Pray—Rather Than Pledge
Very likely 2020, by any measurement, will go down as the most bizarre time in US history. The pandemic, combined with the hostilities related to the Republican and Democratic party differences, as well as the country-wide legalization of drug use, were just a few of the issues that have been referred to as the “new normal.”
Rather than waiting until January 1, 2021, to decide what each of us might resolve to do in order to make next year a better time, a friend of mine, Bill MacDonald, who is now home with the Lord, wrote the following that is well worth our solemn consideration. He writes:
New Year’s resolutions are good, but fragile—that is, easily broken. New Year’s prayers are better; they ascend to the throne of God and set answering wheels in motion. As we come to the beginning of another year, we would do well to make the following prayer requests our own:
Lord Jesus, I rededicate myself afresh to You today. I want You to take my life this coming year and use it for Your glory. “Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” I pray that you will keep me from sin, from anything that will bring dishonor to Your Name. Keep me teachable by the Holy Spirit. I want to move forward for You. Don’t let me settle in a rut.
May my motto this year be, “He must increase; I must decrease.” The glory must all be Yours. Help me not to touch it. Teach me to make every decision a matter of prayer. I dread the thought of leaning on my own understanding. “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah:10:23).
May I die to the world and even to the approval or blame of loved ones or friends. Give me a single, pure desire to do the things that please Your heart. Keep me from gossip and criticism of others. Rather, help me to speak what is edifying and profitable. Lead me to needy souls. May I become a friend of sinners, as You are. Give me tears of compassion for the perishing. Let me look on the crowd as my Savior did “Till my eyes with tears grow dim—Let me view with pity the wandering sheep—And love them for love of Him.”
Lord Jesus, keep me from becoming cold, bitter, or cynical in spite of anything that may happen to me in the Christian life. Guide me in my stewardship of money. Help me to be a good steward of everything You have entrusted to me. Help me to remember moment by moment that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. May this tremendous truth influence all my behavior.
And, Lord Jesus, I pray that this may be the year of Your return. I long to see Your face and to fall at Your feet in worship. During the coming year, may the blessed hope stay afresh in my heart, disengaging me from anything that would hold me here and keeping me on the tiptoes of expectancy. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (From One Day at a Time by William MacDonald)
T. A. McMahon