Starting 2016 with Prayer

Here it is– another new year. So far I’ve been pretty successful with writing “2016” when it is called for, which feels like an accomplishment!

I don’t feel very accomplished when it comes to this blog– seeing that it’s 25 days into January and this is my first post– but hopefully the motivation will pick up before long. I do have things I want to write about. (And please feel free to give me ideas- I neeeed more ideas!)

This year feels like it’s gotten off to a late start for me, which is kind of silly because the year starts whether you’re ready or not! But exactly 2 weeks after Christmas Mike and I took off on a cruise vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary (which was in July). We were gone for almost 2 weeks and it felt like an extended Christmas in a way. After a 3-day work week and a relaxing weekend, today we are officially back to “real life.”

my own photo, taken at Orient Beach in St. Martin

my own photo, taken at Orient Beach in St. Martin

Although I suppose “real life” actually started yesterday when we were back at church, finally! As a ministry couple it’s extremely rare for us to miss 2 Sundays in a row, but our cruise went from Sunday to Sunday so we found ourselves away from our church family for longer than usual. Our church is in the middle of an exciting time of refocusing around updated core values, and while I was sad to have to miss the first couple of sermons on these values (thankfully I can catch up online!) I was happy to be back for the message on prayer.

As 2015 was winding down, I felt the need for revitalized prayer habits and structure. I found myself forgetting things that I meant to pray for, or found my list to be too long to really dig into each day. I knew I needed to do a better job of managing my time, my list, and my focus.

Our pastor’s message on prayer yesterday provided great motivation for me through the truth of God’s Word. (Click here and then on “We Believe God Answers Prayer” to listen.) Because I believe God is the source of my life (and all life), because I want my relationship with him to be my top priority, and because God graciously hears and answers prayer, I know I must pray. I must turn to God daily in praise, thanksgiving, supplication, and to listen and learn.

It’s been on my heart for a while as I listened to God and other Christians that with so much to be thankful for and so many requests for myself and others, and really for the world– in other words, with so much to pray for– I needed to plan things out a little better in order to get more out of the time I spend with my Creator. Specifically, I wanted to create a different list for each day rather than using the same list every day… which kept getting longer and longer, and would make prayer time seem like a more and more daunting task. As I write, list organization does not seem like a particularly deep or emotional way to relate to prayer, but in a roundabout way it is.

See, as I have spent more time in the Word learning about God, as I have felt more of his guidance and seen more of his grace in my life, I naturally want to pray more, and I want to pray about more. But I would forget, or run out of time, or whatever. So it seems that to re-organize and re-focus is what my prayer life needs right now.

I wouldn’t call it a “resolution,” per se, but I am starting the year off (albeit late) with the goal of adhering to a daily prayer time with a more detailed and focused plan. Each day I will focus on…

-an attribute of God from Scripture

-someone or something or some part of life I am thankful for

-requests relating to that same category

-confession of sin

-prayer for specific needs &/or current events

Those categories may change over time, but it’s what I’m starting with. I’m also not sure exactly which method will be best for writing down these daily plans, but for now I’ve been inspired by a menu planning notepad that I found in my basement. I’m considering a notebook or planner, too, but we’ll see how it takes shape. I could get hung up on those details forever, but I don’t want that to keep me from getting started.

File Jan 25, 10 13 58 AM

My “new” prayer planning notepad!

Speaking of, I should wrap up so I can go use my re-organized, re-focused list for Monday!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Happy New Year to you! I’d love to hear from you. How do you plan for prayer in your life? What methods do you use to track and/or organize? Are you a journaler, a list-maker…..?

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