|©Katie Lloyd Photography|
A new year is at hand and the reminder that our lives happen in cycles, in seasons is at the door. I take a time to consider how I have lived this past year, a year purposely "lived in the Sacred." A year of laughs and many tears; a year of sharing so much with my family, a year of big changes, of great gains but also with many hard providences. Living in the Sacred, open before the face of God, knowing that He is Holy and Sovereign, has deeply changed me.
But I am not where I should be... I am fragile; so many times this past year I woke up feeling fragile, so vulnerable to my own sin. So blind.
I have quietly prayed, and have considered this verse over and over:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Col.4:2
Holding fast to what I have attained, continuing in the progresses that I have made, persevering to the end; Oh to finsh the race by God's grace is something that I want to do. And I pray I will with God's help. This coming year, 2012, will be a year, God willing, of continuity and watchfulness. Prayer and thanksgiving will be my bread.
James Smith said it well,
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17If I want to be watchful, I must continue to live in prayer, like the Children of Light are called to live; there is simply no other way to do this.
How important is a spirit of prayer! It is . . .
the proof of regeneration,
the manifestation of grace in our hearts, and
the evidence our title to mansions in the skies!
Prayer is . . .
the breath of the renewed soul,
the beating of the sanctified heart,
the effect of the life of God within us.
O that I had prayed more!
Prayer should become a habit with us — then everything would furnish us with matter for prayer. Prayer should mingle with our pleasures and our pains, with our labor and our rest. O for more prayer!
We should never do — what we cannot pray God to bless.
We should never go — where we cannot ask God to go with us.
If we would hold fast our profession,
if we would adorn the gospel,
if we would honor Jesus,
if we would enjoy our mercies,
if we would get good by our trials,
if we would see all things working together for good,
if we would conquer Satan,
if we would overcome the world,
if we would crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts
— we must pray!
Prayer, if it is believing prayer . . .
opens Heaven to us,
unveils the glorious face of God, and
brings down foretastes of the joys of paradise,
makes us a match for all our foes,
enables us patiently to carry every cross, and with perseverance to climb and pass over the loftiest hills we meet with on our heaven-bound pilgrimage!
Those who pray, will, by deriving strength from Heaven, by drawing down wisdom from above — withstand every storm, and shout God's praises at last.
"But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober." I Thessalonians 5:4-6
Puritan Thomas Brooks said:
The best way to be safe and secure from all Satan's assaults is, with Nehemiah and the Jews, to watch and pray, and pray and watch. By this means they became too hard for their enemies, and the work of the Lord did prosper sweetly in their hands...
Our whole life is beset with temptations. Satan watches all opportunities to break our peace, to wound our consciences, to lessen our comforts, to impair our graces, to slur our evidences, and to dampen our assurances. Oh! what need then have we to be always upon our watch-tower, lest we be surprised by this subtle serpent. Watchfulness includes a waking, a rousing up of the soul. It is a continual, careful observing of our hearts and ways, in all the turnings of our lives—that we still keep close to God and his Word.
Watchfulness is the heart busied and employed with diligent observation of what comes from within us, and of what comes from without us and into us.
May God give us grace to keep pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
May our soul's strength be renewed as we continue to watch and pray.
Under His sun and by His grace,