“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:6-8 TPT
Do you set New Year’s resolutions? Many of us do. In a 2017 online survey of adults 18 and older across America, the top two resolutions for 2018 were to save money (53%) and lose weight (45%). It’s a telling survey. As a society we worry about our finances, and we worry about our appearances and health.
I’ve always loved this time of year. Like many of you I’m a planner, and I began setting some big goals for this year back in November. There’s nothing more enticing to me than calendar pages with empty spaces and I ordered mine early.
This year I approached goal-setting a bit differently. Using Lara Casey’s Powersheets system, I broke things down into 8 categories: spiritual, health, spouse, family, work, financial, friends and recreation. I assessed how I was doing at the end of 2018 in each category and wrote down the things I wanted to cultivate in the New Year. It was eye-opening.
One Key Question
Then I asked myself this one key question. “Where do I want to be when I’m 80? What will and won’t be important to me then?”
This one question has been a game changer.
Like many of you, I want to have a positive impact on our world. I want to see God’s kingdom come in all it’s wide-eyed glory.
But what could that look like for me at 80 years young?
It could look like sowing good seed into the lives God has given me to love.
It could look like the giving of grace, for myself and others.
It could look like treating my body as if it truly is the temple of Holy Spirit.
It could look like tending a financial legacy for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
It could look like daily gratitude.
It could look like ever-increasing faith and unwavering hope.
It could look like believing God for the impossible.
It All Starts with Prayer.
It’s the little-by-little conversations we have with our loving Father that make all the difference in our lives. In order to see the kingdom come in our communities, we must see the kingdom first come in us. Once we see the kingdom manifested in our homes and families, then we are positioned to see His kingdom manifest in our community. When we are faithful with little, He blesses us with much.
When Mother Teresa was asked how to change the world she wisely answered, “Let us love one another as God loves each of us. And where does this love begin? In your own home. How does it begin? By praying together.”
When we still ourselves to read His word and tune into His voice everything changes. Regularly meeting with Him results in His dreams and desires being birthed in our hearts. Deep soul-wounds are healed. We learn to forgive. He gives us His joy and releases His peace. We discover an identity in Him that far surpasses any accolades or trophies the world could shower upon us and we become kingdom-minded. Before you know it, we become bright cities on a hill, piercing the darkness for the whole world to see (Matthew 5:14).
Tips to Cultivate a Lifestyle of Prayer
Whether you’re new to prayer or a veteran, here are five simple tips to help you cultivate a lifestyle of prayer in 2019.
- Prepare for distractions.
Sometimes when I sit down to be with the Lord I’m hit by various thoughts and distractions. These can be things I need to remember to do, groceries I need to buy, etc. Have a piece of paper next to you to capture these random thoughts so you can still yourself again to be with the Lord.
- Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with
praise. (Psalm 100:4)
Simply say, “Good morning Lord, thank you for……” and tell Him what’s on your heart that makes you want to celebrate – big or small. Praise Him for the things He’s doing in you and around you in this season. Praise Him for His faithfulness!
- Ask, seek and knock. (Matthew 7:7)
This is the year to come boldly to the throne of grace and ask for the things you need. How many times did Jesus ask sick people what they wanted of Him before He offered healing? He knows when we’re sick or heartbroken but still waits for an invitation to intervene. Come boldly with your requests and ask for the things you need. Seek His face. Knock and watch Him open the door to you.
- Practice listening. (Jeremiah 33:3)
We’ve all experienced having a one-sided conversation. Once you’ve praised and prayed, be still and simply listen. Like any good relationship, good conversation back and forth is key. Jesus is the “Word,” and I promise He has something to say to you!
- Write it down. (Habakkuk 2:2)
It’s important that we’re recording the things He’s showing us and saying to us, not just for ourselves, but for future generations. Whether you journal using paper/pen or digitally, use a system that works for you that you’ll be excited to engage with on a daily basis.
Like a body-builder gaining muscle from regular workouts with weights, we build spiritual muscle and fortitude in the wait. Little by little, our daily engagement with the heart of the Father through prayer will serve us well in 2019.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!
Lori Anderson-Bowen is the co-director for the Christian Chamber of Commerce (C3) in Charleston and a publisher with Best Version Media. Her passion is to see the Church connect with the heart of God in practical, life-giving ways. She can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 843-513-5392