Spiritual Growth

Remembering the God of Hope

It’s almost three weeks into the new year, and probably most resolutions are already long forgotten. The buzz of a new year, and a new decade, has faded into the daily grind of work, school, meals, etc. It’s hard to remember the illustrious plans we had for the new year when our dishes and email inbox start filling up again. It’s not that those goals are any less true, we just forget them. One key I have found to successfully completing resolutions is simply to remember them.

Left on our own, our hearts and minds are quick to forget. Not only do we forget fleeting things like yearly resolutions, we forget who we are and what we have in Christ. That is why when Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, he prays, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 4:18-19a, NIV).

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Prayer

A Year of Prayer

I am all about some New Year’s Resolutions. I can make goals and lists until there is no more room on the paper, but this year I decided to do something different. Often in the long lists of ways I can improve myself that year, I lose my purpose. I get caught up in tasks and miss the bigger picture. For 2019, I left behind the resolution list and chose a single word to pursue this year—prayer. While there were many ways I wanted to grow spiritually, professionally, physically, etc., I knew that by centering myself on the pursuit of prayer, I would also grow in those other areas.

What did that look like? I read more books on prayer. I incorporated prayer into the everyday rhythms of life. I realized that even ordinary tasks could be an act of prayer. While I was nervous about this endeavor, I see how God has blessed my intentionality to pursue intimacy with him above all else. Here are a few truths God has taught me in this year of prayer.

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