I was tired and had nodded off while on the tram. When I arrived at my destination, I was startled awake and barely made it off in time. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after my dentist appointment that I realized I’d left my laptop on the tram! Yikes! Work files from the last 20 years were on that laptop, along with the backup drives in the bag with it—now all lost!
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”1
I love this prayer because it expresses a need for God on a primal level, like a deer searching for water. Thirst is an involuntary reaction, and a need that requires fulfillment.
Over the years that I have dedicated to Christian service, I’ve had the benefit of receiving very good input in how to maintain a vibrant prayer life—not all of which I have followed consistently, unfortunately. As a young Christian, the book Streams That Never Run Dry1 had a profound effect on my view of prayer. Even though I didn’t feel very talented in many areas of my life, I saw that I could pray. It’s one form of Christian service that’s open to anyone—no specialized training required! Two quotes I read that deeply inspired my prayer life are: “A praying life is never a wasted life,” and “Prayer is the beginning of every miracle.”
G. K. Chesterton once said, “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose, new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”1
There’s something special about the beginning of a new year. Even though January 1st follows December 31st the same as any day follows the previous one, to many of us, entering a new year brings with it the feeling of a new beginning, a fresh start. Last year is now behind us, and there are new horizons ahead.
Prayer shows your faith in Me—faith that I will bring the solutions, show you the way, work in people’s lives, and even do the impossible when necessary. It also shows that you are depending on Me, and this pleases Me greatly.
When my first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage, I wasn’t worried, I was angry. For weeks, I held it in, but finally, I literally raised my fist at God and told Him off. “You failed me!” was the gist of it.
Later, I realized I was already a couple of days pregnant when I had ranted. Holding a beautiful baby boy in my arms nine months later, I laughed at myself and my misguided words. I also asked God for forgiveness.
Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sarah, promised by God and given to them by a miracle in their old age. He isn’t as famous as his father, or even Jacob, his son. But I learned a big lesson from him.
Is God personally concerned about you? Does He want to provide solutions to your problems, bless your endeavors, help you get the most out of life, and make you the best person you can possibly be? If so, is He able to tell you how? Yes, yes, and yes!
I grew up around creeks, lakes, and rivers, but when I was sixteen I went to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and saw the ocean for the first time. At the boardwalk the night we arrived, I walked out on a wooden pier. As the first thunderous waves crashed beneath my feet, I grabbed the railing, terrified. Since then I have had a cautious fondness for the ocean. I’ve never been a strong swimmer, but I love the look of the ocean, the feel of sand between my toes, and even the weightless feeling of being lifted from my feet and carried about by gentle waves—as long as I have something buoyant to hang onto.