By Kelly Bridgewater
Every year in January for the first twenty-days of the year, our church does a fast. Not for fame or to have everyone pitting you because you can’t eat certain food, but to place our priorities in the right place as we begin this New Year. Our church follows the Daniel Fast. No red meat. No candy. No coffee. No caffeine. No dairy products. Just lots of fruits and veggies, grains, and fish.
For the twenty-one days, we read our Bibles and spend a lot of time in prayer, asking God for what he wants to accomplish in the New Year. It is hard when your stomach is growling, but you drink some juice and open the Bible. The first year our family participated, which was five years ago, it was really hard. I wanted to eat, but as I learned how to do this, my stomach still growls, but I feed it by eating some fruit and flipping open the Bible for some inspiration.
I designate certain days to pray for each of my boys: Elijah, Isaiah, and Obadiah. I pray for Michael and his leadership in our family. I pray for my church. I pray for our country. I pray for mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, mother-in-law, father-in-law, our neighbors.
Finally, I pray for God to guide my steps during the year. To be a better mother who treasures the moments with her children. To be a better wife who loves her husband like God loves the church. To improve my writing. I pray to be a better daughter of God who seeks after him with my whole heart. To spend more time in worshipping him. Worship isn’t just for church. I pray for a job that will meet our financial needs and my spiritual desire to write and create for God.
I set Bible reading goals to keep searching and discovering something new in the Bible every day. I know, personally, how hard it is to keep reading the same book day after day and skimming over the parts that I have read and heard my entire life. I ask God to give me the eyes of someone who has never heard that part of the Bible before. I want to hang on to something new and fresh from the Bible every day.
What do you do to set your heart in the right place at the beginning of the New Year? Have you ever fasted and given the New Year over to God to see what he wants to accomplish during 2017?
Come back next week, when I will discuss my writing goals for 2017. On February 3rd, I will show you my reading plan for 2017. Return and you’ll see how I read around 200 books a year.
******This exact blog appeared in January 2015, but my prayer and reading the Bible goals really don't change year to year, so I decided to use it again.**************