Preparing for the New Year!
Not only is 2020 a new year, it begins a new decade. Along with the typical commitments most of us make (like eating and exercise, spending more wisely, etc.), I wanted to do something extra special.
Do you want to pray with me for 20/20 spiritual vision in the coming decade?
Inspired by Job’s words, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5), I have some things I will be praying on this first day of the new year. Perhaps you want to join me.
- To see God more clearly: We can know about Him, but not know Him well. We can know stuff in our heads, but not our hearts. I want to see Him in truth, not have a distorted view fed to me by others or my own inadequacies.
- To see the souls of people more clearly: I can still be deceived into thinking the rich are doing okay because they have homes and jobs and children that attend good schools. Let’s pray to not see any distinction between any two people, no matter their station in life. All people who do not have Jesus have nothing beyond this brief life. Let’s not forget that.
- To see my need for Him every day: I too can roll out of bed and get going on the tasks of the day without going face-down before Him, expressing my dependence on Him and inviting Him into my day. How foolish of me. Like you, I have checked my phone before checking in with my Bible and have gotten distracted by scrolling through photos of other people’s lives instead of reading words of life for my own.
- To see more of His gifts: I keep a thank you journal filled with bullet point lists of good things God did for me each day. I am stunned every single day by what good things I forget until I stop and think with a pencil in my hand. Even though this practice instills gratitude in me and makes me feel seen by God even on the worst days, I know I still miss a million things. I can still get sucked into the dismal and fleeting circumstances that invade all of our lives. I want to see even more of God’s interventions. I want more joy in Him.
- To see people: I want to focus fully on the person I am interacting with as they stand in front of me. Though I have improved greatly by intentionally working on this, I still sometimes interrupt, am still guilty of thinking about what to say next instead of really listening, can be distracted by what is going on around me, and am still too often impatient. May God grant me greater ability to fully focus on people when I am with them, treating them with personalized care, like Jesus exemplified.
- To see opportunity: God puts people in our paths all day long that He wants us to interact with a point to Jesus, yet I know I miss so many opportunities in my rush and distraction. I want to see and seize more of the opportunities. I want to talk about my faith more regularly and naturally everywhere I go.
My prayer list requires slowing down.
Notice that each of my requests for better spiritual eyesight in the coming decade require slowing down some more. One of the most memorable sentences spoken to me this year was this: You are very slow and thorough. I don’t have the life to be able to do that. I have pondered those words quite a bit. Truth is, I think my life occurs at break-neck speed like everyone else’s but I have intentionally slowed down my response time to things over the years in an effort to stay in step with God instead of reacting in my flesh or in the emotion of the moment. When I feel rushed or stressed, I have been intentionally taking a breath and pulling myself back into the moment I am actually in, concentrating on God giving me the strength to do what He is asking of me right then.
As much as I have improved, I believe God is asking me to downshift again. Because I can still rush. I can still respond poorly. I can still tackle a to-do list prematurely.
May we all slow down one more notch to live toward 20/20 in 2020.
Perhaps this list is not what you need in the coming year, so consider making your own list. Let’s raise a chorus of prayer to Him this week as one year ends and another begins.
I pray He shows up for each of you.
If you are wanting to track with this blog, know I am fully aware that I am dependent on Him alone for this space to make any difference in His Story at all.
Picture Explanation: Last month my mom turned 80 and my dad is a New Year’s baby who gets celebrated this week! I am so grateful for the opportunity to still pick up the phone and talk with them if I want to, and I have been known to want to several times a week! My brothers and I (David is pictured above and Dan has passed away) were blessed with great parents.
© 2019 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
What an awesome list.
When I read your first paragraph, I first thought you were going to ask pray for things outside ourselves, such as praying for our political leaders to lead us better, climate change, world peace.
I love how you instead focus on how each one of us individually can change from our hearts (instead of focusing on how we want others to change). We have more control over ourselves and can therefore hopefully have more success at changing our own selves … Ultimately we don’t have control over how others act.
Thank you for this comment. I appreciate that more than you know. I am kind of lonely in my thinking about prioritizing prayer for our own hearts. I think it’s viewed generally as selfish, but God promises we will bear much fruit if we abide in Him. In order to abide, our hearts have to be squeaky clean and open before Him. To get and keep a heart like that, I think it means we need to let Him scrub the dirt out.
You have been following this blog for a long time. Thank you, and Happy New Year.
Thank you for sharing your heart. I just bought myself a journal for the new year, not fully knowing how I was going to use it. We’re going on this year’s Israel trip with a group of church members and we’re constantly being reminded by the leader that it’s a pilgrimage. I thought maybe I’d use the journal on the trip, but now, I realize that more importantly, I’ll use it in preparation for the pilgrimage. I often tell my students that if they’re not looking for something, then it’s not likely that they’ll find it. We all could spend more time “looking for something” in the Word. That’s when God can actually show us the most.
I love your perspective, Carla! May God show up in your 2020 pilgrimage. Lord, delight her, please.
Agreed. Praying for better vision for all of us, Laurie! Happy New Year to your family!
My vision prayers have begun for us all. Thanks for praying mighty things as well. Happy New Year.