As parents, we pray for our children's spouses, their safety, education and career success, and other areas of their lives. But we may not always pray and ask the Lord for our children's salvation.
Every person wants to start the new year right. A Christian’s new year needs to begin with tangible ways to grow in their spiritual walk with the Lord. There is no better way to do that than with prayer. If you struggle with prayer, here are six prayers you can pray in the new year:
1. Lord, Use Me
We all want a life of meaning and purpose. There's no better way to live your life than being used by God. But how do we know how we can be used by him if we don't ask him? We often relegate our prayers to simply rattling off prayer requests before moving on with the rest of our day. We don't take the time to listen to him and hear his voice. As we grow in tune with his Spirit, however, we will discover new opportunities to be used by him. The more we become in tune with him and obey his commands, the more often he will use us and speak to us.
How did you feel the last time you were used by God? Did you feel excited? Happy? While the world looks for happiness and temporal pleasures like money, relationships, and fame, we can achieve happiness every day. We do this by knowing we are being used to make a difference on earth and to impact the world for God's glory.
2. Lord, Let My Children Follow You
As parents, we pray for our children's spouses, their safety, education and career success, and other areas of their lives. But we may not always pray and ask the Lord for our children's salvation. While our children may have said prayers in Sunday school or know the basics of the Bible, those are not things that will save us; only a relationship with Jesus can save us. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your children and ask them if they feel they are truly saved. If what they say raises any doubt, offer to pray with them or take them to a leader in your church who will lead them in the sinner’s prayer. Make sure they know they are not letting you down by not being saved before. It's never too late for God to reach one of the lost, even if one of the lost is your children. Ask them to discover ways that God wants to use them for his glory. Encourage them to speak to someone in their church about using their spiritual gifts during the weekly service or engage in mission projects within their community or the world.
3. Lord, Help Me Spread the Gospel
Spreading the gospel can be a daunting task for anyone. Today, where it's uncommon to hear people talking about their faith, it can feel like an impossible task to share your faith with others. But sharing your faith may be more possible than you think. The gospel message is more than just talking about Jesus’ death on the cross. The gospel is a message of hope, love, redemption, and reconciliation. In a divided and broken world, who couldn't use more of that? If you have trouble weaving Jesus into your conversations, take one of these concepts and talk about that instead. Ask them the question, “How can I be an agent of hope, love, redemption, or reconciliation to you today?” Or “In what way can I help you achieve hope, love, redemption, or reconciliation today?” Although people may be thrown off by your question, it will get them thinking of ways they can repair their relationships, experience intimate love, and find redemption from their sins. That will help you and them get your new year off on the right foot, pointing everyone to Jesus, the Author of new beginnings.
4. Lord, Let My Marriage Reflect You
One of the ways Christ is reflected in the world is through marriages. But if more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, how can we be the spotless bride Christ wants for us? No marriage is perfect and each one has its times of trial and times of triumph. In times of trial, seek the help of a professional or leader in your church. Allow them to help you process issues or trauma that may be holding your marriage back from being the act of worship that God intended. If your marriage has defeated a setback, that's the Lord sustaining you during this trial. Don't quit! It is in times of perseverance God refines our character the most. Our marriage can be the primary way God refines our character. Don't believe the myth that a marriage relationship is based on loving feelings all the time. When we choose to sacrifice ourselves for the other, we become more like Christ and reflect Christ's example to the world.
5. Lord, Let Me Worship You Every Day
Although the statistics show that most Christians attend church once or twice a month, we have the opportunity to worship God every day. We live in a country where we can still listen to worship music, pray and bring a Bible to a public place. Make a resolution to read your Bible three to five times a week. If you find your home is a distraction, take a leap of faith and find a coffee shop or other public area where you will be away from distractions. You may find others spark up a conversation with you because of the Bible you're reading, and you may inadvertently spread the gospel more than you realize.
Let Sunday worship be the culmination of the worship you've had throughout the week. Allow that to spark your joy and be your testimony to others when people ask how your week has been. Inspire the people around you to be more intentional about their spiritual lives. Make spiritual growth a priority this coming year.
6. Lord, Let Me See You
When life is not going as planned, it is difficult to see God amid trials. Pray and ask God to help you see him in ways you have not seen him before. Sometimes shifting your perspective is all you need to seek God in new ways. Moses helped the Israelites shift their perspective when all they could see was the army surrounding them rather than see God at work. Exodus 14:10-14 says, “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
It is not easy to see God amid trials. But a person who clings to God and asks him to give them his eyes will see the world the way Jesus sees it. When they do that, they will see Jesus more clearly, too.
Prayer is always a great way to start the new year. But it's often the most neglected part of our spiritual growth. Make a priority to pray these six simple prayers and allow God to transform your life in new and exciting ways in the coming year.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Krisanapong Detraphiphat
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.