The shortest road to peace of mind is prayer offered with thanksgiving to God. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT). Grateful prayer keeps your mind positive and on God. Heavenly Father, instead of worrying and complaining, I pray to You. Thank You for blessing me with life and more. I receive Your peace to protect my heart and mind from anxiety of any kind.
As a Christian, please befriend many in order to be Christ’s witness to them, but always find your closest friends within God’s family, the church. The psalmist said, “I am a friend to everyone who worships You, and to everyone who obeys Your instructions” (Psalms 119:63). Worshipers who obey God’s word should be your true friends. LORD, grant me the wisdom to pick friends that are Your friends, those who care enough to pray and to lend a hand when life’s weather turns gloomy and conditions become hazardous.
Pray; God is listening. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, HE HEARS US” (I John 5:14). “We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving,” says Billy Graham. “We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We need to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient…. pray that the dew of heaven may fall on earth’s dry, thirsty ground…” LORD, there is no greater incentive for prayer than knowing that You hear me when I pray.
Is there a reliable, practical guide for fruitful, successful living? Yes! “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105). Dr. Jack Hayford comments, “We are all inexperienced in too much of life to be without a guide. God’s word is that guide… God’s word lights the way, giving direction for each step (‘to my feet’) and giving wisdom for long-range plans (‘to my path’).” LORD, let Your word teach and lead me. May it correct or confirm me in every key decision I make, so that I can do Your will.”
Unpack the last four of the eight Hebrew terms used in Psalms 119 to showcase the beauty, the breadth, and the benefits of the Holy Scriptures: 5. CHOQ (“statutes”) in verse 5: royal decrees enacted by God who is King of the universe. 6. MITSVAH (“commandments”) in verse 6: orders given by God, the Commander, to be carried out. 7. MISHPAT (“judgments” in verse 7, “ordinances” in verse 91): verdicts and sentences handed down by God as the supreme Judge. 8. DABAR (“word”) in verse 9: the record of what God has revealed, spoken and done. Pray & Say: LORD, I will devote daily time to exploring how beautiful, how broad, how beneficial Your Holy Book really is.
Is it not by divine design that the longest chapter in the Bible is about the Bible? Eight different Hebrew terms are used repeatedly in Psalms 119 to underscore the beauty, power and benefits of the Holy Book. The first four of the Hebrew terms are: 1) DEREK (“way”) in verse 1: God’s course of life. 2) TORAH (“law”) in verse 1: direction or instruction that teaches the truth about God; God-given guidelines for life and living. 3) EDAH (“testimonies”) in verse 2: records that bear witness to the true God. 4) PIQQUD (“precepts”) in verse 4: mandates authorized by God. Pray & Say: LORD, this year, may the Bible be my daily life manual.
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid” (Psalms 27:1)? What are you afraid of? What fears torment you? Billy Graham writes, “Today many people are living in the bondage of fear…a psychiatrist said that the greatest problem facing his patients was fear. Fear of going insane, committing suicide, being alone, or fear of heart disease, cancer, disaster, or death.” The perfect cure for fear is God’s perfect love. Pray & Say: “Because You love me, Heavenly Father, I will not be afraid. There is no fear in love. Your perfect love drives out all my fears (I John 4:18).
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3). Describing God’s love, says Billy Graham, is “like describing the ocean, its total beauty cannot be understood until it is actually seen… Until you actually (experience the love of God), no one can describe its wonders to you.” Pray & Say: LORD, thank You for loving me always and forever. I have experienced Your amazing love, and it is like nothing else I have ever known. No one ever loves me like You do.
At the start of this new year, a woman admitted on national radio to having “a potty mouth”. Her new year’s resolution is to stop using cuss words. Just one day into the new year she’s been able to avoid cussing or swearing in just 2 of 11 instances. Not a great start; she’s asking for help. Actually, this woman does not have a mouth problem; she has a heart issue. Jesus said, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). For a new year’s resolution let’s join this dear lady and pray, “Lord, Jesus Christ, give me a changed, pure heart as the source of clean words coming out of mouth.”
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19). Pray Out Loud: Almighty God, the Maker and Master of Time, I will not dwell on the pleasures or pains of last year. I know You will suddenly do something new and refreshing this year. I can’t wait to travel the road and drink from the waters You will make even in my dry places. Lord, I am ready for my New year pregnant with hope and dreams to be delivered!
God loves the middle. He placed “the tree of life…in the midst” of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). He told the ancient Levites to put their city “in the middle” of their tribal land (Numbers 35:5). The Israelites considered Yahweh God as the center of their capital city: “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved…” (Psalms 46:5). No wonder the cross on which Jesus died was the middle cross, between two thieves (Mark 15:27); there God positioned Christ to be mightily raised from the dead. LORD, I make You the center of my life that You can do Your best work from the middle of my situation.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…”(James 1:19). “Do not be rash with your mouth… For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Someone said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we talk.” Billy Graham said, “One of the greatest ministries that a person can have today is just being a good listener. Many people are longing not only to be loved but to have someone who will listen to them.” Lord, sign me up for the ministry of listening; I want to be more ears and less mouth today.