Does anyone else get excited to start new routines in their spiritual life when a calendar year flips over? I always look forward to switching things up in my quiet time routine. I enjoy deciding how to tackle my Bible reading and praying for another twelve months. Last year I opted to read through the Bible chronologically again (which I love doing), but this year I’ve decided to streamline things a bit. I took the weekly Bible readings from Ambleside Online that my two oldest daughters are reading and made those my focus for the next twelve weeks. That way when they come to me with their narrations we can better discuss the verses afterwards if I have already read them and meditated on them too. I’m only two weeks in to this new routine, but I’m loving it. I have a chunk from Mark and Luke to read each week as well as passages from Moses and the Exodus and Joshua and the Judges (along with the appropriate lessons from the J. Paterson Smyth commentaries). Pre-reading their school readings is something I know I need to be doing more of so this seemed like an excellent way to combine something I do for my own enrichment and for theirs. Here’s my plan…
I also knew I wanted to be more intentional about prayer in 2017. To that end I found and printed this beautiful monthly prayer journal. It’s got space to jot down various prayer concerns and thoughts throughout the month in different life categories. It has become such a delight to look through it each morning and has reminded me to make note of answered prayer as well. It has really helped to keep me focussed in my time alone with the Lord and has helped to guide my thoughts and words as I lift my heart with all its burdens to Him everyday. If you’ve been looking for something similar, check it out. It’s a free download.
I’ve also been enjoying a collection of quotes on prayer from Oswald Chambers. Found this little gem for $1 at our local library. Each page has two quotes about prayer from the writings of Oswald Chambers as well as a question for personal reflection.
One last book I’ve been reading daily in my quiet time is called A Diary of Prayer by Elizabeth Goudge. There is a prayer or poem to read for each day of the calendar year, collected from a wide variety of Christian traditions. I know our prayers don’t need to be beautifully crafted with eloquent words for God to hear them, but these short prayers bless my heart with their beauty and give words to my own longings that I sometimes can’t articulate.
“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Luke 22:46 NIV)
This has been my challenge lately. When the alarm sounds in the early morning and I’m tempted to just roll over I remember “Get up and pray”. And I won’t deny it – this new electric fireplace has made getting up on these chilly mornings a little easier too! It’s a cozy spot to start the day.