When the New Year starts, many of us dive headfirst into a flurry of activities, resolutions, and goals. We promise ourselves that this year will be different, that if only we are a little better than last year everything will change. Often, we see no grace in these resolutions, no allowance for slip-ups or accidents – we are to stick to our resolutions no matter the circumstance. If we fail, we have (in a way) failed for the year, have fallen back into old patterns where there is nowhere to go except to wait for the next year when we can start again.
But what if there was a different way, one that promised to change our lives not by our own efforts and not by a whirlwind of our own activities and efforts, but by quiet reflection? What if what we really needed was a time where we listen for the quiet voice of God rather than relying on our own busyness to instruct us? A resolution to strengthen your prayer relationship with God is one that’s forgiving: this is about a relationship, not a quota, not a certain number. This is about you making time for the best and purest relationship that you’ll ever have with the very essence of mercy and forgiveness.
Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker 40 Day Prayer Challenge is a great guide to start a fulfilling prayer-life in the New Year. By reading it, you’ll be encouraged to not only dedicate a portion of your day to prayer, but you will also be inspired with daily devotionals that can help you focus on a topic for your daily prayer time, topics like surrender and praise.
A prayer journal can also be helpful in helping you keep track of how the Lord is leading you into different areas of your life. Written prayer can often make prayer feel even more tangible and can open up new topics in your life that you might have never known you were thinking about.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are encouraged to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Prayer is something that not only strengthens our personal relationship with Christ, but it also helps us become parallel with the will of God. So, let’s make 2013 one that is about a quiet, small voice rather than the bustle of impossible goals. Let’s make 2013 the time where we focus on a relationship with the Maker of the universe.