12 Habits That Should Mark Every Believer’s Praying and Living
Where these Daily Dozen are practiced, that life is seeking to please the Father, following Jesus as Lord. Jesus said of His daily walk with the Father, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29)
When He is reigning as Lord in our lives, we too will be marked by pleasing the Father as His Spirit-empowered, Father –pleasing life is lived out in us and expressed through us.
There are twelve habits, a ‘Daily Dozen,” that should mark each and every believer’s life, twelve essentials that can make the difference between a life of delight and a life of drudgery. Many Christians today do not look like, act like, talk like, or live like they really believe Jesus is Lord. That does not have to be. What are these twelve daily delights?
1. Tell the Lord, “I love You, Lord” every day–like David–“I love You, O Lord, my strength” (Psalm 18:1). Jesus spoke of the priority of loving God in Mark 12:28-31, quoting Deuteronomy 6:5–the foremost command for every day.
2. Read, feed, and live daily on the Word of God. Read the Bible every day–meditate, memorize, speak, listen, read, ponder, and apply. Jesus said that we do not live on bread alone, but “on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4–a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3 Heeding that word is how Jesus overcame Satan in Temptation, a victor in the forty-day test. Stephen Olford called this daily bread of the Word part of our “Manna in the Morning.”
3. Set your mind and heart on heaven every day. This could be your last day on earth. Live for heaven. Be ready, even expectant about heaven. In 1 Corinthians 15:31, with certainty, speaking about the resurrection and with it the possibility of facing death, the Apostle Paul testified, “I die daily”–I’m ready every day, any day. Think about heaven, celebrate where you are headed if you know Jesus as Lord and Savior (and tell others so that they can go there, too).
4. Take up your cross “daily”–and follow Jesus every day (Luke 9:23). We can join with the Apostle Paul in his testimony in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Him self for me” Die to self, personally enthrone and follow Jesus as Lord and Master every day.
5. Examine your life daily, confessing any sin the Spirit brings to mind.
Experience His forgiveness every day. Receive the forgiveness and
cleansing provided in the very precious and valuable blood of Christ (1John 1:6-9). Closely tied to this is forgiving others every day. Jesus gave us a pattern in the Disciple’s Prayer–”and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,” those who have sinned against us. Examine your life to make sure you are “in the faith,” that “Jesus Christ is in you” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Walk clean before Him and one another every day.
6. Pray for the Lost every day. Have a place in your prayer time (even throughout the day) in which you are praying for lost people–perhaps a family member, a neighbor, a work associate or classmate, or someone you meet in the course of your day. Have an ongoing list of those whom you know to be lost, who do not yet personally know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul testified of his continual heart-cry for his fellow Jews to be saved (Romans 10:1). He had that same prayer for Gentiles (Acts 26:29). Pray Acts 26:18 for the lost you know. Pray for shalom “peace” (multi-level well-being) for your neighborhood and city, so others can hear and come to faith in Christ (Jeremiah 29:7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8).
7. Humility and Gratitude Go Together. First, Humble yourself before the Lord (and one another) every day. That is the open door for the grace of God, His enabling power, to be poured out in your life every day (James 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:5-7). When we do not humble ourselves, when we act proud with an “I-can-handle-it” attitude, God backs off, or worse, sets up in battle array against us. Proverbs 6:16-19 list seven things the Lord hates–first, “haughty eyes” or “a proud look.” Humble yourself before the Lord and one another every day. With that show gratitude to the Lord every day. Say “Thank You, Lord for…” what He has done and given–every day (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 1:21).
8. Ask God to meet your needs every day. In the Disciple’s Prayer, Jesus gave us a pattern to pray daily–that the Father’s name be hallowed, respected, worshiped, that all His will be done, and that we have “daily bread” to do His will in our lives every day. That also means “do not worry about anything” any day–the clear command of Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:33-34. Ask God to meet your needs (not “greed’s”) every day.
9. Ask God for protection from evil–the devil, his forces, his schemes, evil people, and the world system and its ways every day. That is also a daily prayer in the Disciple’s Prayer, “do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). It is the heart-cry of 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 so that the word of God may spread rapidly. It is the heartbeat of Ephesians 6:10-18, being strong in the Lord, daily dressed in the armor of God, clothed “in Christ,“ and experiencing His strength to do His will every day.
10. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and His power every day. Live by His life within, His spirit reigning every day (Ephesians 5:18-21). Humble your self before Him–admit you cannot handle living the Christian life in your own strength–and trust Him and His strength to do His will this day. Sound the cry recorded in Psalm 119:28, “strengthen me according to Your Word” or as David in 1 Samuel 30:6, “but David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” In His power, live rejoicing and giving thanks instead of complaining and grumbling. Humbly serve others with God’s kind of love, instead of being arrogant and self-exalting, showing self-serving impatience, bitterness, or selfish anger (Ephesians 4:30-32; 5:1-21). People have the opportunity to see Jesus in your actions and attitudes–every day.
11. Ask for God’s wisdom every day. Solomon prayed at the beginning of his reign, asking God for “an understanding heart,” literally, “a hearing heart” to “discern between good and evil” and make wise decisions (1Kings 3:9). That should be our prayer every day. James 1:5 urges us to “ask of God” for the wisdom we need for life’s trials every day.
12. Ask for God to be glorified in your life every day. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “ therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do , do all to the glory of God”–that covers everything. Paul then connects what we do and say with helping lead others to faith in Christ (1Corinthians 10:32-33). That brings glory to Jesus Christ. Look for opportunities to show and tell others the message of Christ–who He is and what He can do. “Glory” refers to being weighty with impact, or influence. To “glorify” someone means to act in such a way that people from a good opinion of that person. Every day ask that people form a good opinion of Jesus by what you do and say, by your attitude and demeanor. Ask that Jesus be seen and heard every day in you and through you so others can come to know Him or know Him better.
Used by permission from Richard L. Shepherd, Florida Baptist Convention 2009.