BACK TO THE BASICS
The first part of a new year is an opportune time to set new goals personally and professionally. As Christians, many of us enter into the year with a renewed vigor to pursue the things of God, setting aside time to fast and pray for His grace and direction. It’s the perfect time to discover the deeper realities of the Kingdom through the gift of prayer.
I took some time back in December to meditate on the past year and the many changes we saw within the Christian Chamber of Commerce. Honestly, I became overwhelmed with the laundry list of prayer needs before me and remembered thinking, “Where do I even begin to pray?” My mind was racing. The Spirit gently reminded me that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and to simply be still.
Isn’t this what we tell our children when they act frantic and out of control? Be still. Take a time-out. Be silent.
As I sat and quieted my racing thoughts and simply began to listen, the Father began speaking to me about football.
Please don’t judge me for this, but I’m not a football fan. I barely know the mechanics of the game. However, that didn’t deter the Father from using a football example to get His point across.
EVEN PROFESSIONALS GO BACK TO THE BASICS
He reminded me of the story of Vince Lombardi.
In his best-selling book, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi, author David Maraniss explains what happened when Lombardi walked into training camp in the summer of 1961.
He took nothing for granted. He began a tradition of starting from scratch, assuming that the players were blank slates who carried over no knowledge from the year before… He began with the most elemental statement of all. “Gentlemen,” he said, holding a pigskin in his right hand, “this is a football.”
Lombardi was coaching a group of three dozen professional athletes who, just months prior, had come within minutes of winning the biggest prize their sport could offer. And yet, he started from the very beginning.
Just as each of these football players walked in a level of excellence in their game, each of you walks in a level of excellence in your assigned mountains of influence. It is an honor to be counted among you. But I believe the Father is telling us it’s time to get back to the basics.
YOUR KINGDOM COME…
He took me back to the Lord’s Prayer. He said:
Beloved, pray the prayer I taught My disciples. Pray the prayer of the Our Father. It is still My heart to bless you and all those who call upon My name. My heart still desires for My kingdom to overtake and annihilate the darkness. This has not changed. New life is found in those verses. Go back and look.
Before you read these well-loved verses, take a moment to pray and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind to fully receive the revelation of His word.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed is Your Name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen” Matthew 6:9-13
I saw a few things in a new light and received some gentle reminders to hold on to as we walk together into this exciting New Year.
- We should lift His Name higher than any other. As we lift His Name high He will draw all hearts to Himself. He dwells above and below and within. He is ever present, always near, with His ear tuned to our cries.
- We should pray for His kingdom to be fully manifested; first in our hearts, then our families, our businesses and communities. But first our hearts. We will manifest without what we have cultivated within.
- We should pray for our daily provision in every area of our lives and expect that since He is a good Father He will give us good things to nourish, sustain and equip us for the call He’s placed on our lives.
- We should forgive freely, and quickly. This is no time to be tied down in unforgiveness or allow a root of bitterness to grow in our midst. We must deal quickly with offense.
- We should pray for our leaders that they are found hidden in Christ, protected from the arrows of the evil one. Each victory over our foul enemy gives us strength and courage to take more ground for the Kingdom. This year, pray our enemy becomes our bread!
“If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their defense and the shadow [of protection] is removed from over them, but the Lord is with us. Fear them not.” Numbers 14:8-9 AMP
- We should pray for a deeper revelation of our standing as children of the Kingdom. Pray that our identities will be fully rooted and grounded in Him. Meditate on how powerful our Father is, and how He fights for us, co-laboring alongside us to see the Kingdom manifest in our midst. Pray that He will receive all the glory and all the fruit this year as we walk out what it means to be a Christian Chamber of Commerce.
As we put “first things first,” this year, I believe we will experience growth personally, professionally, and within our realms of influence that will astound us.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I’m sure each of you has your own piece of the puzzle to add to this, and I encourage you to chime in with your own revelation and perspective. What’s the Father speaking to you as we head into 2018?
Father, help us to get back to the basics. Help us to glorify You first and above every other pursuit this year. Help us to be still and wait on Your voice. Remove the distractions and help us to simply come to You as beloved children. Yeshua, we thank You for this new year full of promises. Help us to cling to Your word and to Your presence in such a way that Your character, goodness and faithfulness burns within our hearts. Holy Spirit remove anything that would hinder us from running after the Father’s perfect plans this year. Equip us for the challenges ahead and enable us to look with satisfaction upon our defeated enemy. May they become our bread this year. Give us a boldness and a fierce determination to see Your Kingdom come and Your will be done in our lives, our families, our businesses and communities in the Name of Yeshua, Amen.
Lori Anderson-Bowen is the Charleston SC-C3 Prayer Team Leader and serves as the Prayer Ministry Director at Seacoast Church in Summerville, SC. She is passionate about hearing the voice of God and seeing people walk in freedom daily through the ministry of prayer. Lori is also a business partner with SC-C3 and the proud owner of Andowen Photography. You can contact her directly at email@example.com.