As we approach the New Year, my question to all of you is, “How are you going to improve your life in 2009?”
When I picked up a copy of U.S. News and World Report the cover story was 50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2009. Some of their suggestions are: Investigate tales of Edgar Allen Poe, Be a Microblogger, Do a Crossword puzzle, Watch TV free online, Choose Obama Stocks, Spread Tolerance, Learn to Play Bridge, Play music video games, and Read the book before you go to the movie. Well I can’t give you 50 ways to improve your life, but I can give you 5.
The first way is to make a paradigm shift. Stop seeing prayer as merely a way of obtaining your requests. Start seeing prayer as a means of enjoying the riches of a relationship with God.
Second, confess your sins daily. Every single prayer, including the Lord’s Prayer, will bounce right off the ceiling if there is unforgiveness in your heart. This is precisely why Jesus ended his public sermon on prayer with, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt 6:14-15).
Third, get into the Bible. God’s will is reveled in His Word. Thus the only way to know His will is to know His Word. The more we meditate on His Word, the clearer His voice will be as we daily commune with Him in prayer.
Fourth, discover your secret place. The secret to prayer is secret prayer. Your public presence is a direct reflection of your private prayer life. If you spend time in the secret place you will exude peace in the midst of life’s storms. If you don’t you will be a poster child for busy-anity not Christianity.
Fifth, make prayer a priority. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. As Jesus put it, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt 7:24) My experience in teaching memory for over two decades demonstrates that if you faithfully practice a new discipline for twenty-one days it may well stay with you for the rest of your life.
Well, it certainly is my prayer that 2009 will be a banner year in your life as you prepare yourself with a brand new life with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Over the past year, we’ve had the experience of having some people in our home who are very elderly. At one time, they were able to lead themselves, — walk, drive, — and now someone else leads them by the hand. Their eyes grow dim, their memory falters, their world becomes smaller and smaller. But if you have Jesus Christ in your life, if you built a relationship with Him over all the years, the best is yet to come! One day you will have perfect eyesight again, and you will live in a new heaven and new earth in which indwells righteousness. Christianity doesn’t give us a peaceful way to come to terms with death; it gives us something far greater — a way to overcome death through the power of Christ’s resurrection.