A New Year’s prayer solution

Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Are you two-faced? Maybe we all are at some point. But did you know that the word January refers to a two-faced Roman deity: one face looking back at the past and one face looking towards the future.

This would be a great time to be doing the same…looking back at the previous year and looking forward to the year ahead.

The past…to many that is a scary phrase. The year in review brings back guilt anew. The sorrows, sins and silly slip-ups get in your face and haunt you like re-occurring nightmare. So looking back over 2010 would be about as fun as being dragged over wounded scorpions. Yet I would still encourage you to do so for this reason: grace. If you peer hard enough into your accumulated memories, you will find the fingerprints of God over all your botches and blunders- and the finger that left the prints is pointing towards forgiveness and restoration. Remember that Jesus is the God of second chances (and third, fourth, fifth etc.). Learn from your mistakes and move on- that’s what the Apostle Paul did:

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Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Paul was a lot like us. He looked back and saw things he was proud of, and things he was ashamed of. Yet rather than revel and grovel in obsessive observations, he made a decision to employ a wonderful technique for dealing with the past: forgetting.

Let’s get practical. Try writing out a journal of all the highs and lows of 2010. Beside all the mistakes, write “forgiven”; and beside all the victories, write “thank you”.

Remember the other face? It looks towards the future. Not in a ridiculous and useless resolution sort of way, but in a dedicated and determined fashion that takes seriously the high calling of being a believer left on this planet to advance God’s Kingdom one day and one life at a time- because each day is a gift. What impact does the attitude of ‘each day being a gift’ have on a person? Perhaps it differs with each individual- but here is the prayer of an African pastor who was later killed for his faith. Read it, memorize it, speak it and live it. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make it a New Year’s ‘prayer solution’. May Christ give you the grace to have it profoundly affect the way 2011 unfolds:

I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear.