As this year comes to a close, it’s vital that we take time to both reflect on what God has done and allow him to prepare us for what’s to come. A new year marks a fresh opportunity to center our lives around the goodness of God. I pray that as you begin looking toward what is to come you will make space to gain God’s perspective, ground your hopes and pursuits on his grace, and celebrate all that God has done and is doing. May your time with God this week be filled with the loving presence of your heavenly Father.
Scripture:“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
The seasons of the year created by the powerful hands of our heavenly Father speak of the need to slow down, stop, and reflect. Times of reflection create space for God’s Spirit to speak, helping us remember what he has done, making us aware of what he is doing, and stirring our hearts for what he wants to do next. God loves to use a change in season to remind us to center our lives around his pervasive works. Whether it be a change in jobs, weather, moving, or the approaching of a new year, it’s crucial that we make space for God to speak to us and prepare us for the wonderful things he has planned.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-5 illustrates this principle in saying,
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.
The best place to begin reflection is in remembering. I don’t know whether this year was one filled with heartache or laughter for you. I don’t know whether you experienced loss or new beginnings. I don’t know whether you cried tears of joy or sadness. But your heavenly Father does. And it’s in quiet remembrance that he wants to comfort you, rejoice with you, and wrap you in his arms. It’s in remembrance that he wants to bring about healing, grace, love, and perspective. Take time today to remember.
Next, take time to ask the Holy Spirit for revelation on the present. Just as seasons help us to remember the past, they beg of us to live in the present. God is doing a mighty work in and around you right now. This is a time for faith and deep encounters with the transforming love of God. This is a time to savor the beauty of the current and to rest in the goodness of the immediate. God is present to meet with you, love you, and fill you. He has strength, grace, comfort, and joy for you if you will make space to receive the fullness of what he wants to give. Take time today to savor.
Lastly, God longs to fill you with hope and expectancy for his future plans. The new year, filled with its possibilities and new beginnings, is quickly approaching. Your heavenly Father, who dwells in all of eternity, longs to prepare you for what is to come. He longs to lay a foundation for your year with a fresh revelation of his love, faithfulness, and presence. He longs to fill you with hope and desires that he will see through to fruition. Take time today to allow him to prepare you for all next year holds.
May your time in guided prayer be marked by clarity and revelation in the Holy Spirit as you engage in these three practices.
1. Reflect on this past year. What were your triumphs? What were your failures? How did God meet you in both? Allow him to comfort you in any pain and rejoice with you in any victory.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
2. What is God doing right now? What is he teaching and instilling in you? What is he calling you to savor?
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:31-34
3. Ask God to plant hopes and dreams for next year in your heart. What do you want to see happen personally next year? What do you hope God does in and through you? What works has he prepared for you?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
May Galatians 6:7-10 stir within you a commitment to fully engage in the season in which God has you:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Extended Reading: Psalm 1
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