By Alex Kendrick
Each January, well-meaning individuals make numerous resolutions to improve some aspect of their lives. Eat healthy, exercise daily, spend more time with family, save more money.
While many of these resolutions dry up by the end of the month, some become healthy new habits that benefit the person in numerous ways. If prayer is not already a priority in your daily life, allow me to offer why and how to make prayer a new habit for you in the new year.
Prayer should come before all major decisions, before your times of worship, and before you engage in the many activities of your day. It should be the priority, for it links you to the One who can guide you, protect you, provide for you, and mold your heart for His glory.
As you enter a new year, find a place in your home to spend time with God each day. Choose a place free from distractions. No TV, radio, or computer should be nearby, and your phone should only be used for emergencies.
You have to protect this place and time to spend with the Lord. Make Him the top priority, and then try using the following ideas as you seek and fellowship with Him.
Read a chapter or two of Scripture. For some, reading chronologically through the Bible is preferred. For others, focusing on the Psalms, Proverbs, or passages in the New Testament is helpful. But don’t read too fast.
Ask God for wisdom and understanding as you read, then write down what impacts you that day. Think of it as “seeking God” Himself and getting to know Him. Then spend time in prayer. The following focus points may be helpful as you pray.
Adoration — Start by acknowledging God for who He is (Creator, Provider, Protector, Healer, Judge, etc.). Worship and praise Him. Don’t ask anything from Him at this point, just adore and honor Him with your lips and with your heart. Sing to Him if you desire to do so. But take this time to express your love for Him.
Confession — Get honest about calling sin what it really is—sin. Confess to God whatever He brings to your mind as the Holy Spirit moves through your heart. Don’t play games with Him or try to excuse wrongful thoughts or actions. Instead, be honest with Him. Then ask for forgiveness and for help to overcome this sin in the future.
Thanksgiving — Express your gratefulness to the Lord for all He has done in your life. Even the lessons learned from bad circumstances. Thank Him for the very opportunity to live life! Whatever comes to mind, thank Him for it, and allow your heart to be grateful, even when working through pain or uncertainty.
Supplication — This is where you make requests of the Lord. But in doing so, make sure your requests are honoring to Him. He is not a genie in a lamp, but the God of the universe who loves you and desires a relationship with you. As your requests please Him, He will answer them in His timing. So ask away!
I hope this inspires and helps you in your daily time with the Lord, and as you apply these concepts, may God richly bless you and draw you closer to Him.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
ALEX KENDRICK (@KendrickBros) is the writer and director of War Room and co-author of The Battle Plan for Prayer: Attacking Life’s Struggles Through Prayer, published by B&H Publishing Group (2015).