In the first three parts, we talked about why we lie, being honest with ourselves, and last week what it means to be honest with God. Now for the application: 3 things we can do each day to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others.
1. Morning Dependance
Almost three years ago we launched a building campaign, took pledges, and continued seeking God's guidance in how we care for the people God was bringing to Forum. A big part of that process was prayer. We encouraged everyone to join us in praying, and I personally set a reminder on my phone to alert me three different times throughout the day to pray. Little did I know that this simple practice would dramatically change my prayer life, my honesty with God, and would develop my faith as a whole. The first alert at 9:30 was to pray for our church and its leadership.
As a team of ministers (and administers) at Forum, we gather at 9:30 each morning to pray. It seemed a fitting time to include a prayer for our church and specifically for the leadership at Forum. This first prayer is a prayer of dependence. A recognition of my reliance on God to move, guide, and lead our church. Prayers of dependance are built upon an acknowledgment of our lack of sufficiency and place us in a posture of leaning on God for our everything. This is a prayer of confession, a realization that we are by nature sinful and in desperate need of a savior.
2. Afternoon Opportunity
The second alert is at noon. It reminds me to pray for an opportunity to share the gospel with someone new. This simple prayer can return some unique results, so I recommend this prayer with a word of caution. Be ready to watch God give you a chance to share, a chance to listen, and a chance to help someone in ways you might not be accustomed to doing. Again, this is a prayer of dependence. It is a recognition that we were designed for a purpose, a purpose to be lived out in everyday life. No matter where you are or what you are doing, we are surrounded by people that God is chasing after. He might use us to bring about change in someone else's life.
If you are like me, you tend to feel unprepared, and unqualified to be used for such a task - and you would be right. That is why God has promised to give us the power to accomplish His mission through His Spirit - it is done with His power and in His timing. Our job is to depend on Him for it all. To be honest with our selves and with God is to rely on Him to accomplish the work. We admit we can't do it on our own.
3. Evening Relationships
The third prayer is at 4:00, and it is for my wife and family. I have this one set 30 minutes before I pick up the kids and over an hour before I see my wife. This is where dependence, honesty, and living out our faith gets gritty.
To pray for my wife and kids before I see them after a long day, not only prepares me spiritually but also grounds me in the reality that I depend on God to lead and guide my marriage and parenting. Going to God each day with prayers for the hearts and minds of my wife and kids is a humbling exercise. It impresses a profound truth into my heart: these are God's kids entrusted to me, this is God's daughter I am privileged to share my life with and my primary role is to lead them all closer to Jesus. That can be a daunting task and one that most men (who are honest) struggle to accomplish. It starts with being honest about who I am, who I am not, and being honest with God about who I am, who I'm not, and how much I need Him.
These three reminders go off on my phone every single day. Do I miss these moments of prayer on occasion? Of course I do. Do I sometimes go into those times of prayer begrudgingly? You bet. But the good thing is that it has become a habit, a pattern, a rhythm in my daily life that keeps me honest. Not perfect, but in process, and just honest enough to admit I am not always honest.
It might be easy to say, "You are too legalistic, praying three times a day for these same things over and over again is like the vain repetitions that Jesus condemned." I would argue and say that the discipline of prayer is the best way to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others. It is the starting point, the launchpad, the right first step to cultivating a life that reflects the truth of God.
My encouragement would be to do something easy to remind yourself to pray, to depend, to follow, and to surrender to what God is leading you to do. Make post-it notes and stick them somewhere you frequent. Set a reminder on your phone. Reach out to a friend and ask them to keep you accountable. Move towards an honest life in some practical way, and in a few days, months, or years, you might have a new honesty habit.