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What Are Your Prayer Themes in the New Year?

Beyond setting goals and resolutions, here’s an approach for the biggest and most important aspects of your life.

Woman praying in the morning light
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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Some of the most fun I have every year, believe it or not, is a habit I’ve cultivated for decades now: reviewing the past year’s goals while setting new ones for the coming year. They cover categories from spiritual and mental health to marriage, family, finances and career. I make sure these goals are achievable by me, not relying on situations or people beyond my control. (I might not publish a book this year, but I can write a manuscript.) But a few years ago, I recognized a shortcoming in this careful approach. What about the things hugely important to me, but beyond my control? Things I long to see come to pass. Things I think about daily. Things I pray for, fervently. So I created a new category: prayer themes.

Top Prayer Themes

This category now includes my top five prayer themes. They include healing for two grandchildren who cope daily with the effects of cystic fibrosis. A loved one’s recovery from addiction. An important work project. Even the need for reform or integrity in state and national affairs.

Though I keep the focus each year on five top concerns, many of those annual prayer themes have carried over from one year to the next. Some have been answered—none miraculously, yet, but it’s only been a few years. And the focus has helped me to look above and beyond things I control to things only God can accomplish.

In this new year, you might consider—beyond the usual resolutions or goal setting—building a few prayer themes. It may help to lift and broaden your focus, as it has mine, to look above and beyond things you control to things only God can accomplish.

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