N.B Perhaps David's greatest weakness was his inability to confront and discipline people closest to him. He would not punish Joab for the murder of Abner; he would not punish Amnon for the rape of Tamar; he would not punish Absalom for the murder of Amnon. Here his weakness bears bitter fruit as Joab kills his specially loved son, Absalom, as David once again does nothing to Joab in response. Lord God, I pray for myself and for ______________________ this day. We acknowledge that our love for people close to us can at times blind us to the need to respond firmly to their sin. We know we can watch things happen that should not happen and yet make no effort to intervene when we should. We freely acknowledge that we share this weakness with David. I pray that you will help us to learn how to lovingly and appropriately face people we love with their sin. We confess that it is difficult to do and easy to avoid. But we see in David's example that we can in the end reap a bitter fruit from our weakness. So we ask you to help us to know when we need to speak, help us to know what to say, and teach us to speak the truth in love that we may help others deal with their sin. We choose to be open to confrontation ourselves so that we do not act in self-righteousness or with an attitude of superiority. Make us open to receiving appropriate and loving rebuke from the people around us who care for us. We see in Joab both commendable loyalty and yet a dangerous ruthlessness. I pray that we may imitate his strength by showing unswerving loyalty to our friends and to those with authority over us. But free us from participating in his weakness. We confess, Lord, that there is within all of us the capacity to be vindictive and cruel. Joab seems many times to have acted as if he had no conscience at all. I pray that we instead will have our consciences trained by constant use to distinguish good from evil and to choose the good. We pray for clear minds but soft hearts. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.