Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all of the blessings you gave me last year. I don’t always stop and say, “Thanks,” when you give them to me. Partly because I forget to and partly because I don’t always recognize them. I know that you bring things into my life and take them out as part of your plan. I confess that I don’t always understand your plan so I don’t always agree with what you do. This year, I pray that you open my eyes to see your plan better and help me to accept it even though I may not understand it.
As I look back on the past year, there were a lot of victories, but there were also significant losses. At times, I was broken to the point where I couldn’t see your hand in the situations. I didn’t know if I could go on, but you were faithful to stand by my side in the darkest valley. Your Holy Spirit was my comforter and my encourager. You lifted my head and gave me the strength to get back up. In the coming year, I pray that you would be my guide through valleys and mountain tops. Lead me where you want me to go and I will follow.
As this new year starts, I want to recommit my whole self to you. I give you my heart, my soul, my past, my present and my future. I can’t change the things that have happened in the past, but I can give you control over how I think about them. Help me to walk in your freedom this year. Remove any chains that are holding me back and help me to strip off any weights that are slowing me down. I want to be free to serve the way you want me to. I want to live this year for your purpose so I can find more of mine.
I don’t know what this year will bring, but to you, it’s already history. You know each step I will take. I pray that you will use your Word to be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Give me the courage to step out in faith when you call me and the patience to stand still as I wait to hear your voice. My desire is to be more obedient to your will this year than in any other year of my life. I know that’s not an easy thing to do, but when the next year rolls around I want you to be able to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I pray that you will continue to bless me and my family so that we can be a blessing to others. I pray that you would use us to do the miraculous and to be the answer to the prayers of others. May your light shine through our lives brighter than ever so that when people see us, they see you. Help us to be a reflection of you through our words and actions. Use us to point others to the cross and to encourage them through your Word. We give you permission to do with our lives this year as you see fit. Make us a city on a hill that can’t be hidden and salt that brings flavor to the world if those we connect with.
In the name of jesus I pray,
At the end of each year, I like to reflect on where I started the year, all that happened in the year and then ask myself if I accomplished all that God had for me in that year. Reflection is as much about looking forward as it is looking back. It gives us the opportunity to celebrate the victories God has given us, to see whom God brought into our lives or took out and to see where we have fallen short of our goals. I think it’s important for each person to ask themselves, “Did I do things this year that moved me closer or farther away from God’s plan? Did I accomplish the things He wanted me to do?”
I believe God has a plan for each one of us (Jeremiah 29:11). We all have different talents and gifts that God has given us (I Corinthians 12:7). The question is, do you know what gifts God has given you and are you using them for His purpose? Have you found out how they fit into His plan for your life? You were put on this earth for a purpose. Your life matters to God and to others. A big source of dissatisfaction is not doing what you were made to do.
If you don’t know yet what you were made to do, ask yourself, “When do I feel the most alive? What brings me the most joy?” Contrary to what you might think, God doesn’t ask us to do the things we hate. You are most productive when you are doing what you love. God understands that so He typically asks us to do the things that we love. He just wants us to use them for His glory, not ours. He wants to use us to grow the Kingdom and to encourage others using the gifts He has given you. He’s put something in each of us. It’s our responsibility to find out what it is.
Bob Goff, who is one of my favorite authors, often tells people, “Find out what God made you to do, then go out and do a bunch of that.” It sounds simple enough, but the finding out is the hard part for so many. God did not create us to arrive safely at death. He created us to go out and do. When you get out and do things, there’s going to be wrecks, scars, bumps and bruises. That’s ok. It’s in those times that life is happening. It’s in those things that we define our purpose and find out reason to do more. We shouldn’t let them sideline us. We should let them push us to do more.
I don’t know what gifts God put inside of you. I just know they’re unique to you. I don’t know what God’s plan is for your life. I just know it’s part of a larger plan and your role is critical to the overall success of His greater plan. It’s up to each one of us to reflect on where we’ve been to see where we’re going. It’s up to each one of us to find that thing that brings us joy and then to figure out how to use that for God’s purpose. For me, asking myself the tough questions during a time of reflection gives me the ability to move forward and to do more. I hope you make your greatest impact for the Kingdom in the coming year.