promised. But now, I believe Your hand was in the delay. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to connect others to You. In Christ’s name, Amen”
So I will end this post with Matthew 5: 38-48
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to oppose an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn your other cheek to him as well. 40 If someone wants to sue you in order to take your shirt, let him have your coat too. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles with him.42 Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don’t turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. 45 In this way, you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets the rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.46 If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that! 47 Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that! 48 That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Continue to read and re-read the book of Matthew throughout the 8-week series to understand the heart of Jesus Christ. Biblegateway.com or Bible.com are both excellent online resources. On their home page, search any word for Bible verses containing the word.
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