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Pray for the Wisdom to perceive good choices versus bad ones. To spend what we have wisely, and to conduct ourselves in the best way. To know that which is to be followed and that which is to be avoided.


The Victory in Virtue Series

Intro

Part 1: Faith

Part 2: Hope

Part 3: Charity

Part 4: Piety


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Today I present another entry in the Victory in Virtue series. Today’s post is on the Virtue of Prudence.

The Virtue of Prudence is a great Virtue to have. This is a Virtue with a very direct and immediate impact on our day-to-day lives. The more we exercise the Virtue of Prudence, the easier we make things for ourselves. God guarantees us suffering in life, so no one can avoid that. But with the Virtue of Prudence, we can avoid the trouble we don’t need to get into, and have a less painful life that way. So this is a great Virtue to cultivate in ourselves.

So that’s what today’s post is about. It’s a long post again, so let’s get straight into it.

What Is the Virtue of Prudence?

I suggest summarizing the Virtue of Prudence with one word: Wisdom.

Wisdom. Good judgment. Discretion, discernment. Looking at a situation and knowing what’s the right call. Looking at the choices we’re faced with and thinking through the consequences of each.

The Bible has much to say about Wisdom; it’s a frequent topic. But no book in the Bible says more about Wisdom than Proverbs, my favorite book. Proverbs is the book of Wisdom of course, and much (not all) of it is attributed to King Solomon, one of the wisest men ever. If you want to get started building the Virtue of Prudence, open a Bible and read Proverbs! Then you’ll be off to a great start.

Here’s a famous passage on Wisdom from Proverbs 3:

(13) Happy are those who find wisdom
and those who gain understanding.
(14) Her profit is better than silver,
and her gain better than gold.
(15) Her value exceeds pearls;
all you desire can’t compare with her.
(16) In her right hand is a long life;
in her left are wealth and honor.
(17) Her ways are pleasant;
all her paths are peaceful.
(18) She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who hold her tight are happy.
(19) The LORD laid the foundations of the earth with wisdom,
establishing the heavens with understanding.

Proverbs 3:13-19 (CEB)

That’s nice, isn’t it? But does this have a practical application to our lives? Why yes, actually, it does.

Using the Virtue of Prudence, Wisdom, helps us make better decisions in life. We’ll go further, be more successful, and above all, we’ll avoid more unnecessary traps, pitfalls, and setbacks than those who don’t exercise Prudence. We’re guaranteed to face obstacles in life, and God will even give us these to test and strengthen us. But with the Virtue of Prudence, we can avoid the setbacks that we don’t need to stumble on. Refer to Proverbs 3:21-23.

(21) My son, don’t let them slip from your eyes;
hold on to sound judgment and discretion.
(22) They will be life for your whole being,
and an ornament for your neck.
(23) Then you will walk safely on your path,
and
your foot won’t stumble.

Proverbs 3:21-23 (CEB)

By being Prudent and thinking through the consequences of our actions, and not making rash decisions based on emotions or snap judgments, we can live a better life with less mishaps. We can make better choices, saving ourselves unnecessary trouble.

As usual, there are prayers for gaining the Virtue of Prudence below. The key phrase in the first prayer is: “Perceive that which is to be avoided and that which is to be followed….”

We’re all free to make our own choices and live how we like, but not every choice is good for us. Prudence is having concern for the future and considering the consequences of a choice before we make it. We won’t always make the best choices, and even if we do life can throw unseen variables our way to foil our plans. But practicing the Virtue of Prudence will help us make better long-term choices, more of the time.

And the Virtue of Prudence also deals with thinking of our future. Making the best choices we can today to set ourselves up for the best possible tomorrow.

It’s Prudent to manage what resources we have carefully. Spend them wisely, and don’t spend on things we don’t need. Money comes and goes, and fortunes rise and fall. If we have a high income now, it doesn’t mean that will always be the case. When times are good and we’re enjoying prosperity, that’s when it’s most important to save, because whatever goes up … must come down, so it can rise again. If we spend frivolously during the good times, we’ll be in trouble when bad times come.

For a practical example, skipping an expensive buy like a new video game console or phone until we’ve met our savings targets would be achieving the Virtue of Prudence. And besides, those consumer purchases are the ‘things of the world.’ Don’t be a consumer and seek out the things of the world, seek out God and Heavenly things that will last eternally instead (1 John 2:15; James 4:4)!

Prudence is also being careful about our own behavior, conducting ourselves in a wise manner and thinking of consequences. It’s Prudent to avoid addictive vices like gambling, drinking, drugs, and so on. Learn from the mistakes of others and stay away from what we know is unhealthy and addictive. Don’t even go there, don’t even try it. Perceive that which is to be followed and that which is to be avoided.

And that’s only a start. It’s Prudent to keep good company, and to avoid being friends with any who encourage us to do what we know is wrong. see Proverbs 1:10-19. Let’s look at part of this passage now:

(10) My son, don’t let sinners entice you.
Don’t go
(11) when they say:
“Come with us. […]
(15) My son, don’t go on the path with them;
keep your feet from their way,
(16) because their feet run to evil;
they hurry to spill blood.

Proverbs 1:10-11 (Partial); 15-16 (CEB)

We become like the people we spend time with. If we hang out with people doing bad things, like drugs, then we’ll end up doing what they do. If we hang out with people who do constructive, positive, interesting, and healthy things, then we’ll end up doing what they do. Everyone can clearly see which is better.

But everyone wants to have friends, so it’s easy to fall in this trap. Well we need to remember that it’s better to have no friends at all then friends who lead us into trouble. The choices are always ours, so the blame is on us, not them. But we won’t be tempted to do what they do if we don’t hang out with friends who are up to no good, as Proverbs 1:10-19 says.

It’s also Prudent to eat a good diet, exercise, and take good care of our body now to make things easier for us in the future.

It’s also Prudent to watch our “diet” of entertainment we ingest (music, movies, etc.), and to keep these as positive as possible, for these affect our inner thoughts and can drag them down. We want to build ourselves up, not drag ourselves down. Exercise the Virtue of Prudence and let’s consume a positive diet.

The Virtue of Prudence is many important things, and the more we practice it, the better off we will be.

Pray for the Wisdom to perceive good choices versus bad ones. To spend what we have wisely, and to conduct ourselves in the best way. To know that which is to be followed and that which is to be avoided. Pray for insight into every situation we face, that we may make the Wisest choice. Pray that we may perceive who is a dangerous influence in our life, and for the resolve to cut them off and move away from them.

Pray for Wisdom, pray for the Virtue of Prudence! We know from James 1:5 that God gives out Wisdom generously:

(5) But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.

James 1:5 (CEB)

And now, speaking of prayer, let’s look at a few prayers for gaining the Virtue of Prudence.

Prayers for the Virtue of Prudence

There are many prayers we could pray to receive the Virtue of Prudence. The best ones of course will be the ones that we create ourselves—the ones that come straight from the heart. Remember: When we pray we aren’t trying to say the right combination of words to unlock something in Heaven. No, that would be magic, which is an abomination to the LORD. Prayer is much simpler. Simply tell the LORD what you want, what you need, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you, and so on.

Praying for a Virtue is a great way to build it up. It’s one of the best ways, actually. So here are a few short, simple prayers for the Virtue of Prudence you can try adding to your prayer routine.

Perceive that which Is to Be Avoided and Followed

Here’s another Catholic prayer I have “De-Catholicized” so that it’s safe to pray. Meaning, I took out all content about the saint this prayer was addressed to. Because saints (or Mary) are not moderators between God and mankind. There is only one moderator between God and man, and that’s the human being, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). There is nothing in the Bible that says we should pray to anything besides Jesus Christ, the LORD.

But it’s this prayer that contains the key phrase for the Virtue of Prudence: Perceive that which is to be avoided and that which is to be followed. So much of the Virtue of Prudence lies in making good choices, avoiding what’s unhealthy and following what’s positive. This is a good prayer to pray then, for that kind of Wisdom.

O God, Ruler of the universe, deign to grant that we may become simple as doves and wise as serpents so that through prudent advice and sound judgment we may perceive that which is to be avoided and that which is to be followed in order to happily achieve the great work of our salvation through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

LORD, Please Grant me Wisdom—James 1:5

James 1:5, quoted above, tells us that the LORD gives Wisdom freely to those who ask. What a blessing! So in this short, sweet, and direct prayer (the best kind of prayer), we come straight out and ask for what we want.

LORD, thank You that You give Wisdom freely to those who ask. I ask You for Wisdom now. Please grant me Wisdom, LORD. Please guide me, and show me the best path to take. Please grant me the ability to see the smartest choices. Please grant me the wits to stay out of trouble, staying on the healthiest and holiest path I can. Amen.

Prayer for Wisdom and Discernment

Here’s a prayer I found from a site called “Holy Land Prayer.” This is another prayer that mentions discerning what’s good for us and what isn’t. What to follow and what to avoid. That’s a big part of the Virtue of Prudence right there. So try this prayer out. Again, you can find this at Holy Land Prayer.

Father, I stand before You today to ask for miracles. I pray for enough wisdom Oh Lord, that I will be able to discern which path is right for me and which one I should avoid. God, bless me with wisdom, and thus, give me the ability to make the best judgments in any scenario I find myself.


Again, there are so many options for praying for any Virtue. I could go on and on and on. Everyone is always welcome to leave a comment with prayers of their own.

But once we’re done praying, it’s time to take action (in the physical world). Let’s move on to that now.

Living the Virtue

To cultivate a Virtue, we must also practice it, and do that consistently. Don’t just do it a few times and stop there—stay consistent. That consistency is how you build up a habit. It’s also how you cultivate and strengthen a virtue.

So how can we do that with Prudence? Let’s look at a few practical ideas. And remember: These are only a start! The possibilities are endless. I welcome any comments with good ideas about this.

Here are just a few ideas of how we can live out the Virtue of Prudence in our own lives:

  • Save up money for the short-term (like a savings account) and the long-term (retirement account, etc.)
  • Create a budget to track your spending, and cut out unnecessary purchases
  • Think of the people, music, movies (etc.) in your life and whether they are healthy for you; pray about these things to the LORD
  • And other ideas you can think of!

Building the discipline of saving money is an excellent thing to do. It’s a great place to start building the Virtue of Prudence in our own life. If we save today, we’ll have money to live off of tomorrow. If we squander what we have on unnecessary comforts like video games and fancy phones and cars, we won’t have anything left later. Practice the discipline of setting money aside for short-term savings (like a savings account, etc.) and long-term savings (like a retirement account).

Speaking of phones and cars, it’s Prudent to buy only what we need. Instead of buying the latest, fanciest phone, just buy a phone that’s simple, durable (long-lasting), and cheap. As for cars, look at them as a tool and nothing else. Buy an affordable car that’s safe and gets good gas mileage, not a fancy one that costs a high five figures or even six figures and puts you in expensive debt.

It’s Prudent to buy only what we need, and avoid going into expensive debt buying something we want. It’s Prudent to not go along with consumerism, and to not buy into deceptive advertising that makes us think we want something. Advertising that’s designed to make us feel like if we had that thing being advertised, then we’ll be happy. No! That’s the lie of advertising. No product made here on earth can make us happy, at best they provide enjoyable distractions for some time.

True, lasting happiness comes from God and it’s found within ourselves. It can’t be found anywhere else, and there’s no product to buy that can make us happy. It’s Prudent to understand this, using our money to set ourselves up for a good future and skipping the consumerist purchases.

Saving is Prudent, because it’s a behavior of providing for the future. And looking to the future to prepare as best we can is part of the Virtue of Prudence.

Along with saving, budgeting is a great thing to do. Budgeting is Prudent, because it helps us make the best use of our money and resources. We have to spend to live, there’s no escaping that (for now). But if we make a good budget, we can see where our money’s going and cut out the unnecessary, wasteful expenses. In other words, a budget makes our spending more Prudent.

Next, we can and should cultivate Prudence by taking stock of the people in our lives, as well as what we consume. This includes entertainment, like music and movies. Proverbs tells us to watch who we hang out with, where we go (where our feet take us), what we say, what we think, and what we look at.

I already quoted Proverbs 1:10-19 above. This is the part that tells us to watch who we hang out with, since we become like those we spend time with. We end up doing what they do.

Proverbs 4:25-26 tells us keep our eyes focused, not getting distracted. We also need to watch our feet, being careful where we go. Then we’ll be safe on the path.

(25) Focus your eyes straight ahead;
keep your gaze on what is in front of you.
(26) Watch your feet on the way,
and all your paths will be secure.

Proverbs 4:25-26 (CEB)

So to practice the Virtue of Prudence, we should watch where we go. We should stay away from places where sin is part of the regular program. Places like bars and clubs, for example. Not much good happens in there. They’re full of people indulging in sins of the flesh, mainly lust and gluttony. But also other sins like wrath (think of bar fights). Why should we go to places like this? They encourage sin. Casinos are another example: They’re designed to get people gambling.

This is an example of watching where our feet take us. Let’s practice the Virtue of Prudence, and only go to positive places that enrich us, like church and volunteering. We are cultivating Prudence by choosing not to go to places that encourage sin.

Next, we should take stock of the entertainment we consume, like music and movies. We need to ensure we only consume positive content that encourages and enriches us. Negative content brings our thoughts and our mood down, while demonic content darkens our spirit. I wrote a post about this topic last month, dealing with video games. It’s called “Hell Is no Game,” and you can check that out if you’re interested.

Well, a famous verse in Proverbs 4 tells us we need to guard our mind, our thoughts. If we consume content that influences our thoughts in a negative way, our thoughts and our lives will suffer for it.

(23) More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 (CEB)

Guard the mind! Be careful (Prudent) to consume positive content only. So we can exercise the Virtue of Prudence by removing the negative content from our lives.

As you can see, there are many good ways to start building up the Virtue of Prudence. If we open the Bible and read the Book of Proverbs, that’s an excellent way to start. But as long as we’re thinking of the future, thinking through the consequences of our actions, praying for Wisdom and God’s guidance, and making the best, safest choices we can, then we’re on the right track.

Happy Are those Who Find Wisdom

The Virtue of Prudence is a Virtue that immediately has a positive influence in our lives. Living wisely gives us a better life, one with less unnecessary trouble. Less self-inflicted problems and setbacks. No one is guaranteed a life free of suffering, and God tells us flat-out that He will grant us suffering in our lives, to strengthen us. But by exercising the Virtue of Prudence, we can avoid many problems that non-Prudent people create for themselves.

So the more Prudence we have, the Wiser we are. The Wiser we are, the better our lives. The Bible has much to say about Wisdom—it’s what we should always want! Remember the famous passage from Proverbs 3 about the value of Wisdom:

(13) Happy are those who find wisdom
and those who gain understanding.
(14) Her profit is better than silver,
and her gain better than gold.
(15) Her value exceeds pearls;
all you desire can’t compare with her.
(16) In her right hand is a long life;
in her left are wealth and honor.
(17) Her ways are pleasant;
all her paths are peaceful.
(18) She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who hold her tight are happy.

Proverbs 3:13-18 (CEB)

The Virtue of Prudence makes our lives better, and it starts working quickly. Think about everything we do—who we’re friends with, where we go, the choices we make, and more. Perceive that which is to be followed and that which is to be avoided. Make the choices that lead us closer to God, and further from Satan.

Be Prudent, be smart, be Wise. The benefits are better than any amount of gold or silver. If we have the Virtue of Prudence, we have priceless riches that can never be bought.

The Virtue for next time is Justice. Stay tuned for that and Subscribe to my FREE weekly newsletter with the link below so you’ll never miss a post!!


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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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10 comments on “Victory in Virtue Part 5: Prudence

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