Being Intentional about Your Days
Psalm 90:12, 14, 16-17, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!"
Usually in November and December, I begin praying about the next year and considering the past year. Especially through Advent and focusing on the Messiah and coming Savior, I love giving thanks for all He has done in my life the past year and looking forward with expectation and begin planning for the coming year.
I think through things I need to change, things that I have committed to doing, my priorities, and such. I usually think through my biggest known sin struggles, and challenge myself with scripture to claim and/or books to read. I used to just kind of make a list and think through categories: Bible time, marriage, children, job, church, ministry, lost/evangelism, discipleship, prayer, finances, family, etc. But, this past year, in July, I went through Jennie Allen's Dream Guide as we were moving to the US, and I loved it. This guide walks you through gratitude, intentional questions, and helps you think through goal setting. I will be using the Dream Guide these next few weeks as I process through 2020.
In addition, here are some different resources I like to use to be intentional for the year. I do not do all of these things all of the time! But I have used all of these resources at some point in the last 5 years and recommend them for whatever season of life you are in or what seems interesting to you.
New Morning Mercies
Hands down, my favorite devotional is Paul David Tripp's New Morning Mercies. I have done this devotional a few times, and it is so good. I will be doing it again this next year. There is also a very beautiful gift version on Amazon, and I recommend giving this devotional as a gift!
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." Lamentations 3:22-26.
New Mercies! New Beginnings! What grace! Every single day we have new mercies, a brand new day, and I love mornings and starting the day. I also love starting the New Year. Sarala did along with me one year, and I plan that my older boys will do it next year with us. We all share the kindle version.
Dinner Table Devotions
Our family did Dinner Table Devotions this past year, and it was a great way to have dinner time conversations and also a devotional together as a family. Each devotion is about one page long. you have a passage of scripture along with other versions as references on the topic. Then there are a few questions that lead to further conversation on the topic.
Bible Reading Plan
No matter what devotion book, Bible version, or things you use, get into the Word everyday. I love using a Bible reading plan. There are SO many plans and apps out there to use, but my three personal favorites are the M'Cheyne plan, George Guthrie's Chronological Plan, and the Discipleship Journal Plan.
A few other Bible Reading printables that are available for free are The Bible Project Bible Reading Plan, and their site has free videos and posters-a wealth of resources and information. I love using the Bible Project with my kids. Also, there is this is a pretty, colorful chart that you can print to track your Bible reading at your own pace.
I always want to be growing in prayer. Ultimately, the best thing we should be doing to grow in prayer is to PRAY! We do not need anything since we have been granted full access to the Father! Having said that, I do love using a few resources that serve as reminders, guides, and prompts for me as I pray to the Father!
Praying for my kids
Nancy Guthrie's Praying through the Bible for your kids. This actually includes a reference for you to read the Bible through the year, and then each day, she takes a passage of scripture, has a small devotion on that passage, and then includes a prayer for you to pray for your children. I have been challenged, spurred on, and learned a lot from this book. It also is a small and simple little prompt to check my heart as a mom and to pray scripture over my kids. I love it!
Praying for my husband:
This is a great book that has less than one page of prayers to pray scripture over your husband. There is also one for husbands to pray for wives, and I just realized as I was working on this post there is one for praying for your children as well.
I also have written another post about Prayer where I shared some of the things I put in place in 2019 for my prayer life: reminders, alarms, and Apps. I shared about a special book our family uses to pray for countries and people groups at this post and on instagram.
Finally, here are some fun books to help with conversations and journaling:
Q&A a day for kids
One of our family's favorite is the Q&A a day for kids.
We started this in 2015 and did another year in 2017. We will do it again this year. It was fun to skip a year in between to allow more time for change. We actually write all 7 of our answers together along with guests too. It is fun as we go through to read previous year's answers--lots of laughter and it reminds us of different seasons. And, during the "off years" we have missed this conversation starter and so those have been the years we printed off questions or did a more formal family devotion book. The point is to have some intentional and FUN family conversation around the table together. They have different versions--for adults, for grandparents, couples. It's a fun book, and I think there is one for everyone!
One Line a Day 5 year memory book
One Line a Day is a fun little journal that has room for you to write a brief synopsis of your day or journal through how you are thinking and feeling. I love this...it's fun to have the journal of life, but I think it also helps me process through an old day and think about a new one. I like to do this along with my time with the Lord each morning, I write about the previous day. They have so many beautiful versions on Amazon. I have done this for 2 years now. Sarala started one this year, and I bought my older boys each one to begin next year.