By Toni Ford
I have always looked forward to the last week in December and the first week in January. It is during these two weeks where I take time to reflect and review my previous year in thanking the Lord for all the ways He has protected and provided for me throughout that year. I then shift my thinking and look forward, planning and preparing for the year ahead.
At the start of a New Year, most people begin by making new resolutions or new disciplines that ultimately center around living this year better than the last one. Even though we have great intentions, most of us fall in line with the research saying that less than 10 percent actually keep their resolutions. The other issue with resolutions is that it often feels like we are striving to do more and be better, which can honestly leave us feeling exhausted and bring on guilt or shame for not staying committed to our resolutions.
Those are the reasons that I quit making New Year resolutions a few years ago and instead began asking the Lord for a word or verse He wanted me to focus on for the coming year. When we turn our focus to staying in step with God and focusing on what He wants us to focus on, we then allow Him to bring our transformation rather than us striving and trying so hard to bring about our own change. This is actually the principle of abiding, which is found in John 15.
So for 2022 instead of making a list of behaviors to change, let us turn our hearts toward God and allow Him to do what only God can do – transform us to be more like Him. Instead of striving to change, let us position ourselves to be changed. It will not be a perfect or quick process. There will be ups and downs. But what a year it would be if our focus was not on doing more but receiving more. Let us make 2022 a year of trusting God to work in and through us, relying on His strength and wisdom not our own.
Below are several Scriptures the Lord has given me for my year ahead. Some challenge me spiritually, others represent a passion I have for the coming year and others are a decree or declaration I am making on behalf of my life or in the lives of those close to me. Seek the Lord and ask Him what Scriptures or what word He wants you to reflect on this coming year. No doubt, it is His heart’s desire to reveal this to you.
Jeremiah 12:5 (CSB). “If you have raced with runners and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble (or are secure) in a peaceful land, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?” Lord, please make my foundation in You stronger and deeper so that I do not get weary easily in this battle of life. I want to hang with the horses and not just the runners.
Jeremiah 15:16 (NLT). “When I discovered Your Words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.” Lord, this is the desire/passion of my heart – to devour Your Word even more and to fall deeper in love with Your Word each day, for they are my joy and heart’s delight!
Philippians 3:10,13 (NLT). “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Lord, I long to know you and experience Your mighty power. I am open to experiencing more of You this year. I put the past behind and look forward to a new year of experiencing and knowing You in greater and more intimate ways.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT). “But forget all that. It is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in a dry wasteland.” Lord, so many of my friends and family have experienced a rough year, so I ask You to bring new pathways to their wilderness and create rivers in their dry wasteland. Go before them and provide and protect them I pray.
Jeremiah 20:9 (NLT). “But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord, or speak in His name, His Word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” Lord, I pray that I would not be silent when it comes to speaking Your Words and Your truths. Give me the courage to speak up and the wisdom to know when and where.
I pray that each of you reading this article will experience our Lord in ways you have never experienced or seen Him before. Draw near to Him and He promises to draw near to you!
If you would like me to join you in prayer, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray for you!