Are you a person that makes resolutions when the calendar page is turned to a new year? If you are, you are not alone. Lots of people take the opportunity to make goals and changes at the start of a new year.
Recently, I read an article on productivity published in Inc. magazine. It stated that about 41% of Americans make a new year’s resolution of sorts, but only 9% are successful in sticking to them. The writer of this Inc. article references a study that noted research that can predict the precise day most people quit their new year goals. January 19 has been referred to as “Quitter’s Day.”
I have personally found that as the new year begins in January, it is a great time to look at the state of my life. The Bible tells us that God has created us physically, mentally, and spiritually. Taking time to do some personal inspection and inventory on how you are stewarding those areas is important.
I have found that three simple questions can foster introspection that can bring some meaningful and lasting change that can take me beyond January 19. The three questions are: 1.) Looking back, how am I doing? 2.) Looking around, how am I doing? 3.) Looking ahead, how am I doing?
While all three of those areas are key, this is a word specifically focused on one area, the spiritual, and one component in the spiritual, your prayer life. Be honest, how would you evaluate your prayer life? Prayer is communion with God. It is time with Him. That time can be spent talking, listening, or just being still. I believe the function and frequency of one’s prayer life directly impacts the spiritual aspect of life.
As a pastor, I cannot recall meeting anyone that did not want to pray. Most believed in prayer and would never turn down an invitation to be the subject of prayer requests. That said, I have met many that want to learn how to pray and to make prayer more impactful in their life and others.
I am excited about a new resource to aid in making prayer a greater priority. This new resource is called Pray First. In recent years, Arkansas Baptists have had a new year’s concentration on praying together and developing prayer to be an ongoing habit. Pray First is designed to give you some structure and resources for your prayer life to not only have a great start but continue.
Every Sunday in January, a video along with resources and daily encouragement will be released to guide you through the week as you prioritize prayer in the new year. The words of Jesus found in Mark 12:30-31 will serve as our guide: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…[and] love your neighbor as yourself.” (CSB)
Each week, we will focus on helping you – all of you, as you love the Lord with all of your heart, soul, mind, strength, and by loving your neighbor. Arkansas Baptist leaders – Jamie Naramore, Willie Jacobs, Derek Brown, Andrea Lennon, and Sam Roberts – will lead in a devotional and give us prayer prompts, a Scripture to memorize, and practical life applications.
You may sign up at absc.org/prayfirst to be added to the email list. If you signed up to receive the 21 Days of Prayer materials last year, you will automatically receive the Pray First emails beginning on January 1, 2023.
We will share these resources via social media, allowing you to share them on your personal page as well. Be sure to follow the Arkansas Baptist State Convention on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.