Milestones. We plan our lives around them.
The beginning of the new year is one of those milestones that is a chance to wipe the slate clean. We can leave the past behind, and start something new. The idea bares some resemblance to 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
The previous year is gone. The new year lies ahead of us — full of possibilities and opportunities. What changes do you want to make in your life this year? Maybe it’s a fitness, professional, or spiritual goal. The new year offers a unique opportunity to refocus. And one thing that can make an impact in many facets of your life is a refocus on prayer. Here are three ways you can refocus, recharge and rely on your prayer life as a grounding force to your day.
1. Set Aside a Time, but Have a Contingency Plan
As humans, we are creatures of habit. The new year is usually a time to review our habits and routines, and see what we could add or subtract. A different mindset might help your approach here. Instead of setting a goal to “spend 15-30 minutes each morning in the Word and in prayer,” choose to focus your life on seeking God’s will. It can be easy to get in a rut of “checking the box” on a goal. But if you’re choosing a lifestyle instead of reallocating time to a goal, it might be easier for you to prioritize your day. As it says in James 4:8a (NIV), “draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
That being said, look at your schedule. When do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media? When do you have some time to yourself? Is there a TV show that you could do without? Choose a time where you can be alone and talk with God. It might be hardest for parents with young children to find or make time. But perhaps your children have a regular nap time or go to a school or playtime for a few hours each day. Whatever stage of life you’re in, look at your daily routine and find a time that will work best for you.
However, understand that schedules change, and life can get in the way. So, have a backup plan. Do you have a commute to work where you could talk with God and listen to inspirational music? Do you get a lunch break where you could get away from your desk? Or maybe you could make prayer a part of your routine at bedtime.
We can rely on the fact that “the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18 NIV). Choose a time and place that you can draw near to Him each day.
2. Use Scripture as a Guide
A powerful way to “draw near to God” during your prayer time is by seeking wisdom in God’s Word. Psalm 119:105 (NIV) says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” God’s Word illuminates our life’s path. And 2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) reminds us that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” When we’re listening to God and looking to his Word for guidance, we will be equipped with what we need.
And even if you don’t know what to pray for all the time, read and think about God’s truth and allow the Holy Spirit to intercede on your behalf. Romans 8:26 (NIV) tells us that “in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” You may not always have the words to say, but for those who have given their life to Christ, the Holy Spirit is able to speak for them. You can rest in the truth of God’s Word.
3. Start a Prayer Journal
Journaling isn’t a natural habit for all of us. Even if the act of journaling may not seem like something you’re interested in doing, keeping track of your prayers is a reminder of what God is doing in your life. You can use a journal or notebook to write down:
- The scripture you’re reading
- How you praise God
- Thanksgiving for the ways God has blessed you
- The prayers you’re lifting up
- The ways that your prayers have been answered
Our prayers aren’t always quickly answered. So having a place to write down what God is doing in your life is a way to see how He is moving and providing answers to the prayers you raise up to Him. If you need help starting a prayer journal, take a look at this resource from Guideposts for help.
The Christian Prayer Breakfast Fort Worth Tarrant County believes that there is power in prayer, and where two or three gather in God’s name that He is with them (Matthew 18:20 NIV). This is why we gather each year to pray for our local, state and national leaders, while also hearing an inspiring message that shares the gospel of Jesus. Learn more about the organization’s annual prayer breakfast, and we hope you’ll join us.