In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.Proverbs 16.9
This week we are all testing the waters of 2018. While I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions per say, I do think it is important that we set out with purpose as we look to the new year. But instead of leaving the coming year’s plans to myself (my feeble attempts, overly distracted brain and my ever so fragile resolve) I am leaving my purposes in far greater Hands. In the Hands of the One who directs our path.
Instead of resolutions, I am making praysolutions.
Yup. I made up a cheesy word for it.
That said, I challenge you as you consider this new year: decide to make it a year of prayer. Make this a year where – whatever you resolve to do – you cover it with an equal amount of prayer.
I’m reminded of that super intimidating quote by Martin Luther, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” And while most of us are equal parts impressed/convicted by that quote, there is an undeniable truth in it. Jesus spent large amounts of time during His earthly ministry showing his disciples (and us!) how important it is to get time alone to pray.
So let’s make 2018 a year where we too, go off alone to pray.
But, in case you are a little like me and aren’t quite a prayer rockstar yet, I suggest starting with a plan. Take some time this week to get with the Lord to discuss the coming year. If you’re like me you may spend the first little while telling the Lord about the things you really care about for this coming year – what you’d like to see happen. I like to really dream big, think of the things that seem just absolutely impossible (after all, we’ve got 365 days to pray about these things!). But then it’s time to stop and listen.
What does the Lord want you to pray over this year?
Now it’s time to get out a pen and write this stuff down! Remember, this is not novel writing time. This has to be a list of prayers that can be looked at on a daily or at the very least a weekly basis. Don’t make it so dense and War-and-Peace-like that it’ll be impossible to commit to!
The important thing to do is to make this covenant (a mutual promise, if you will) with God that these things will be important to you both.
I try to make sure that I cover a few important areas in my life when asking the Lord what I should pray for:
- Personal: What does the Lord have for my relationship with Him? My family? My personal life? What are those personal goals that you want to lay at the feet of Jesus?
- In the Harvest: Who do you want to see saved? How many do you want to see baptized? How do you want to see your workplace changed dramatically this year? Who do you want to see moved into that empty apartment next to you? Storm the gates of heaven for the Lost!
- In the Kingdom: Who needs healing? Who’s marriage needs saving? Who’s ministry do you want to see take off? Who is your spiritual leader and what miracle do they need in their life? Intercede for your people!
Even as I type this my mind is overwhelmed with prayer needs. Boy, there is so much possibility! But for our sake, let’s try to keep it to a list that, if pressed, you could actually pray over every single day. I make sure my prayersolutions fit on one index card that fits neatly inside my daily planner.
I’ve had an index card for 5 years now and it is great to look back at them- many of those prayers have a little note next to them saying what month the prayer was answered! What an encouragement to look back on baptisms, healings, new churches and relationships restored- it also gives me resolve to see the repeats-the things that have moved from card to card- I have prayed for one couple struggling with infertility for years, same goes for a friend with a incurable illness! But while these things may seem impossible, and maybe I’m not faithful to pray for them every single day- we serve a faithful Father in heaven and He is never late.
I can say without question that in 2018 He will show Himself worthy of all our prayers, He will reveal His glory. The only question is, will we be a part of it? Will we be there to mark the day?
However you go about praying this year, I hope you’ll join me in making it a part of your daily Walk with the Lord.