Yup. That time of the year. I need to lose weight. Stop some of my bad habits. Start some better ones.
I’m really not big on the whole New Year’s resolution thing. I do believe in reflecting on my life, giving serious consideration to making positive changes, putting a plan in place and being committed to something. Ok, you add all that up and it sound like a “resolution”, so maybe I’m not so opposed to the concept. I guess maybe I don’t like to simply follow the crowd and agree that I do like resolutions.
Going into 2013, I asked for God to inconvenience me. You got it. I actually prayed to God that He would do that. Why? See, I experienced how He made great progress in my life in the area of finances in the previous few years of my life as I started backing off from living for my own consumption and pleasure. Instead I became more generous. He freed me up to live without fear of financial failure, provided for all of our needs and even blessed us financially in ways I didn’t expect. That’s an important point. Let’s be clear; I didn’t pray for more money; I prayed to not be held captive by money and “stuff” any longer.
It has been working.
Going into the year 2013, I recognized the next battlefield for me was time. My time. I probably hold a tighter grip on this than my wallet. That’s when I asked to be inconvenienced. After all, isn’t that the opposite of being in complete control of your own calendar?
A funny thing happened on the way back from a homeless shelter…
I saw a panhandler on a corner with a cardboard sign. I had some gift cards with me that can be redeemed for a meal, but I was three lanes away from the guy so I had no way to give him one. Then it hit me. Drive forward another block, make a three right turns, pull into a parking lot, jog the last block, cross the street and deliver the gift card.
“Inconvenience me, Jesus”.
I spent the rest of the year doing this time and time again. Whenever I saw a pan handler, I made a serious effort to connect even when doing so was difficult, time consuming and frankly a real hassle. Nope, I wasn’t 100% (true confession, here) however there were dozens of occasions that I know without this resolve I would have simply passed them by.
So how about 2016?
There are volumes written on folks from scripture that had resolve. Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son, Isaac. Moses 40 years on the lamb from the Egyptians, then returned to free his people. David faced down the giant Goliath, became king, slipped into adulterous temptation, repented and returned to greatness. Peter fulfilled Jesus’ prophesy of saying they weren’t known to each other, then became the rock of the church, key to delivering Jesus’ message throughout the known world. We could go on and on. Great accounts of great people, made great because of their faith and following of God. They were people that had a firm determination to do something. People of action. People that had resolve.
Drawing a line between their character and experiences, we have several dots that could be connected. Repentance, faith, boldness, trust in God….but one I hadn’t thought much about before. Seems silly to think I hadn’t come to this before.
Prayer. How about prayer?
Every single great man or woman of faith recorded in scripture shared this single thing. They prayed. They communicated with God. They had a relationship with him that required and desired contact with Him. And even when slipping up, which seemed to almost always happen, they prayed.
There. I’ve been thinking of what to focus on for my new year of 2016 and what my resolve ought to be. Prayer seems to be what has been on my heart. I don’t even know what that means. I already pray. Could I pray more. Sure, couldn’t everyone? I spend time alone with God in the mornings. Ok, most mornings. I pray then. Ok, most days.
I don’t think this urging is about the quantity of prayer. Like that I need to keep a scorecard of how often I pray then check to see that I’m at a reasonable percent of my total days for the month. That would be great to know that if I could reach a pre-prescribed amount of days prayed, then I know “I’m good” with God. I believe that would miss the point entirely.
The point is…..I don’t know what the point is. I just think that God seems to be leading me into examining my prayer life. What does that mean? Hmmm….
So for me to get started, I’m going to re-read a book that I’ve read once before. It has a clever title. “Prayer”, written by Phillip Yancey. I like Yancey’s writing and since the book is aptly named, I’m going to start there. And I’m going to pray about this; I’m going to pray about prayer – to see where the His spirit lead me.
You can find “Prayer” by Phillip Yancey book on Amazon at this link: Yancey’s book entitled “Prayer”
Any keen observations, findings or discoveries will be recorded on this blog. But for now, I’ll be praying.
How about you?
Choosing anything to be resolved about for 2016? How about prayer? Care to join me?