As we traverse this year help us remember that You sometimes call us to wait for what You have called us to do for You. In these waiting times help us not become discouraged but view them as times of transition, times of drawing closer to You, times of learning from You. At the same time, we pray for the discernment to know when You are saying wait and when we are letting the comfort and security of where we are cloud our view of where You are calling us. Keep us from staying in the comfortable, familiar when You are calling us to a place of greater service and usefulness. Teach us to follow Your lead undauntedly. Make us like the disciples Jesus called who dropped their nets and followed Him without question. Forgive us when we question Your calling. Remind us that Your ways are higher than ours and You always have a reason for everything You call us to do.
When we find that place of Your calling, may we like Abraham, build an altar there and sacrifice our will for Yours. May we build an altar in our hearts, a place of remembrance for where You've brought us, what You brought us from, and how You want to use us. May we worship You there, pray to You there, listen to You there. May we realize we cannot grow to spiritual maturity without regular times of prayer and worship; both corporately and individually. Help us come away by ourselves regularly to spend time with You in Your word. As we do, strengthen us for the obstacles and attacks of the enemy, for we know once we have determined to follow You with our whole heart, Satan will come. When he does let us be ready, help us not fear him and turn from what we know is true of You.
Father, teach us to put others before ourselves, even when it means we lose something good. Help us know You will always restore what has been lost; You are in the business of redeeming lost things. Thank You! Help us remember You are pleased when Your children dwell together in unity and make us more aware of the times we need to put our wants aside in order to keep the peace. We know when believers argue among themselves our witness for You is damaged, important goals in our churches are hampered, and we become self-centered rather than love-centered. You have called us to love others as we love ourselves...even when we disagree with them. Holy Spirit, enable us to love like Jesus!
Help us remember You are always with us, You do not forget us; even in those times we feel You are nowhere to be found. Remind us of Your faithfulness. May we not doubt You, laughing at what You have promised, thinking it could never be. Instead may we hold on to Your promises and remain faithful even when it seems they will never come. Infuse us with patience to wait for Your timing and give us holy restraint to keep from trying to make them happen in our time and in our way. Remind us that Your ways are always best even if they take a little longer!
Father, we know we will fall short of Your standard many, many times during this year. Help us not take up residence in our sin, though. When You have sent You Spirit to convict us of that sin, give us listening ears and seeing eyes. May we hear You calling us out of our sin city and may we see the way of escape You aways provide. And Father, let us leave quickly, running to You in confession and repentance. May we not look back at that sin city longingly. We don't want to be pillars of salt that are frozen in time, unable to move forward because we are too invested in the past. Instead we want to be the salt of the earth, flavoring this world with Your love, Your truth, Your forgiveness. We want to show the world what a merciful, loving God You are. So keep us from compromise. Keep us from becoming desensitized to sin. Keep us from being content to simply let things slide in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Give us courage to confront sin head on instead of simply living with it. May we not be shaped by our environment, rather enable us to shape our environment! Help us be different from those around us; to live counter culturally and in so doing show You to the world!
In Jesus' name, Amen.