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.
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.
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.
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.
I wasn’t born a citizen of the United States of America. Earning the right to be here was a process. I had to fill out piles of forms, spend hours on the phone with officials, pay a hefty sum, get fingerprinted, and have an interview to determine if I indeed met the requirements to earn residency. And, yay, I did! That was a happy day!
The ringing of my phone interrupted my quiet evening drive. It was a close friend on the other end, “Marie, I need you to pray for me!” She only had a few minutes to talk, just enough time to tell me about the very stressful things going on in her life, and I assured her that I would pray for her. After she hung up, I prayed for her out loud for the rest of my drive.
When you want to target your prayers in order to bring about the best results, try to shut everything else out of your mind. You can do this anywhere, anytime, even in a crowded public place—a busy airport, while riding on the bus or train, anywhere you happen to be. Just stop for a few moments, close your eyes, and concentrate on Me, and I’ll help you to focus your thoughts enough to target your prayers.