A Fifth Prayer

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us– yes, establish the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17, NIV)


Yesterday, I preached about four prayers that have changed my life:

  1. “Help my unbelief” (from Mark 9:24).
  2. “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (from 1 Samuel 3:10).
  3. “Give me wisdom” (from James 1:5).
  4. “Not my will, but Yours be done” (from Luke 22:42).

There is a fifth prayer I wanted to share, but I only recently found it. In other words, it hasn’t changed my life, yet, because I only just started praying it! However, I have a feeling about this prayer–that it will be as life-changing as the other four. So, I wanted to share it with you and invite you to pray it with me.

It comes from Psalm 90:17. “Establish the work of our hands.” It seems to me, as I reflect and pray through this Psalm, that this prayer acknowledges an important truth. I can’t say it any better than Jesus did, so I’ll just quote Him:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)

No matter how much we work, no matter how much we make, without God, it all amounts to nothing. As Psalm 90:10 points out, we have 70 or 80 years to make the most of what God has called us to do. What are we doing with those years? One of my friends, Gary Wheeler, says that each day we get 24 hours. And then he asks, “How are you spending your 24?” We can only spend them once!

I know my life is like a mist that vanishes with the sun, and my time on this side of eternity will one day come to an end. But I also know that I want the work of my hands to endure far longer. I want to look back over my life as I near the end and know that I did something that made a difference. So, the best thing I can do is turn to God and ask Him to establish the work of my hands. Without Jesus, my life will have no fruit. But if I abide in Him, and ask God to establish the work of my hands for the glory of Christ and the common good, I know that He will answer that prayer (probably in many ways I don’t expect).

I also recently discovered the song below that was written from Psalm 90:17. My prayer is that it will bless you this week, as it has blessed me, and that God will establish the work of your hands!


Is This Uncomfortable?

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)


Note: This post comes from Kim Devore, the LVStudents Director at LakeView Church.

This past year my family and I left home, friendships, and family to move to a land where we knew no one. We planned to remain near to our family and many friends. However, God had other plans, and He called us to unfamiliar territory: Wisconsin. This move was filled with excitement for a new beginning, yet also with a fear of the unknown. “What if the job does not work out?” “How will the kids navigate their new high school as a senior and a sophomore?” “What if our kids choose friends who make poor choices?” “Can I really homeschool my 11-year-old while chasing a 2-year-old?” “Who will our friends be?”… The list of questions went on. With all the fear and worry, we were very uncomfortable through this change.

When God calls us to move, it is not always comfortable. His calling can look very different for each of us: grow a family, change jobs, change schools, move to a new house, a new state, a new country, etc. When God is moving and asking us to move, in whatever area of our lives, it can be scary. Fear is often what holds people back from following God’s call. And this fear sometimes comes from the enemy working hard to try and stop the work God has called us to do. Our fear, then, tends to be bigger than our faith.

We can find some peace knowing that God’s calling His children to something uncomfortable is nothing new. Throughout Scripture, we see many instances of this. For example, Noah walked out in faith by trusting God and building a massive boat to survive the catastrophic flood that was to come. Scripture does not directly speak of how uncomfortable Noah and his family were during this time, but let’s take a moment and think about it. We know that Noah had to bring “two of every creature” (Gen. 6:19) into a ship that was about half the size of the Titanic. He and his family shared their space on the ark with all those animals for 150 days. I’m guessing the smell and constant clamor caused many sleepless nights. Noah probably would have preferred to be in his old bed and tent, but he was faithful and obeyed God’s calling.

Being called is not always easy or comfortable, but remember God’s promise that He never leaves us and goes wherever we go (see Gen. 28:15a, Deut. 31:6, Josh. 1:5, Isa. 41:10). We just have to take that step of faith and trust that He has a great plan and purpose for each one of us. When we put our faith and hope in God, we can see the beautiful and wonderful blessings He has already granted. We may not know or understand our future, but we trust that God does, we embrace the now, and we praise God for each blessing He has provided and will provide. May God bless you and walk with you through each journey.


Thanks, Kim, for being a guest contributor!

Full Confidence

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” (Proverbs 31:11, NIV)


I have blogged my way through the entire Book of Proverbs, writing about the conversations I have with the Lord in my quiet time. My goal over the 31 weeks was to take a chapter each week and meditate on it, listening to what God might be saying and sharing it with you. And now we’re on the final page of Proverbs! I hope you’ve found this little series helpful.

Proverbs 31:10-31 is a very famous passage describing a “wife of noble character” (v. 10). Most Old Testament scholars agree that these verses do not describe an actual woman, but rather combine the strengths of several women into an “ideal woman” who can serve as a role model for all women. Reading through the passage, she can serve as a role model for men, too!

Verse 11 caught my attention. Often (not always) when I am reading the Bible devotionally to meet with the Lord, a verse seems to “wiggle” or stand out, like it was highlighted or bold font. Of course, it’s not actually wiggling on the page, but it catches my eye and doesn’t let go. That twinge in my heart when I read it, the way it draws my eyes to it, these are signs that perhaps the Lord wants to speak to me through that verse. So, I read it again, more slowly, in context, listening. Why did God bring that verse to my attention? What is it saying that I need to hear? I reflect and meditate on that verse, and talk to the Lord about what comes to mind. It is during that time that He sometimes speaks directly to me through the still small voice in my heart (read 1 Kings 19:9-18 for more on the still small voice, or the “gentle whisper”).

This morning as I pondered Proverbs 31:11, the word trust came to me. The woman described in these verses has the full and complete trust of her husband. Trust is foundational to every human relationship, not just marriage. Trust takes a long time to earn but can be broken in a moment. Once trust is shattered, it may never be rebuilt to the same extent it was before, or it may take years to regain what was lost.

Trust must be given to you, you cannot take it for yourself. I cannot force Corinne or anyone else to trust me. I have to demonstrate through integrity that I am worthy of her trust, and then I must walk in integrity in order to keep her trust. It is the same in every marriage, every friendship. The challenge is this: If you were your spouse or your friend, would you trust you? Knowing what you know about yourself, what you say when that person isn’t around, what you do when no one else is watching, what you think about that no one else ever knows… would you trust you? Are your thoughts, words, and actions full of integrity and honor? Do you live a life worthy of full confidence?

My prayer for the week is that the Holy Spirit will reveal an area of our hearts that lacks integrity, that we will confess that and become more trustworthy.

True Riches

“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

Proverbs 24:4-5 (NIV)

Granted, this Proverb is talking specifically about money. And, money (or wealth of some sort) is a universal idol for people of every culture throughout history. Jesus said that the love of money is so strong it threatens our relationship with God to the point where we must choose who will be our master–God or money (see Mt. 6:24). As I’ve heard more than one pastor say, “You will either love God and use money, or love money and try to use God.”

But it wasn’t financial wealth that God brought to my attention when I read these verses in Proverbs 24. God reminded me this morning that I need to trust and rely on him for success in ministry. “Rich” doesn’t just mean money. For a pastor, “rich” can be any number of things, but it’s most often numbers. It’s a struggle for pastors to avoid the comparison game, looking at other churches to see how many people they have and what they’re doing to get those people through the front doors. We are very tempted (and it’s not easy to resist) to slightly exaggerate our average attendance when we meet other pastors and they ask, “How big is your flock?”

In my time with the Lord this morning, I was praying for LakeView, thinking about the direction God has called us and the transition coming as we begin to follow his lead. As with any big decision or course change, there is always a little anxiety. What if it doesn’t “work”? What if we’re not at 500 in five years? Did we hear you correctly, Lord?

I prayed, “Lord, don’t forget your servant.”

And he replied, Servant, don’t forget your Master.

I remembered something Dr. Mathews said in one of my classes at Moody Theological Seminary. “You worry about the depth of your relationship with God. Let God worry about the breadth of your ministry.” My role, and our role as a church, is to remember our Master, to worry about the depth of our relationship with God. We’ll let him worry about the numbers as we faithfully worship, pray, meet with him in his Word, and share his love with others in our lives (both inside and outside the church).

What do you wear yourself out to obtain? Where do you find yourself tempted to trust your own cleverness? Money? Reputation? Your position at work? Success? Experiences in life? However you define “rich,” my prayer for this week is that we remember our Master. God’s love is true wealth, and we have it in infinite abundance. Let’s focus on spending time with him and let him worry about the “riches” of this life.

Who’s In Control?

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

Proverbs 21:31 (NIV)

Control. It’s probably one of the most significant spiritual strongholds evil has used to deal out destruction and mayhem in America, including in our churches and our families. We think we need control. We think we have control. We think we can control. And therein lies the snare.

The truth is, control is and always has been an illusion. God is in control, and he suffers no rivals. True, we can influence some minor outcomes in our lives through our decisions. But let’s not fall into the folly of believing that we control those outcomes. As soon as we start thinking we can control, it’s almost impossible to not try to gain control. Struggles for power and control are often brutal, trust-breaking, relationship-straining, and deeply saddening. They can also be violent, abusive, and dangerous.

The moment we begin to grasp for control is the moment we reveal a lack of trust in God; and the moment in which we start to lose our peace, our confidence, our security, our joy, and our freedom. There is no exultation in playing God. There is only anxiety, fear, insecurity, pride, and despair.

As I read this verse, the Lord reminded me to trust in him. He is sovereign. He is good. He is wise. He’s never failed me, and never will. He’s saved my bacon more times than I can count–and those are just the times I know about! Slow down, fix my eyes on Jesus, breathe, and let go. That’s my prayer for this week.

Lord, I Need You

The series on prayer continues with a look at Psalm 16, a prayer of dependence and confidence in God. How can we say that God is our only hope? Why do Christians put all their eggs in God’s basket? Why do we pray: “Lord, I need you”?

The Eyes of the Lord

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, observing the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3, HCSB)

As I was reading the opening verses of Proverbs 15, I noticed that verse 3 seemed out of context. I’ve learned over the years that when something in the Bible appears to be out of context, it’s usually worth digging into it to find out why. It’s kind of like God puts these little clues or hints for us to find so that we dig a little deeper, and that process can generate a conversation with God about what we’re looking for or finding, which means we’re spending more time with our Father in his Word.

In Proverbs 15, verses 1, 2, and 4 all had to do with the tongue, our speech. But verse 3 wasn’t about us or our tongues at all. Here’s the full text, so you can see what I mean:

1 A gentle answer turns away anger,
but a harsh word stirs up wrath.
2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive,
but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness.
3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
observing the wicked and the good.
4 The tongue that heals is a tree of life,
but a devious tongue breaks the spirit.

Notice that verse 3 doesn’t seem to fit in with the others? That really stuck out in my mind (which is also one of the ways God speaks to me in my quiet time–he makes a verse or two jump out at me as I’m reading). As I was talking with God about it, and reflecting on the passage, God asked: Do you trust me?

Suddenly I saw what God wanted me to understand. God is everywhere. He sees everything. He’s watching over us, and he will handle things. I don’t need to use my tongue to speak harshly, manipulate the conversation, blurt out my foolish thoughts, or stir the pot because I’m not getting my way. I need to trust God enough to let him take care of things. I need to use my tongue to speak encouragement, wisdom, and life.

The extent to which I trust God to see everything and deal with it his way is the extent to which I can stop using my mouth as a hammer or a wedge and start using it honorably. My prayer for this week is that we will trust God enough to stop attacking people with our words and start building them up instead.