You don’t have to bear it all (Prayer day 6)

Our secular world prides itself in independence, and this has conditioned us to believe that we should handle all our needs and troubles by ourselves.  But we are invited to pray because we need God, and God delights in helping us, his children.


Psalm 86:1-10, 14-15A model prayer of David.

1  Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.

2  Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.

3  Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.

4  Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

5  For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

6  Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.

7  In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.

8  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.

9  All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.

10  For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

14  O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.

15  But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Note: Although only a portion of the psalm is used in this devotional study, Psalm 86 as a whole is a great model prayer.

Observation and Reflection

Notice how David motivates his requests to God (the lessons to the hearer/ reader).

  1. Why does David pray to God? What are the needs he brings before God?
  2. Why is David confident that God will hear him? What does he say about
    • his relationship to God? and
    • God’s nature and character?
  3. Think of how and why it helps one to pray in times of need, knowing that God is
    • Not merely “a god”, or “the God”, but “my God” whom you are devoted to?
    • Kind-hearted and generous (good and gracious);
    • Forgiving and merciful;
    • Patient (slow to anger);
    • Faithful (steadfast);
    • The powerful Creator of all.

Personal Reflections and Application

Psalm 86 is a helpful lesson on prayer: the psalmist comforts us to know that in times of urgent need we can and should bring our request before God who is merciful and kind, and all-powerful Lord of the universe.  We are never called on to live independently or carry burdens too big for ourselves – we were created to live in dependence on the all-powerful, loving Father.

  1. James wrote “you have not, because you ask not.” Consider your needs. Write it down.
  2. Before you bring your needs to God, remind yourself in prayer who God is – tell him who you believe Him to be – and what He is like. (Hint: you can start with Psalm 89 above; it was recorded by David for this purpose!)
  3. Now bring your needs to God in prayer, in all urgency and earnestness; he has your attention!





Leadership are compelled to actions by the conscious awareness of opportunities

One of the greatest temptations of leadership if to use your position of authority and influence to see how you could better yourself and not to people you are meant to lead and care for. 

In this short introductory session by De Waal Esterhuizen (pastor of Shofar Christian Church in Malmesbury) he shows how leaders lead with a constant awareness of the needs and opportunities that arise. (


Ezekiel 34:1-10

1  The word of the LORD came to me: 2  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 4  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them. 5  So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. 6  My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”

Observation and reflection questions

Note: If time allows please read the whole of Ezekiel 34.

  1. Whom were these “shepherds” against which Ezekiel prophesied?
  2. List the accusations against “the shepherds of Israel”.
  3. Now try to translate these metaphoric accusations back into real life. (for example “shepherds clothe themselves with the wool” (v3) could mean leaders abuse rights for own personal comfort rather than the betterment of their people)
  4. Suggest one word that best sums up the leadership of Israel in the Ezekiel’s day.
  5. Consider the analogy of “leader as shepherd” – what good qualities of leadership are portrayed in the nature of shepherding sheep?
  6. Which of these accusations listed above are relevant of present-day politics in your country? Why do you say that?

Personal reflection and application questions

Ezekiel accused the leaders of Israel for being self-centered, looking for opportunities to better themselves at the cost of the people they were leading.  But good leaders are always looking for ways to better their people and their environment.   

  1. Consider your past and present leadership (at home, at work, at church, in community, etc). a. Were there instances where you have been tempted to serve your own interests in leadership rather than the interest of those you were called to look after?
  2. On which occasions have you failed when your decisions or actions served yourself at the cost of those you were called to lead?
  3. Leadership implies power and authority. How could you as leader safeguard yourself and those you lead against abuse of others and self-serving? [hint: full disclosure]
  4. Memorise this proverb and let it be your motto of the day Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” (Proverbs 3:27)


Thank God for what he has entrusted to you, and commit yourself to serve him and those he sends across your path with selflessness and joy.


Stewardship 5 – trust

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on our relationship to God and recognize his faithful provision to us.

Short Sermon to the Birds by Francis of Assisi (around 1220 in Bevagna, Italy) meant for onlookers in the park:

Francis of Assisi

“My little sisters the birds, you owe much to God, your Creator, and you ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though you neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noah that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though you neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favored you with such bounties. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God.”


Matthew 6:25-34

25  Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

27  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  28  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Observations and reflections

Note: Matthew 6:19-34 contain Jesus’ revolutionary teachings on possessions, money and security.  We focus on one or two such teachings each day and consider our own attitudes and behaviors in the light of his words.

  1. In your own words paraphrase Jesus’ teaching regarding money in these two verses.
  2. Can you think of one short phrase that best summarizes Jesus’ teaching in this section?
  3. List the things Jesus says one should not be anxious of.
    1. What is the main reason Jesus says one should not be give in to anxiety? [verse 32]
    2. What does that imply about the nature of these anxieties?
    3. Considering verse 34, what more do we learn about human nature and these types of anxieties? [hint: “do not be anxious about tomorrow…”]
  4. What do we learn about God (and his relationship to you/us) in this section?

Application and prayer

  1. List every anxiety you carry or feel – write what are the things you stress about. Then confess it as wrong to God and ask for His peace to reign in your mind and heart.
  2. Write all your needs (both immediate and foreseeable) down on a piece of paper.
    1. Paul taught that we should “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by not prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6). So before we pray through the list, take good time to thank the Father for all his faithful, loving provision in you life that you do see and have seen.
    2. Now “cast your cares in Him – for He cares for you” (1Peter 5:7). Ask him for each need – be specific.  Thank God that he has heard your prayers – as your Father who loves you.
    3. Lastly, pray for God’s Kingdom to reign in your life, family, community and work place. Let His righteousness, peace and joy reign where you live and move!  Ask God what you can do to make it come!