Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Beginnng, a Fresh Start

One gift from Christmas of 1997 changed my life forever. A small journal with a soft, red cover, I remember flipping through the yet empty pages and thinking it would likely be in the same condition at the end of the coming year as it would be on January 1st.

My prayer life at that point in my existence was nothing to write home about, or to document in a journal of any sort for that matter, either. For the preceding six months I had deliberately been setting aside a half hour a day to pray and listen to what God had to say. The results were disappointing at best. Those thirty minutes were dry and boring…lifeless…and I continued the practice only because I couldn’t say I had a relationship with God if I never spent any time with Him. But it wasn’t a half hour I enjoyed in any sense of the word.

On a whim on that following New Year’s Day I opened the new journal to the first blank page and set it open on the table before me as I began to pray. Amazingly, a few short minutes into my prayer time, some thoughts occurred to me and I enjoyed the mental discussion that followed so much that I wrote it down on the pages before me.

The next day I approached my prayer time with something new in my attitude: hope that He would speak to me again. Sure enough, once more there was an amazing new line of thinking that I documented as eagerly as I had the day before. And so the trend continued, not every day, of course, but regularly enough that I began to approach my morning prayer times with anticipation rather than dread.

The results were amazing. By the end of the year the little book was filled, not just with my scribblings, but stuffed as well with notes and pictures and anything that came my way that reminded me of something God had had to say. My prayer life was in a similar state, overflowing with life and joy as a result. To this day I have no explanation for what caused the change, unless my opening the prayer journal was a signal to God that I was serious about listening for the sound of His voice.

And so on New Year’s morning this year I opened the brand new journal for the coming year. Excitedly I inhaled deeply of its freshness and flipped through the yet empty pages a few times, thanking God in advance for all the amazing things He is going to do in our lives this year, the details of which I’ll record on those blank sheets. Just as the book was a gift, so this new year is as well, and I loved those first moments in which I eagerly opened it, thanking God for all the goodness I know He’s packed into it.

As I watched the Rose Parade on TV later in the day, the theme seemed especially appropriate, based on the Dr.Seuss’ book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I can‘t wait to see where God takes me…and am sure I will write about it, every step of the way!

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 
 (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
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