Spiritual Growth in the New Year

CTA - Christ to All /Jan. 07, 2020
Spiritual Growth in the New Year

By Cherie Werner

It’s a new year! Have you thought about how you want this year to be different or better than last year? A new year is an exciting time full of promise and hope. It is a time to start fresh and plan ahead. When we make a plan to do something new, we are energized and motivated!

We start the year with good intentions and our momentum lasts for a while but without God’s help, we can do nothing good on our own. So consider digging into God’s Word this month and seeking his help to grow in your walk with him throughout this year. He wants nothing more than for you to be close to him and to know him better. When you seek to do that, he promises to help you: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV).

Read through the verses below and start with the prayers that follow, asking God to draw you closer to him and deeper into his Word. Then continue praying through the scriptures on your own.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (ESV).

Heavenly Father, you are so good! I thank and praise you for the gift of faith that you have given me. Thank you for helping me to know you and trust you. Thank you for working in my life. Please strengthen my faith, deepen my trust, and expand my knowledge of you. Open my eyes to see what you are doing and to follow where you are leading. Thank you for your promise to not give up on me, but to keep working in my life until you call me home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 (ESV)

Father God, thank you for the work you are doing inside of me. Thank you giving me the desire to obey your Word and follow where you are leading me. Increase my thirst for you and deepen my longing to know you better this year. Help me to spend more time with you, to understand what you are trying to teach me, and to share your love with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7–8 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for being strong and good, faithful and true. You are absolutely trustworthy. Strengthen my faith and help me depend on you more. Send the roots of my faith down deep into your Word and broaden my understanding of you. When times are hard, help me to remember that, just like a tree is fed and nourished by the waters, you will help and strengthen me. Fill me with your Spirit and your peace.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  Ezekiel 36:26–27 (ESV)

Dear God, thank you for your promise to give me a new heart and a new spirit.  Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit within me. I need to be made new. My heart and mind often stray from you and your commands. I need your Spirit to help me and guide me. I can’t follow you on my own. Even when I want to do your will, I mess up every day. Forgive me, Lord. I need your strength and power to do what is right in your eyes and to follow your Word. How wonderful is it that you walk with me! Thank you for renewing my heart and my spirit. Help me to more and more like you every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, help me to keep my mind fixed on you today. Clear my mind of all the negative thoughts that sometimes plague me. When I start to dwell on the past, worry about the future, or get caught up in lies, falsehood, and gossip, remind me of your truth. Redirect my heart and mind to think and ponder those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Guide my mind to focus on the good and give thanks for all of the blessings you have so graciously poured into my life. Thank you, Jesus! Amen.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23–24 (ESV)

Lord God, you know me better than I know myself. You can see things that I cannot see. Please open my eyes, my mind, and my heart. Reveal anything in me that needs to be changed; anything that is not in line with your will and your ways. Please forgive me for my sin and help me to live a life that glorifies and honors you. Thank you, Father! Amen.

Other verses to pray through:

When you are afraid:  Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 43:1–3, Psalm 46:1–3,

When you feel like giving up: Galatians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 4:16–18

When you need help:  2 Corinthians 12:9, Exodus 14:13–14, Psalm 32:8

When you don’t know what to do: Proverbs 3:5–6, Isaiah 30:21, James 1:5, 2 Chronicles 20:12

When you feel alone:  Isaiah 41:10, 13, Deuteronomy 31:8, Psalm 121

When you are sorry for your sin:  Psalm 51:10–12, Isaiah 1:18

When you feel burdened by your sin: Romans 8:1, Isaiah 43:25, 1 John 2:1–2

When you want to know God better:  Ephesians 1:16–19, Colossians 1:9–12

When you don’t know how your needs will be met: 2 Corinthians 9:8, Philippians 4:19

When you feel like no one understands: Hebrews 4:14–16

When you need strength: Isaiah 40:28–31, Ephesians 3:16–17

When you want to know God’s will: Romans 12:1–2, Micah 6:8, James 1:5

When a situation feels impossible: Genesis 18:14, Matthew 19:26

When you don’t know how to pray: Romans 8:26–27, 1 John 5:14–15

When you are sad: Psalm 34:18, Matthew 5:4, Revelation 7:16–17

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