It is always funny to me how at the end of the year, we are so busy and things are so chaotic. The Christmas season is supposed to be about remembering Jesus and celebrating his birth here on the Earth, but quickly becomes about cooking, gifts, travel, parties, and other worldly things. For me, every year’s end, I find myself wishing that I had spent more time with Jesus and making plans to be better in the new year.
Here are three simple ways to grow spiritually in the new year. Of course you don’t have to start January 1st. Any time is a good time to focus on Jesus, and these ideas are good year-round.
1. Make a commitment to read a daily devotional book. If you need to set an alarm on your phone, keep the book in your car to read while waiting in line to pick up the kids from school, set a habit like reading the daily devotional while your coffee brews, or whatever you need to do, get in the habit of spending time with Jesus daily. After only a few days, you will see how focused on the Lord that this seemingly small thing makes you feel. Over time, you will be depending on your daily devotional and even (if you don’t already,) find that you long for more. Consider reading the Bible in a year, along with your devotional book.
2. Create a Prayer Wall for your family, with your family. We found wooden letters for less than $2 each (but they’re also available on Amazon,) spelling out “PRAY.” I turned it in to a fun craft for the boys and let them select the color of the letters and we all painted them together. After the two coats of paint were dry, I hot glued a simple hanger on the letters and hung them on the wall of their room. Under it, I simply stapled a piece of chart tablet paper, and we have been writing down things that we need to remember to pray for and blessings that we need to thank God for. It’s a great visual reminder that God is present in our lives and we need to be talking to Him often. Even if you do not have kids, having a prayer wall or room, as in the War Room movie, is so beneficial to your relationship with God.
3. Volunteer or Sponsor a Child. I have found that we are humbled and shown God’s grace when we help others in need. It could be something free, as in visiting a care home for the elderly once a month, collecting supplies for people in need, or if you have been blessed financially, consider sponsoring a child through World Vision or Compassion International. We recently began sponsoring a child in South America and pray for him and his family daily. We have been blessed because of it.