NEW YEAR’S DEVOTION
I was asked to do a New Year’s devotion for our Ladies’ Meeting about 10 or 12 years ago. I was trying to come up with something challenging and at the same time encouraging for the New Year, when the Lord directed my attention to my new morning devotions book I got for the New Year. I eagerly skimmed through the January section of the book looking for something when I finally found it.
Cora Anne Skinner wrote two books entitled “Daily Encouragement.” In the first edition, twenty-nine of thirty-one days for the month of January are devotions on prayer. These two questions immediately began to surface:
Why is prayer important?
Why did she think it was so important to start the New Year off with twenty-nine devotions on prayer?
First: Why is prayer important?
It’s how we talk to God. In the Old Testament they could not come boldly to the throne of Grace as we can. Think about the awesome privilege we have. We can talk directly to God, He will hear us, and He will answer us.
It’s how we get forgiveness. It’s how sinners ask for forgiveness. Romans 10: 9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” It’s how Christians ask for daily cleansing and forgiveness of sins after salvation. 1 John 1: 8 – 10, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
It’s how we ask for our daily needs. Matthew 7: 7 – 8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
It’s how we get relief from burdens and our troubles. Psalms 34: 17 – 19, “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth them out of them all.” Psalms 50: 14 – 15, “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call upon him in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Matthew 11: 28 – 30, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take me yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” First Peter 5: 7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
It’s how we pray for others. James 5: 13 – 16 states, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Who else do we pray for? Our leaders 1Timothy 2: 1 – 2, our enemies Luke 6: 27 – 28, the lost 1 Timothy 2: 1, 3, & 4, and fellow Christians Ephesians 6: 18
It’s how we thank him, worship him, and praise him. Psalms 100: 4, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name.”
Not only is it how we talk to God, but it is also a command from God because it is what we need. And he is the only one who can supply our every need. 1 Chronicles 16: 11, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 & 18, “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ concerning you.” That means, we should always keep our fellowship with God open and have a prayerful attitude. Then in Matthew 6: 5 – 15 he gives us instructions on how we should pray and the pattern to guide us in our prayers.
Matthew 6: 5 – 15, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
It’s important to remember when we pray, that he will answer with either: yes, no, or wait, according to his will. Some reasons for no: James 4: 3, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 1: 5 – 7, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” Psalm 66: 18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Job 35: 12 – 13, “There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.” 2 Corinthians 12: 8 – 9, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Now that we see why it’s important to pray, let’s talk briefly about the second question. Why did she think it was so important to start the New Year off with twenty-nine devotions on prayer?
For over 36 years 12 years ago, she had been a Sunday School teacher, a minister’s wife, a prayer warrior, and later on in their life her husband was diagnosed with cancer and other illnesses. Therefore, it is through her wisdom and experience that she encourages us to pray. Because we do not know what the next minute holds, much less the next year. But our Heavenly Father does. God is and will be our only answer for help and strength to face what lies ahead for each and every one of us. Therefore it is very important that we maintain a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. 1Peter 5: 6 – 8, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” So, I encourage you and challenge you to pray this coming New Year. He will make a difference in your life.