A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(Pray out loud if you are in a place where you can do so, and remember, that today’s prayer is crafted using the scriptures above):
Father God, I want to come to you with a heart of gratitude at the beginning of 2023. Before making any requests of you or from you, I want to share my thankfulness for who you are and who you have been for me in the past, who you are for me now, and who you will continue to be in my future. As I sit here with you today, I want to reminisce about the ways you have shown yourself faithful throughout my life. Even before I knew you, you knew me, and I am grateful for your faithfulness to me.
*Sit quietly with God and take some time to reflect on how God has loved you, seen you and cared for you directly OR through others who have loved you as He does and specifically thank Him for those things*
God, I thank you for the peace that comes when I focus on who you are and how you are always faithful. The same way you have provided for me, protected me, and seen me in the past will most certainly be the way you take care of me now and in my future. Please forgive me for forgetting to be thankful and express my gratitude for who you are. I pray that you will help me to remain in a place of gratitude and prayer this year by quickly reminding me when I become overly focused on circumstances around me instead of the God who created me. Please remind me to come to you with thanksgiving and the requests of my heart knowing that you, as the God of Peace, will guard over my heart and give me a peace that is beyond what the world or any other thing can give me.
I know that while I am not thankful for all circumstances, I can be thankful in all circumstances because you guard over me and lead me beside still waters as my Good Shepherd described in Psalm 23. Thank you that in you I lack nothing and that you take good care of me. I start this year declaring that you are greater than any circumstance, higher than any problem, and strong when I feel weak. I choose to set my focus on what is true, good, right, pure, and lovely. I choose to seek You in every season of my life and set my eyes on Your goodness. I love you. Amen.
Prompts for Journaling
Multiple prompts have been provided. Take your time and don’t feel pressure to complete all of them in one sitting. You can extend your journaling throughout the month if you don’t have time to complete responses to all prompts today.
**Remember, as you connect with God in prayer, it is two-way conversation with Him. He responds to our prayers, questions, worship, etc, with thoughts, promptings, sensings, creative ideas/strategies, etc. Record what He shares with you and follow His counsel.
- Write a letter to God expressing your gratitude for who He has been for you, your family, etc, in the past and express your desire to experience that same provision, protection, peace, etc in your current circumstances. Take time to soak in that the same God who was there for you in the past will certainly be there for you now. Reflect on His goodness to you in the past and invite Him to hit the “refresh” button in your heart and have a renewed sense of what you experienced in those moments to comfort your heart in this present season.
- Make a list of your prayer requests over this coming year. What are you believing God for in this coming year? What are you sensing to pray for related to your family, your spheres of influence, your finances, your physical health, friends/family to come to know Jesus, etc. Spend some time praying about these things and surrendering any concerns, worries, fears to God as you pray. Ask the God of Peace to guard your heart as you surrender these requests to Him.
- As you consider what Philippians 4 encourages us to focus on, ask God to reveal to you the following:
- Take some time to ask Him to reveal to you what is true about Him, yourself, and/or others and ask Him to give you practical ways you can stay grounded in this truth.
- Ask him to show you ways you have not believed “whatever is true” about Him, yourself, or others.
- If He revealed any lies you have believed, ask Him to reveal any unhealthy patterns or behaviors that have taken root in your life as a result of believing those lies.
End this time of journaling and reflection by praying this prayer:
God, thank you for revealing to me ways in which I have not believed what is true about you, myself or others. I want to love you, myself and others the way that you love. I reject the lies that I have believed and the negative patterns of behavior produced as a result of the lies I have believed about you, myself and others. I want your truth to be my focus this year and beyond, and I want your truth to guide me in my decisions and actions. Help me to stay rooted in your truth by remaining focused on you and the practical wisdom you gave me today. Amen.