The new year makes a great time to consider how to renew our faith as well. Many will make resolutions, but a spiritual goal for the next 12 months can have an eternal impact. What are some practical ways to renew your faith in 2021?
What kind of spiritual resolutions could we consider for the new year? When King David renewed his commitment to the Lord, he began with prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
As we pray about spiritual goals, consider the following four practical areas for your walk with the Lord:
1: Make Time to Pray (Frequency: Daily)
We know we are supposed to pray. We often do pray, but rarely at the level we believe we should. To help, we can intentionally schedule time for prayer.
In the Jewish tradition, prayers included specific prayer at certain times each day. Catholics and some Protestant tradition have developed similar systems for prayer in the morning, throughout the day, and to end the day.
There is no set rule on when or how to pray, but Scripture does teach us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Here are some ways to start:
-A short prayer first thing in the morning (before checking your phone or turning on music or the television).
-A prayer before each meal.
-A prayer before driving.
-A prayer before sleeping each day.
-A pray during a daily walk or exercise.
2: Take Action and Serve (Frequency: Weekly, every other week, or monthly)
Believers are called to serve others. However, it has been said 20 percent of church members do 80 percent of the work.
Dr. Howard Hendricks used the analogy of a football game, where 22 players are in desperate need of rest while the crowd is in desperate need of exercise! Unless you are one of the handful of dedicated members already regularly serving, there is much room to jump in to help.
Service will vary based on your time, energy, abilities, and other factors. However, God has given each of us gifts and opportunities to use them to help.
And remember, you can serve both in your church and in your community. Especially after the holidays, many community organizations will need volunteers after their seasonal projects have ended. Some ways to help include:
-Local church opportunities, such as greeting, singing, children’s ministry, and physical work at a church property.
-Service in local organizations that help the poor, homeless, or other specialized populations.
-Local jails, prisons, and juvenile centers.
-Nursing homes or other care facilities.
Some opportunities may be limited during this time of pandemic, but you can be creative from home as well. Write a letter to a lonely person or help from a distance through a call or gathering items for those in need. There is always a way to help for those who desire.
3: Journal—Record Your Thoughts and Prayers (Frequency: Daily, three times per week, or weekly)
Journaling is a powerful habit that helps us grown spiritually. When we write down our thoughts, we can express gratitude to God for what He has done, share our concerns, and write out our requests.
Over time, it is motivating to watch how God answers prayers and helps us through good and bad times. If you’re having trouble staying consistent or beginning to journal, here are some tips to help:
-Just one page: Every day, focus on filling one page with words about what is on your mind.
-Yesterday: Focus what you write on recording what has happened in the past 24 hours.
-Prayer: When all else fails, write out your prayers. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it’s just you and God.
4: Read (or Listen) to God’s Word (Daily or every other day)
Most Christians have never read the entire Bible. How can we claim it is the most important book in the world and yet not even read it?
Today’s versions and technologies have removed nearly every barrier to studying God’s Word. Here are some tips to help:
-Choose a version you understand.
-Start with the New Testament (five minutes a day will get you through the New Testament in a year; 20 minutes a day will get you through the New Testament in 40 days).
-To read the entire Bible, focus on smaller readings every day. Several reading plans are available, including The Word from our courseware.
.-Read together with a family member or friend to encourage one another and hold one another accountable.
Change is rarely easy, but investing in spiritual change is worth the effort. This year, choose a way to better pray, serve, journal, or grow in God’s Word!