A Prayer for Welcoming Discipline and Life-giving Reproofs
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Prov. 12:1
The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Prov. 15:31
Dear heavenly Father, I’ll never tire of thanking you for the privilege of calling you Father—Abba, Father. There’s no greater joy or safer refuge—there’s no better address to call my home than your heart.
Once I was separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in the true Israel, a foreigner to your promise-filled covenants, without hope and without you in the world. But through the work of Jesus, you brought me near—you made me one of your beloved children (Eph. 2:12-13). I worship, praise, and adore you for such a rich and firm standing in grace. I begin and end every day which this loud declaration ringing in the chambers of my heart, “No condemnation!”
And now, it’s only because you love us as your children that you discipline us as you do (Heb. 12:4-11). All of your rebukes are “life-giving” and all your corrections are heart-freeing. None of them are meant to be guilt inducing, shame producing, or contempt fueling. You humble your children, but you don’t humiliate us. You’re firm but never harsh. You have our eternal glorification in view, when we’re, too often, only thinking about instant gratification.
On the cross Jesus exhausted the punishment we deserve. Now you delight in us, even when you confront our immaturity and irresponsibility. That’s why I’m a foolish man to play dodge ball with the convicting work of your Holy Spirit. You only purpose our freedom through the gospel.
I’m a foolish man, indeed, when I get defensive and try to make excuses for myself. What’s there to defend? Indeed, being “stupid” (Prov. 12:1) has nothing to do with my IQ, my SAT score, or my GPA from various schools. Stupid is what we are when we hate correction, despise your discipline, or run from your admonitions.
I want to be at home among the wise, Father, so whether you speak to me from your Word—by the voice of your Spirit, or even through my spouse, colleagues, children, or friends—I’ll trust you for a humble heart and submissive spirit. By the grace, truth, and power of the gospel, free me to welcome your every correction. So very Amen I pray in Jesus’ life-giving name.