A few years ago, I found myself tired of making New Year’s Resolutions. They were always the same, and I’d end up breaking them right away and feeling like a total failure.
Then I read a post in a blog somewhere that changed my perspective on the idea. Instead of a goal or an ideal to work on or a promise to avoid this or that thing that I happen to really enjoy, the idea is to pick a word that you want to focus on for the year.
That first year, I had been particularly depressed, so I chose to work on “Joy”. Then, throughout the year, I would remember the word, contemplate it, think about it, read and write about it, and hopefully find more of it in my life. So, at the end of the year, I could look back and see its impact.
Gone is the guilt of failure. If I have an unjoyful week, I’m fine with that. I just continue my focus and let it grow.
Other words I’ve used in other years have been “Gratitude”, “Creativity”, and “Spirit”.
So this year, I’m going to focus on the word “Prayer”. I’m feeling a real need to re-connect myself with Heavenly Father, and to feel more divine, myself. One way to do that is to simply take a quick moment to pray whenever the thought crosses my mind. To take that thought as an inspired reminder, and to think thoughts of gratitude to God, and to ask for blessings for those around me.
I know that we’re taught that there are certain times of the day when we’re “supposed to pray”. I’m OK with that, but I don’t always remember at those times. So, I’ll take advantage of the times I do remember.
In Alma 34, Amulek teaches that it’s good to pray whenever the desire or the need strikes you, and it’s good to pray over temporal as well as spiritual things:
17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
19 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
22 Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
23 Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
24 Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
So, that’s gonna be my focus this year.
Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his Dutch Oven blog.