Now that 2013 is here, how are things shaping up? For many, a new year brings hopes, dreams, expectation. However many of those desires are never realized because of a failure to plan. We’ve all heard this before but “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I’d like to offer an acrostic to help those who desire to thrive in 2013 and accomplish more than perhaps ever before.
Jesus stated clearly that he came to offer people life and not just any old ordinary life but a life that is abundant and full. (John 10:10) Even though this if offered to all followers of Christ, many never enter into this promise. Why is that? And how can we get to the place in life that we are experiencing all that God has for us?
To enter into a new year without prayer would be foolish. Moreover attempting to have an abundant life outside of Christ is impossible. Therefore the only way to understand the Lord’s will is to seek Him. As 2013 has arrived, how has your prayer life been? Many times we reserve prayer for simply asking for “things” and occasionally for people to get well or better. We approach God with our wish list and it’s often replete with selfish requests. What if you came to God and asked Him to reveal Himself to you, instead? What if you came to God and asked what His goals are for you this year? In doing this, you may open yourself up to a ton of blessings but there also may be some suffering in obtaining it. Bruce Lee, martial arts master said:
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
It is essentially important in coming to God in real prayer for 2013 that we remain open to God doing in us and through us whatever He desires. As you follow through with 1 Thessalonians 5:17 and pray without ceasing, you will be accomplishing God’s will all along the way.
Years ago Mother Teresa of Calcutta said:
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”
She certainly understood something vital in prayer and that is listening. As you enter into this new year, why not make a resolution to take time to listen for God often? Spending time in silence and solitude is a great way to have a better year and it’s also most certainly one of the better ways for God to impact you personally.
Here are three helpful things as you make your resolutions in prayer:
1) Ask For God’s Glory.
As you come to God looking ahead to a new year, make sure your requests are motivated for God’s glory. Don’t seek things for yourself this year, seek God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Seek to make God’s glory known and ask God how this can best be done through you, your family, your church, your community and your job. Tell God that what you want most is for Him to be glorified through your life in 2013 and then ask Him to show you how.
2) Accept Whatever Answer You Get.
As we pray we can sometimes forget that we don’t know what the best answer is for us. No one really likes to get “no” for an answer. When we pray we must remember that God’s ways are higher and better than anything we could possibly imagine, even in prayer. Take whatever answer you get from God graciously, understanding that God will work everything together for His glory and our good. (Romans 8:28)
3) Listen More Than You Speak.
You may have heard this statement before: God gave you two ears and one mouth so listen more than you speak. With this truth in mind, remember prayer is about relationship as much as entreating God’s blessings. When we come to God is is vitally important to simply listen for His voice, nurturing your relationship and deepening your love and understanding of who God is. (Psalm 46:10)
If you desire to move into 2013 and not only accomplish more but also know God, there is no other place to start than spending time in prayer. It’s not only part of the plan, it’s essential in succeeding in the Christian life.