Praying in the New Year with Wisdom

Every year, as the Christmas season winds down and we start to get a glimpse of the changing calendar, I always pray for the Lord to lay on my heart a specific word for the year. In years past it’s been words like refuge, rest, and abide. This year, the word that the Lord gave me was wisdom. I encourage you to do the same, to pray for a specific word as we head into 2021.

In the past, I have always thought that wisdom was something that would come with age. To me, it seemed as if I was almost too young to not just pray for wisdom, but for me to even to expect God to entertain the idea. So this year, when the word wisdom was firmly planted into my heart, I sensed it was from the Lord in such a real way. Even still, I sat on it for a while. I certainly prayed for wisdom, but I didn’t share this word out loud like I normally did. You could say I “fleeced” it a bit, taking a page from Gideon’s story in the book of Judges.   

The first confirmation I had was during a moment of worship. Our retired Senior Pastor (senior as in he is old, not in charge), whom I love and respect dearly, sensed the Lord drop a word in his heart for me. As he came over to pray for me, the words he spoke over me almost took my breath away. He was praying for wisdom. As he did, I felt the presence of the Lord as He used that moment to speak an echo into my heart.

Pay attention to the echoes God speaks into your heart.

For most people, that might have been enough of a confirmation, but I tend to be stubborn. I almost held my prayers back as I wondered if it wasn’t humble of me to ask for wisdom. Almost as if I hadn’t yet earned the right to.

The second confirmation came a week later. I have three prominent leaders in my field of ministry that I admire and respect. Through various ministry opportunities, the Lord has opened the door for me to have the privilege of direct contact with them. From time to time, the Lord will prompt me to reach out to them, in order to offer them prayer and encouragement. As I was in the Word studying, the Lord prompted me to reach out to all three of them. That wasn’t typically how He worked in that area, at least in my life, so I was quick to obey. Within minutes, all three had responded, asking me to pray for them to have wisdom. Wow. All three were roughly my age, and yet they were boldly asking for the same thing that I was timidly approaching in my own prayer life. As I got down on my knees to pray for them, I included myself in the prayer. I prayed for an outpouring of wisdom in every area of their lives, in my life, and in our respective ministries. It was such a powerful moment for me because God allowed these leaders to speak to my place of insecurity, without them even realizing it. As I prayed for wisdom on how to even seek wisdom, I committed to making my year one that would be a quest for what this meant in my own life. I wish I could say that immediately God dropped a word into my heart, or led me to a specific scripture. Instead, there was stillness.

Part of the process of seeking wisdom is being ok with the stillness.

We tend to busy ourselves, oftentimes over-extending ourselves, so stillness feels foreign. Yet it’s in those moments that the Lord can work if we allow Him to.

As we approach a new year, it is my encouragement to you, to seek a specific word from the Lord to guide your heart and mind as you grow in Him in the new year.  

Allow the Lord to speak to you, and be open to what He has to say. He loves you. No matter your age, your position, or your past, you are incredibly loved by the author of wisdom. 

James 1:5  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. NASB

Brokenness.

For many of us, that word describes not just a season in our lives, but a place of identity. This year, the year that none of us anticipated or likely would have imagined, has become a year that many have admitted their brokenness for the first time. 

Lost jobs.

Changed churches.

Death and sickness.

Election division.

Racial unrest. 

Chaos.

The list can go on and on. In some ways, there is almost an anticipation of what new thing can be added to the list each week. And while I can’t predict what those specific things might be, what I can predict is the fact that they are symptoms of the world we live in.

The truth is, we weren’t made for this broken world. We ache for the way things could be…. Should be…. For the things we have lost and the things that we didn’t realize we needed.

November starts a season where normally we reflect on the thankfulness we feel for all the blessings God has given us throughout the year. But this year, it seems like November is just getting in the way. We want 2020 to be over, so the promise of 2021 and the potential of getting back to normal can come quickly.  

The feeling that is left in the longing for something different can only be described as an ache. An ache for what was. An ache for what’s next. An ache for anything other than right now.

Except right now is where we are. 

There is something Holy about right now. Something that allows us to experience Jesus differently than any other time in our lives. The familiar patterns, timelines, expectations have given way to something different. For many of us, it has allowed us time to examine our hearts and our homes for things that we didn’t know were there. 

I found my coffee mug this week. I probably have 100 coffee mugs, but this one is special. This one was a gift from my husband on our honeymoon. I love it because it’s big, it’s my favorite colors, and it was handmade from a potter that has a special story. But several years ago, the handle broke off. Because it had become broken, it was pushed to the back of the cupboard. Trying to get out the door with a hot cup of coffee doesn’t work so well when the handle is broken off the mug because it burns your hands. But right now, working from home allows me the time to sit with my mug of coffee, to give it time to cool off a little. Pouring a fresh cup this week, I thought about how thankful I was for this favorite broken mug. Because the handle is broken off, I have to hold it with both hands in order to drink from it. As I do, I feel the warmth of the coffee, as I keep my hands close. In this season, the brokenness of the mug doesn’t seem to matter so much. What matters is that it still allows me to fill it up.

The purpose of the mug, to be filled and to be used, remains. The brokenness of the mug requires it to be held close in order to be used. 

Our brokenness is very much the same way. It may change the way we look, different from others. It may change our function so that we have to be used differently. It may keep us hidden in seasons where others are in the forefront. But our brokenness is also the very thing that keeps us close to Jesus when He is using us. Our purpose remains, to be filled and to be used. 

The ache we feel in this season is an ache that likely will remain this side of heaven because of the fallen world we live in. But the ache is what drives us to Jesus. As we focus this month on thankfulness, even if it looks different, let’s be thankful that Jesus still desires to fill us and use us.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.Therefore, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NASB

P.S.- Psalms Reading Plan:  Don’t forget, we are reading through the Psalms together.  One Psalm a day.  Feel all the feels and be honest and raw with God about what you are feeling.  If you miss a day, just keep going.  You got this.