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Happy New Year!Resolution? – No, Goals – Yes!

December 30, 2016 0 Comments

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I Do set goals for myself each year.   I believe without goals, there is no direction in my life, nothing to work towards.

But, it begins before the new year. . .

Every year at Christmas, our family gathers together to have a birthday party for Jesus.   We light candles on a cake and sing Happy Birthday and we each give a present to Jesus.  We began this tradition in my home when I was a kid and I brought the tradition into our marriage.

Each person has a small box with wrapping on the lid and box so it can be opened each year.   We pray and think about what we want to give to Jesus as our personal present for Him.  Then each family member, children included, write down what they will give Him during the next year to grow spiritually, date it, and put into their present for Jesus.  We pray and dedicate our goals to Him.

Some examples for the children – follow His directive to obey their parents, not lie, do their chores without complaining, etc.   We adults may give Jesus more of our trust, time, devotion and praise.   It’s up to each person and how the Holy Spirit is leading.

My gift to Jesus this year was to trust Him more.  I have been thinking about that the last few days and praying about what that looks like.

Prayer!    God has been speaking to me about my prayer life. As I pray, I will learn to trust Him more.

Yes, I’m in prayer continually throughout the day and I believe in the power of prayer.  But, I think I am lax in my daily “prayer closet” time.  Our prayer closets are where we not only praise God and thank Him, but it’s where we plead for ourselves and others.  Our prayer closet should be a place for our un-divided attention to be focused only on Him.

Satan is a great deceiver and He loves to scuttle our prayer life.  I have asked God to show me what keeps me from praying passionately.

Maybe you struggle in these areas also.

1. Thinking I’m alone in my prayers ~

Romans 8:34, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Christ is interceding for ME! That Truth should shake me to the core when I pray. He cares enough that He is right there beside me, making my requests known to the Father. I have an intercessor always listening and joining me in my prayers.

The Bible even tells me that the Holy Spirit intercedes when I am so distraught that I don’t even know how to articulate what I want to say.

Once again, I turn to Romans, chapter 8 and read verses 26 and 27: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

2. Not being bold and persistent

After praying for a particular need or for a person and seeing nothing happen we often give up. Look what it says in Luke 18:18 ~ “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” He then tells the parable of the widow in verses 2 -8. She didn’t give up in her request and the unjust judge gave her satisfaction.
Look at verse 7! “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?” He cares and is not going to ignore my prayers.

3. Unbelief

I know Whom I have believed, but sometimes, my human thinking enters into the issues that I’m praying about and I just can’t comprehend that God is listening and already doing something about it.
He actually knows what I need and want before I pray. He tells me in His Word in Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
And in Isaiah 65:24, He says: “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
My prayers are not only requesting something of Him, but I am exhibiting my belief that He hears and cares and is already in action.

4. Not protecting myself from interruptions

A more practical step in praying effectively in my prayer closet is to guard myself from interruptions. We all need a place where we can go and not be disturbed while we seek God’s face. A movie, The War Room is about a woman who has just the place. She literally prayed in a closet set aside for prayer.

My friend prays effectively in her shower. (She’s very clean!)

In our college dorm, we designated one of the shower stalls as a prayer room. We padded it with comforters, and paper, pencil, tissues and it was off-limits to anything but prayer.

My go-to place is my chair in my bedroom.

5. Being bombarded by thoughts of what I need to accomplish today

One thing I keep by my chair is a pad of paper and pencil and before I begin my time of prayer, I write down everything I need to do today and set it aside. If Satan attacks with another job for my to-do list, I don’t fret; I just write it on the pad and continue in my prayer.

As God’s ambassador and in answer to my calling to live a life pleasing to Him, effectual prayer is a must in my life. I am taking this challenge to trust Him more through increasing my prayer life.

I challenge you this year to check yourself. Are you an effectual prayer warrior? James 5:16b “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Won’t you join me this year in trusting God more by praying effectively in our prayer closets this year?

As leaders, we need to keep in check our own prayer lives and make sure we are effectively praying. Prayer changes things! I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Wanna Share? Let us know some of your ideas for an effective prayer life and an effective prayer closet experience! Leave us a comment.

We teach students how to pray, giving them tools to better their prayer lives during our many camps and events during the year. You and your students can plug in for fun, friends, and godly challenges from the Word of God at one of our camps. We can help you with your own event or you can join our program and we do it all for you.

Contact us today and schedule your next upcoming fun! 814.444.9500

About the Author:

Debbi Witt is the Associate Director of Teen Quest. She and her husband Mark stepped out in faith to begin Teen Quest in 1976. Since then, the ministry has grown from a small Bible club program into a regional camping, missions, and ministry team ministry serving the Northeast United States. Debbi and her husband, Mark (Executive Director of Teen Quest) live in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Together they have two grown children and six grandchildren.

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