This October, we encourage you to engage in 31 DAYS OF PRAYER. This experience is meant to be a catalyst; a starter pistol for your faith as you step forward in your journey with God.
Use the following guide to inspire you in reading the book of Proverbs and praying for the community around you. Be challenged and encouraged to grow deeper in God and wider in community.
Click here to download a printable version of the prayer guide.
Proverbs 1: Wisdom That Shouts!
The Book of Proverbs is a guide to right living and a resource of life wisdom. This isn’t wisdom that we can just come running to after we screw up…then not take it seriously and consider it something that “I tried it and it didn’t work.” No. This wisdom stands on its own, boldly and confidently, because it’s the same exact wisdom that spoke you and me and everything we know into existence.
Proverbs 2: Simple Knowledge
We are so easily led astray, so we have to learn to be self-sufficient and confident in our relationship with God. Earthly relationships sometimes provide other options outside of God’s plan and we have to know where we stand personally; we have to set standards for ourselves. The types of people we are being warned about here are those who do not seek God in the decisions they make. They are careless and live life by focusing on themselves and their happiness. Our aim is to live in opposition to the careless by focusing on God first and foremost and then turning away from selfishness towards helping others.
Proverbs 3: Love & Loyalty
Now, it’s no mystery that we are supposed to be loving people. In this passage, love comes in the form of helping others with our time and our finances, as well as by just using common sense. Christians don’t manipulate people. We trust God for our needs, find contentment in what we have, and leave the rest for the others around us. We see it over and over. Love God. Love others. Seek God for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and obtain fulfillment in life.
Proverbs 4: More of the Same
It comes across as a reiteration. Gain wisdom. Get understanding. Avoid people that will cause you to ignore wisdom and understanding. Live the fulfilling life God meant for you to have. All four of these chapters word it a bit differently, but it’s altogether the same key points. I guess these principles really are important, right?
Proverbs 5: Polluted Streams
Here, Solomon warns us of those who will try to deceive us specifically with sexual temptation. The warning is simple: stay away from these people. Our lives here on earth will slowly turn miserable every time we fall for this trap. All the great things that God had planned for us go to others who listen to His wisdom. In other words, stay true to the spouse of our youth. We should always pursue them and never take them for granted…always being satisfied with who they are.
Proverbs 6: Six Things That God Hates
This one is a really meaty chapter. We go from handling business deals the right way to the trouble that goes along with procrastination to the trouble with troublemaking to the consequences of adultery. But I think the most interesting part is the “6 things that God hates” part right smack dab in the middle of this chapter: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, one who spreads strife among brothers.
Proverbs 7: The Infamous Harlot/Seductress
This chapter sounds like something straight out of a movie or something. If we pay attention, we can learn something that will change our lives forever. Lust comes on subtly. Everywhere we turn, it seems we find this same “harlot” in advertisements or, most specifically, pornography. I pray that God will help us all not fall prey to lust. Instead, let us take this wisdom and bind it on our hearts so that we will be able to do what is right during times of temptation. In other words, help us not be a bunch of big, dumb oxen…
Proverbs 8: You Gotta Trust God’s Word
We have got to trust in the Bible. I’m not saying that there aren’t going to be things that we come across that we don’t fully understand. Heck, some things may even appear contradictory. But we shouldn’t let that be a reason for not being able to fully rely on it as God’s Word. God Himself literally speaks to us when we sit down and study this thing.
Proverbs 9: Wisdom vs. Folly
There’s one thing that stuck out in this chapter: there are a lot of similarities between Wisdom and Folly. They are both throwing themselves at those of us who are simple and those who lack sense. So each are available to all of us. Both sit in “the high places in town,” so they are equally accessible to all of us. The difference is in what they are offering and the type of life that results in following each of them. Wisdom offers insight and multiplication of days while folly offers material things such as sweet water and bread that belong just to us, which lead us to hell. It’s little things like these that God expects us to read and apply to our lives, things that should become reflex reactions to every day situations.
Proverbs 10: Righteousness vs. Wickedness
There is a difference between the righteous and the wicked. The legacy of the righteous blesses others, they say things that help people, they respect the Lord, and they speak words of wisdom. On the other hand, the wicked leave a legacy that rots, have small hearts, are easily swept away, and have nothing but meaningless, perverse things to say.
Proverbs 11: Where’s the Integrity?
Christians need to have integrity. And true integrity isn’t just skin-deep. It cuts to the heart; takes action even when no one else is around to see us. We need to familiarize ourselves with the Book of Proverbs (the Gospels and the Epistles are equally helpful in this) so we not only learn of this integrity, but also know these “fruits” that Jesus tells us about.
Proverbs 12: A Little Bit of Everything
Have you ever known or seen this couple out in public? Maybe even in your church? I sure hope you aren’t this wife who complains about your husband all the time… talks badly about him in front of your friends… manipulates him into doing what you want him to do. Believe it or not, ladies, most guys are very sensitive. Many of us take a lot of pride in our families and, when we are disrespected in front of our friends and total strangers, it really is like “rottenness to our bones.” It deflates us and causes us to make bad decisions.
Proverbs 13: Our Whole Heart
The further we dig into these chapters, the more I realize how important it is that God has our whole heart. I mean, we have to be committed to Him for it to be possible for us to follow these instructions. See, none of us can follow all these Proverbs all the time. We can read a Proverb a day everyday for the rest of our life and still have times where we mess up. But if He has our heart and if we know that we love Him and He knows we love him, NO SIN can take that away, because sin has already been conquered by Jesus on the cross.
Proverbs 14: Priceless Wisdom
It’s easy to get in a habit of just living life without putting much thought into what causes you to be the kind of person that you are. I’m now convinced more than ever that following Jesus is not a cakewalk. If anything, it is actually harder to be a Christian because you can’t just be who you want to be. Change becomes unavoidable.
Proverbs 15: Speak Your Mind?
Proverbs 15 instructs us to refrain from harsh words and instead to speak gently, have cool tempers, and choose our words wisely. We are told that it’s okay to respond, but to do it gently. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see nearly enough of that these days. Today, I’d like to encourage us all to analyze our social media lifestyle. When we comment on news articles and our friends’ political posts, are we doing so in a way that is humble and full of substance? Or are we just repeating the perspectives of those we respect while using a tone that is not portraying godliness?
Proverbs 16: Providence vs. Creating Your Destiny
Some spiritual leaders tell us to follow our heart. Others encourage us to ask for what we want and, if we have enough faith, we will have it. But from what I see in the Bible, the recurring theme is trusting God despite one’s situation… being satisfied with what we have… keeping our hearts pure… living peaceably with others… staying humble… trusting God to be… our… GOD. Sometimes, that means choosing things that are unattractive instead of things that appeal to us. On the other hand, sometimes it means we get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. It’s in God’s timing…
Proverbs 17: Minor Tweaks
God’s word really IS alive. It speaks to us and tells us when we need to tone it down a notch or crank it up a bit. I can’t help but think that all these minor tweaks along the way are what will surely bring me closer to who I am in Him.
Proverbs 18: The Golden Rule (on Facebook too!)
Am I the only one who reads some of these proverbs about selfish people who mistreat others and my mind automatically shifts to Facebook? Regardless, isn’t it fascinating how much social media has changed the way we communicate with one another? These instructions we read in Proverbs 18 can be even more difficult to follow today. My prayer is that we will be friendly, understanding, patient people in a world where quarreling and condescending comments are encouraged.
Proverbs 19: Where Does Poverty Fit In?
God cherishes the poor. Christians are instructed not to be “fake friends” to these people. The more mature I become as a Christian, the more I find that God doesn’t want us to worry about money. He doesn’t want it to control our lives because it has the power to control us to the point where we value it more than Him. It certainly shouldn’t be something that we think we deserve just because we ask God for it. And when we ignore basic principles of our faith like these, we are missing out on what it means to be followers of Christ.
Proverbs 20: Just God
Proverbs tells us that God is “just.” This means that, when we see leaders who have double standards or measure with dishonest scales, we can’t blame God for or compare God to that. As a matter of fact, we can’t compare “godly justice” to anyone we know because we are all, at some point, going to follow our own selfish desires instead of doing what’s right. (Of course, that’s where grace and forgiveness come into play in the life of a Christian). And that’s exactly why we should choose to rely on God instead of people to meet our needs.
Proverbs 21: The Contentious Woman
Dads, make your daughter a top priority in your life. I mean, don’t just say she is. Make her a top priority. She’s worth every bit of inconvenience and drama you feel like she causes you. There are very few things in your life that should be more important than her. Treat her like the lovely young woman you want her to be someday.
Proverbs 22: Common Bond
Jesus spent His entire ministry on earth being mocked, ridiculed, called a glutton and a drunkard, chased, and eventually killed by “spiritually mature” people. Today’s “blessed” Christians reject the very One they claim to serve every time they rattle off their long list of achievements to those whom they deem less worthy of a relationship with Jesus. Why? Because they have completely lost sight of who Jesus died for. It levels the playing field because it doesn’t matter where you come from. Nothing we achieve enables us to get more of Jesus. You either have Him or you don’t.
Proverbs 23: More Money, More Problems
In a time where so many Christians are commanding God to provide what they need, it’s comforting to see examples in Scripture where God clearly blesses people despite their confession. God had a plan for Solomon. The Book of Proverbs is a priceless resource when it comes to getting to know the will of that Creator. And as we focus on applying these things we read, some problems may not go away, but they’ll certainly become easier to manage.
Proverbs 24: A Balancing Act
Passages like this in Scripture remind me of how important it is to guard my heart. I’m so easily led astray by things in this world that fascinate me. Preoccupations with social media, television, culture… they all have a way of becoming bigger than Jesus as far as my priorities are concerned. Moderation is a good thing not only because of what it keeps us from doing too much of, but because of the things that we need to experience just a little bit to still be effective in ministering to the lost and loving the unlovely.
Proverbs 25: Vinegar in a Wound
We really need to be sensitive to how we interact with people who are suffering. Many times, I think we try so hard to be “happy, positive Christians” that we forget that we are really supposed to be suffering with these people. It would just be silly to pretend like nothing is wrong, as if ignoring the circumstance has any influence on anything. If anything, that is an easy way out. It’s much easier to tell someone, “You aren’t sick… you are healed!” than it is to spend time with them, let them pour out their heart to you, and provide well-thought-out encouragement from God’s Word.
Proverbs 26: How to Stop Doing Foolish Things
I really think that if we took more time to stop and consider how many foolish things we’ve done recently that it would help us appreciate God more and maybe, just maybe, we would do those things less and less as time progresses. That is what is so great about Jesus. He desires relationship with us, His creation, and lovingly guides us (sometimes I think He even drags us) into places where we find the wisdom and confidence we need to become better people… who are not as foolish as we once were.
Proverbs 27: Who are you keeping close to you?
In life it is easy for us to surround ourselves with people who will tell us what we want to hear. We see leaders in business, government, and nearly every walk of life who do this. Wise people surround themselves with people who will tell them the difficult truths they need to hear. These people are often family and close friends in whom we have developed trust and confidence in over time. Don’t neglect these relationships in your life. Keep them close. They are a gift to you.
Proverbs 28: Rulers & Laws
Everywhere we go, there is a leader… a person in charge. In America, we tend to be very critical of these people. We love to comment about them in news articles on the internet. We get our kicks out of criticizing how they do things, even though we would only last five minutes in that role if we had to fill those shoes. How many of you realize that Christians are not supposed to be like that? But we are always supposed to support these people through prayer.
Proverbs 29: Giving & Receiving Criticism
Read the Bible yourself and take what it says seriously. Ask yourself tough questions about the things that Jesus said. Always accept criticism from others with humility and take those things to God in prayer and by studying the Bible. You’ll likely discover that there were things that you thought you knew about Jesus that you really didn’t… and that is okay. The question is this: How will you handle that criticism? And if you discover that you are wrong about something, will you be willing to walk away from those things and run towards Jesus?
Proverbs 30: Poverty Nor Riches
I think the pressures of this world are far deeper than many of us realize. We live in a culture that does its best to convince us that material things are the answer to our problems. We’ve become blinded, but the Bible wants us to open our eyes and see the truth of our situation. Material things (specifically our lack or abundance of them) have a way of replacing God. According to the Bible, it’s perfectly okay to be content with what you have. We can be free of this bondage that the world throws on us and simply be who God has called us to be.
Proverbs 31: A Different Focus
Sure. We’ve all heard of the “Proverbs 31 Woman,” but what about everything else in the chapter? As amusing as it is to see how our culture has taken Proverbs 31 and made the very thought of it solely about the characteristics a Christian woman should strive for, I sometimes read this chapter and wonder if that’s what the point was to begin with. Because when you flip it and actually take this chapter as it is written, it is equally useful for men in leadership to read. After all, how many Christian leaders in America overlook these things when choosing a wife? I’d say most of them. How many sex scandals do we hear about in the news? How many pastors’ marriages end in divorce because of lack of attention to priority and biblical advice? And if our leaders decided to seek these things above things like physical attraction, the Church in America would probably be a much healthier place than it currently is.