It is fast approaching the time when we will start to think about what we would like to see change in ourselves over the coming New Year. I know it is perhaps a bit early to mention this but I thought I would let you know the direction I am hoping to head with my life this coming year so that you might help me when you see me struggling. I am also mentioning it now because I am hoping maybe some of you will see these resolutions and decide to make them your own.
Here they are:
This is certainly not original with me. I remember first hearing them as lyrics of a song from the musical, Godspell called “Day by Day”. Later I heard them again when the group DC Talk recorded their own version of the song. Lately though I have been revisiting these words which as you can tell from the meme form a prayer. I have been intrigued with methodologies of faithful Christ-followers in the past. Sometimes folks who have been really striving to grow in Christ come across helpful tools or methods that I am eager to consider and possibly embrace. I have been doing quite a bit of reading regarding the Fruit of the Holy Spirit and I ran across such an example. John Stott, who has gone on to be with the Lord, demonstrated this well in his life. His life was characterized by strong transformation by God and when asked about it he revealed a prayer he had been know to daily pray when he first woke up. Here is that prayer:
“Heavenly Father, I pray that this day I may live in your presence and please you more and more.
Lord, Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.
Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Wow! I can understand why John Stott’s life was so radically transformed by God! That is my goal and I hope it is yours too. That brings me back to the meme above. It actually dates back to a daily prayer of a Christ-follower named Nino of Georgia from the 3rd Century. Also said to have used this prayer was 13th-century English bishop Saint Richard of Chichester. I suppose its origin doesn’t really matter because what is of more relevance is the effect of praying it daily. There is nothing magical in the words but they do call us to think about our actions, particularly with respect to our commitment to following King Jesus on a daily basis. The cumulative effect of sincerely praying them over years and perhaps a lifetime would probably resemble the effect of a stream slowly but surely eroding the hard stones within it.
One thing I know for sure, development of a Christ-like character within us will only happen when we are committed to do the tedious business of having our minds completely renewed and then follow the new ways the Lord has taught us. That “tedious business” is partially comprised of daily habits like praying, Scripture reading, serving, worshipping and intentionally saying “NO” to what the flesh-driven part of our lives demands.
So I am wondering if you would commit to praying this prayer daily with me. I don’t mean just mouthing the words or going through the motions but really “pray it”. By the way, I meant what I said earlier about watching how I am doing. Please feel free to give me feedback whether positive or negative. I know none of us will grow without correcting mistakes and I hope you know I value that correction. I am hoping 2021 will be a memorable year, not because it might represent the time when we turned the corner on covid 19 but rather because my walk with Jesus took a nice step forward. I am praying you will join me.