The year is speeding towards its end and many of us are looking forward to a well-deserved break away from set routines and enjoying a time of leisure.
Instead of simply filling your leisure time with lots of busyness, it will be meaningful to allocate time to quiet your soul. Taking a moment to reflect on your year allows you to see it from God’s perspective – your achievements, losses, disappointments, and any “unfinished business”. Moreover, reflecting also helps you realign yourself with God’s purposes before the start of the new year. This will give you much peace and confidence in Him, whatever lies ahead in the next year.
- Set time aside when you will be undisturbed and can work through your thoughts unhurriedly.
- Write it down and prayerfully work through your notes.
- Say a simple prayer, using Psalm 139:23-24. Do this before, during and after your time of becoming still and reflecting on the past year. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
- Use the questions below to kick-start the process of reflection. This is especially useful if you have not done this before or feel a bit stuck.
- In which area of my life have I seen the most growth?
- What good spiritual disciplines enhanced my spiritual life?
Inspirational verses: Song of Solomon 4:16; John 15:5; Philippians 1:6; 2 Peter 3:18
Thank God for your spiritual growth. Speak to Him about areas in your spiritual life where you want to grow deeper – your prayer life, personal devotion, and Bible Study. Make known to God what you are struggling with in your relationship with Him – distractions, sin, fear of man, or unbelief. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you rely on Him more in teaching you how to walk with Jesus daily.
- What obstacle or challenge did I overcome?
- What valuable lessons can I share with other believers from this experience?
Inspirational verses: Psalm 51; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11; Hebrews 4:14-16, 12:1-2
Speak to the Lord about sinful habits and earnestly confess that you have sinned against Him. Ask His forgiveness and speak to Him about your commitment to part with sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to walk in repentance before Your heavenly Father.
- Has my relationship with God grown deeper over the past year? What I have learned about God this year was…
- How has my relationship with God and obedience to His Word affected my human relationships?
- Is there any unforgiveness in my heart?
Inspirational verses: Psalm 23; Matthew 6:12; Mark 12:29-31; 1 John 2:9-11
Give thanks to God for seeking you out when you were a sinner; like a shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one who has lost its way. Speak to Him about your relationship with Him. Talk about the obstacles in your relationship with Him – fear, offence, unbelief, condition of your heart, or any hindrance that the Holy Spirit brings to your attention. Patiently wait on the Lord and listen to His voice.
Also, take time to speak to God about your relationships. Lay your emotions bare in the presence of God. Speak to Him about every disappointment, betrayal and even denial in your heart. Wait on the Holy Spirit to show you where you need to confess your sin, but also ask Him to guide you in forgiving others who have wronged you. Allow Him to touch your heart. Do not hurry through these moments.
- What are the experiences where God completely took your breath away this year?
- Were there difficult seasons this year when you were despondent or wanted to give up?
Inspirational verses: 1 Chronicles 16:8,34; Psalm 30; Psalm 103:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In your own words give thanks to God for what He has done in and through you in the past year. Thank Him for all the trials and victories that you have experienced. Write the experiences down and add Scripture, prophetic word or the title of a song that was meaningful to you in that season. Give thanks to God for your loved ones and friends that stood by you in trying times. Praise God for breakthroughs and His favour upon Your life.
- What are the plans that God has for you?
- Are you willing to partner with Him in advancing His kingdom here on earth, no matter what the cost and commitment it will require of you?
Inspirational verses: Psalm 1, 37:5; Proverbs 3:5-8, 16:9,19:21; Isaiah 30:21
If you have already purchased a diary for 2023 and started with planning, commit it to the Lord in prayer. Listen to His voice and write down the thoughts and ideas that He speaks to Your heart. As the Spirit leads, commit to co-labour with God to expand His kingdom through you in your sphere of influence.
Conclude your time of reflection in prayer, using the following excerpts from Psalm 90:
LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. (verse 1).
Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (verse 2).
For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. (verse 4).
The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. (verse 10).
So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (verse 12).
Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. (verses 16-17).