Reflection seems to be a common state this time of year. As the New Year approaches, we look back on the past year and wonder what the new one will bring. Over the last few years God has led me to take this last week of December and the first week of January to spend time focused on what He wants to accomplish in the next year. I encourage you to do the same so that you can enter 2009 prepared and ready to join God in his plan.
These are the areas I focus on:
- Me. What adjustments do I need to make in my life in the areas of Bible study, service, prayer and fasting, and obedience to what God is calling me to do. As a writer, this is a constant struggle to stay on track and keep my words serving Him, which makes his guidance so valuable a reference point when I veer off track.
- My husband. Besides my constant prayers for his salvation, I ask God specifically for ways I can and should be praying for my husband throughout the new year. Interestingly enough, this has changed each year in regards to my husband’s future salvation and my growing belief that God will soon bring this to pass. For example, last year God told me to change my prayers from asking to thanking God for putting my husband’s salvation into place and to claim it.
- My children. My constant prayer for them is always protection and a deepening faith, but I also want to be sensitive to what God is doing in their lives. Along with my own concerns, I ask God to show what areas I need to cover in prayer for the upcoming year. This also gives me insight to what the year will hold for them.
- Extended family. Who in your family needs special prayers for the coming year? This is a good time to make a list (not too long or you’ll be overwhelmed) of those who don’t believe, are struggling in their lives, or are ill.
- Friends. How can I be praying and uplifting the special people in my life? Praying for them keeps me closer to them as well.
- Missionary. Do you have a cause or missionary you support? Put it down and make a commitment to pray for them. (Include your pastor here too!)
- World. Is there an area God is calling you to pray for on a larger scope? I will say this is the first year I’ve felt led to pray for a president, but I’m committed to praying for President Elect Obama.
Finally, write it all down. I assign a day of the week to each area (Monday for my immediate family, Tuesdays for extended family, etc.) Give each day a page and list who and what you’re praying for. Then leave space to write in updates during the year. This will help you reassess the following year as well.
Also jot down any promises God gives you in these areas so that you can go back and read them when you find yourself discouraged or off track. You’ll be amazed how much strength you can draw from these reminders that God is personally involved in every aspect of our lives.
I hope this helps you bring in the New Year with new hope and determination to serve our amazing God by serving others. Sometimes our circumstances leave us little time to do more than pray, but what greater gift can we give those we love and honor in the coming year?