No one was prepared for the challenges and setbacks of 2020. As a pastor, I was absolutely overwhelmed at times. Like many, I began 2020 with new resolutions, dreams, and a grand “2020” vision for my church. By the month of May, it was obvious that those plans would need to be scrapped or adapted. One thing I discovered, however, is that during the crisis I found that most of my prayers were reactive rather than proactive.
This year I am determined to pray more proactively and specifically (see the article “Pray Scripturally and Specifically”). And what better prayers to pray than those found in Psalm 119? I plan to read the following verses and pray these monthly prayers every Monday as I begin my work week. Consider joining me or pray these prayers in advance for your year.
- “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” (Psalm 119:10)
- Father, so much competition tries to vie for my heart. At times I feel Satan tempting me to get my eyes off of you—like Israel looking to her idols, or Esau to a bowl of soup. As I begin this new year, help me to seek you every day with my whole heart. Keep my heart and mind from drifting away from your words.
- “Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!” (Psalm 119:36)
- Father, grant me an eagerness for your words and help me to remember that godliness with contentment is the greater gain. Help me to see that only your words last forever and not selfish gain.
- “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” (Psalm 119:37)
- Father, enable me through your Spirit to reject all that is vain and worthless. Help me to find life in your words.
- “I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.” (Psalm 119:60)
- Father, create in me a heart that is eager to quickly obey your words. Whatever you will say to me, my heart already says, ‘Yes, Lord!’”
- “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)
- Father, when suffering and trials come my way, help me to see your hand in all things. Use my trials to teach me more about you and your word.
- I incline my heart to perform your statutes forever, to the end. (Psalm 119:112)
- “Father, help me to finish the race I started well. Give me a determined heart to follow your words to the very end of my earthly life.”
- “Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:124)
- Father, in all of your dealings with me, I pray that you would be gracious and merciful. Give me a teachable spirit as you teach me your word.
- “I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments.” (Psalm 119:131)
- Father, help me to desire your commands like a thirsty person longs for a drink of water. May my heart find the same satisfaction and contentment.
- “Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133)
- Father, direct my life according to your words. I pray that sin would not rule over me and that I would be delivered from its power and dominion.
- “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” (Psalm 119:136)
- “‘[Father], we are exhausted with trying to reach our cities with frenetic activity, fancy branding, and the latest websites. Please give us eyes to see the need in our zip codes and tears to water our efforts.’” (Robert Broadbooks)
- “Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies.” (Psalm 119:157)
- Father, it breaks my heart to see so many today turning away from your word. As the world pressures me to fit into its mold, help me to stay committed to your words.
- “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” (Psalm 119:176)
- Father, please forgive me for any time during this last year I have gone astray and drifted away from your commandments. Seek me as the Good Shepherd seeks the lost sheep. Bring me back home and give me a heart to remember and keep your words.