The New Year, with its blank slate, is both intimidating and exhilarating. This year I am borrowing one of my favorite prayers from Philippians as my compass. I call it “The More of What Counts” prayer.
And this is my prayer:
that . . . love may abound more and more
in knowledge and depth of insight
so that you may be able to discern what is best
and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.
Here is the way I translate this prayer into my New Year’s goals:
1. More love.
While this sounds easy, it isn’t simple.Pray for more love and God sends you a few of His hard-to-love cases to see how serious you are.Pray for more love and you confront other people’s rough edges who need your love when they have little to give back to you. However, as I allow God to love me with His unfailing love, heal the wounds that make love-giving more duty than gift; I will have more love to share.
2. More in-sight.
Looking inside first is not our natural reflex.We practice more outward sight, treating what we see as irrefutable reality.When someone or something rubs me the wrong way, I need to look inside first. What level of compassion or understanding do I demand from someone else that I do not give? In-sight is the work of the Holy Spirit revealing the truth God would have me see so that we can address it.
3. More discernment.
Our culture lacks discernment.Our culture believes that best is what is best . I don’t want to participate in such self-centeredness.I long for God’s best.To find it, I must ask God for discernment. I must be willing to abandon what best so that I can receive what best.It is a constant struggle; that’s why it must become a constant prayer.
4. More fruit.
The fruit of righteousness is love-joy-peace-patience-kindess-goodness-faithfulness-gentleness-self-control.We don’t get to pick one; it’s an all-fruit.I can look at the list and know where my all-fruit is weak.When I allow God to share His character and heart with me, His righteousness grows this fruit.More fruit means I allow more of God to live in me.
Join me in keeping this prayer nearby.What I know for sure is that praying this first, softens my heart, makes me more receptive to God’s nudges, counsel, and warning.That’s where growth happens.That’s what I long for in this New Year . . . More of What Counts!