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Leaving Heaviness and Stepping Into Hope: A Prayer for 2024


Today marks the beginning of 2024, which if I’m being honest sounds like a fake date from an old sci-fi movie. We’re already well past when Marty McFly traveled with Doc into the distant future with flying cars and hoverboards. And yet, here we are.


In one sense, today is just another day. We woke up in the same city, facing the same circumstances. But in another sense, God marks times and seasons, and remarkable things happen when we lean into uncharted spaces with God, attentive and expectant for what He desires to do.


As we start 2024, I encourage you to take a few moments in reflection and preparation:


Reflect on what the past year brought:

  • What surprised you in 2023? What were your unexpected blessings or breakthroughs?

  • What disappointed you in 2023? What were your unexpected setbacks or heartbreaks?

  • What new relationships sprang to life? Did any ‘once close’ relationships ebb away?

  • What words BEST sum up 2023 for you?


Prepare for what the coming year has in store:

  • What are you praying for this year? What are you expectant God wants to do?

  • What places of breakthrough are you anticipating?

  • What places of brokenness are you asking Him to heal?

  • What tangible goals has He brought to the forefront of your heart?


If you don’t know, now is a good time to stop and ask: “What are YOUR dreams for me and YOUR heart for me in the coming year, Lord?” I’m convinced this is why so many ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ fail: scores of people run independently toward goals that sound good to them, never stopping to ask their Creator: “What do YOU want?”


I’ve ‘been there, done that' more times than I can count, and at the start of this year, I can say plainly: “I don’t want MY goals.” I am short-sighted and lack wisdom. I never could have crafted the life God created that I have now come to so deeply cherish.


I encourage you, make space in the coming days to be still, and to hear and surrender to HIS plan. While you’re there, be willing to be super honest about all that has disappointed you and broken your heart. The Bible contains a lot of metaphors with water, and as we approach a new year, it is a fitting picture for an invitation that awaits:


Let God wash heaviness away from you

and let Him wash hope over you.


There are two gifts so critical to our hope, they are mentioned at the beginning of 17 of the 27 books of the New Testament: “Grace” and “Peace.”


Grace: “Charis”

  1. God’s reaching out toward you in kindness

  2. A display of loving-kindness and favor

  3. A gift that fills you with joy, pleasure, and delight


Grace is more than 'a gift you don’t deserve,’ because it isn’t ‘grace’ until it fills you with delight! Grace is God washing HOPE over you through unexpected blessings and the wonder of the intimacy and security of being His. It’s amazing…but we cannot truly savor the hope of grace unless we allow our hearts to receive God’s peace.


Peace: “Eirene”

  1. To be joined back together into a whole, wholeness

  2. Exemption from the havoc of war

  3. Harmony (to play your part again in the orchestra)

  4. Intense happiness at the security and safety you have entered

  5. (By extension), the ability to rest


Peace is God washing away HEAVINESS through the silencing of quiet whispers of accusation, fear, and shame. It is the weighted security blanket that reassures your soul it is safe, allowing you to rest. With this in mind, I offer the following questions:


  • Where do I need to see God reaching out to me in kindness and eager delight?

  • Where do I need to be restored to joy and whimsy?

  • Where does my soul need rest from stress, remembering my security in God’s arms?

  • What is the ‘God-given part’ I’ve been given to play in the symphony, and what does picking up my instrument look like in the coming year?


As you go, I invite you to offer this prayer to the God who adores you, as I ask Him to wash “Grace and Peace” over you in abundance. Happy 2024!


 

“Jesus, I give you this past year, with all of its unexpected peaks and valleys, turns and twists.

I choose right now to TRUST you.


I invite you to reveal every broken place in my heart, and I receive your peace to sit before you as you heal me.


I ask you to breathe upon every dream you’ve placed in me that I cannot even form the words to express yet, and I receive the grace of your delight until it fills me with delight.


Heal this past year and have this coming year. I am yours, Lord.”


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These are Great questions to end one year and begin another!

J'aime
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