New years are beautiful and also kind of dreadful. I love the "fresh start" mentality, but I also immediately begin to dread the upcoming failure of 99.9% of my resolutions- which is why I stopped making them a few years ago. Can't fail if you don't try, right?
But then I looked at God's creation. We are constantly greeted with opportunities for new. We get new days, new seasons, new years, new mercies. We are new creations in Christ. God loves creation and new beginnings. He even gives people new names. I love that about him! And I love that he endowed me with that same zeal for beginnings, do-overs, and fresh starts.
So, rather than resolutions, I choose a word and a few goals. Nothing special or new, but this year, I want to be really intentional about TRACKING my prayers and having deeply focused prayer covering every area of my life. I am believing God for some really big things this year, and I don't want to FORGET that I asked for it in the first place.
Have you ever had prayers answered but forgot that it was a prayer? I have. I've found old journals and read back over them. I'm always ASTOUNDED at the number of prayers I lifted up to God... and then forgot about. I moved on from that thing. But he didn't. No prayer is lost or forgotten to our God. It always overwhelms me with gratitude... then I feel a little guilty for having forgotten to praise him for it as soon as it happened.
So, I don't want to keep making that mistake. And I don't want to be flighty about my prayers. If they're important enough to offer up in the first place, they're important enough to keep praying over. The creator of the universe- who SPOKE the infinity of space into existence, who created the sun and butterflies, who handles the movement of the heavens like a perfect orchestration- HE listens to me. He hears my prayers, he loves my prayers, and he answers my prayers, according to his perfect will. What unfathomable gift is that?
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.1 John 5:14-15
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12
Prayer is no consolation prize. It's not created to help you simply unload and move on. It DOES bring comfort, but that's not all that it is. It is SACRED communication with the God of the universe. It's our opportunity to participate in the creation of new things. It is a privilege because of Christ.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ Jeremiah 33:3
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:13
With all of this in mind, my goal is to be extremely intentional and specific with my prayers. I'm choosing a narrow, big deal, prayer in every area of my life. And I'm keeping up with it! I wanted to share a Guided Prayer Journal with you that I made to record my prayer focus and to track it as well. I hope it's helpful to you! Enter your email right below to subscribe and get it today!
Also, our church is currently doing 21 days of prayer and has an incredible Prayer Guide free for download with so much incredible wisdom and information.
With having 4 children ages 13 down to 1, I struggle to find the time and create the discipline to spend time with God. Here are some things I've found that are helpful:
Find/Join/Create a small group focused on prayer. One semester of studying Fervent by Priscilla Shirer surrounded by prayer warriors was an incredible turning point in my faith.
Set a schedule, put it on the calendar, let your spouse know, and be passionate in your defense of it. Our relationship with God is our top priority. The calling as a wife and mother is high. It's impossible to fulfill it faithfully, unto Christ, on an empty tank.
Find a friend and swap kids out. I heard a lady in a podcast talk about this. I would do it if I only had babies still. She and a friend chose a day that worked for them both, and alternating weeks, keep each other's children for 2 hours. They made a pledge to do NOTHING during those 2 hours but spend time in God's word and praying.
Let's do this, Mama! Let's let 2018 be a year overflowing with expectant prayer and joyful abiding in Jesus.
Jesus in. Joy out.