Many people ring in the New Year with a fun party and a list of New Year's Resolutions. That list encompasses their goals for the year to come. While I love to set goals in every area of my life, and I always appreciate the "new beginning" a new year ushers in, every New Year's Day I do something just a little bit different. I thought I'd share this idea this morning, one I learned from a speaker on the Power of Prayer at the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center. Here's a new way to usher out your "old year" and bring in the "new". This is also especially great to try with your children as it really helps them to focus on the power of prayer and being grateful for God's blessings.
So here's the exercise:
On the first day of every new year I get out two pieces of paper, some colored pencils and markers, and some stickers.
On one page I write the words:
"Thank You!" Page
On the second page I write the words:
Prayer Requests for the New Year
On the first page I thank God for all of the blessings He has given me during the last year. I even go back to my prayer requests from the previous year and look at what He has done and thank Him for all of the blessings.
When I look at my prayer requests as 2010 started I am AMAZED at how God came through, how the yearnings of my heart were answered, how He knew what I needed, even when I didn't. I've always thought that prayer was powerful. I pray every morning and keep a list of people to pray for and the specific needs that they have.
I also include my own specific requests. For example, one of my specific prayer requests every morning in 2010 was that Amy would get relief from the horrible pain she suffered as a result of a car accident. I asked God to bring a specific doctor, Dr. Weigle, to help Amy. I wrote this down on January 1, 2010. And low and behold, God is answering that prayer.
At the start of 2010, I asked God for healing in specific relationships (the details are personal) where all seemed lost and hopeless. God's healing in these realtionships has been nothing short of a miracle.
So, this morning on my "Thank You!" Page I have been writing down all the things I want to thank God for...all of the blessings bestowed on me, His daughter. I am thanking Him for my job, for my friendships, for help with struggles and relief from worry, for changes at work, for a new attitude, for optimism about an illness, for a new and closer relationship with HIm.
On the second page, I write down my new Prayer Requests for 2011. God promises me in Psalms that He is an "ever present help in trouble". He also promises me that He will know the cry of my heart and what I really yearn for.
Once again I am writing down prayer requests for myself and others...anticipating that in God's perfect timing I will once again see how He answers these prayers too.
I keep these pages from year to year so I can go back and look and see how God is moving in my life and the lives of those I love, care about, and am praying for! When I look at the list from 2009, I am amazed at His grace. As I write the list for 2011, I anticipate how He will answer these prayers too. I hold to the quote that if I have faith, even as small as a mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible.
And that, for me, is a GREAT way to usher in 2011!!
Want to give this a try? It's a meaningful way to grow your faith and see the power of prayer!
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