2015 will arrive very soon Lord-willing, and 2016 not long after that. But at least for the next 365 day cycle, Justin has some serious prayer requests.
I was sick and home-bound for most of my time away from work during the Thanksgiving holiday. As a result I had significant opportunity to ponder how I would like to see 2015 pan out on a personal spiritual basis. You will see the results of my pondering further down in the form of raw, from-the-heart prayer requests.
If you happen to know me only by this blog and choose to pray at all for anything I share below, consider me most grateful. I’m plenty aware that time is limited and precious, and that your obligations are to your family and close friends first, and your own local church second. And knowing too well the challenge of praying faithfully on even the simplest of scales, I’m not about to act as though I deserve your intercessions.
If you do know me and/or are a member of my local assembly (Westerville Bible Church), I’ve published this that you might know specifically how I desire and need prayer for the 2015 calendar year. What lies below is by no means exhaustive, and frankly I’m thankful just that you would pray for me in general. Yet if you are willing and able to shoulder the heavy spiritual burdens I share, may the Lord bless!
Yet before I share specifics, I wish to point out that 2014 was altogether a black eye of sorts…a disappointment for me. Allow me to highlight some reasons why.
In no particular order… I’ve struggled mightily, sometimes painfully, with health issues. I’ve struggled to lovingly communicate with my wife, and tend to feel lost and hopeless when I don’t. I’ve struggled in my relationships with certain others, and wish the struggles would just disappear. Consistent, proper rest has always been and continues to be elusive for my weary mind and body. Productive study of the Word has been hard to come by. My prayer life has been a dud, all things considered. Even book-reading has been less of a joy and more of a self-imposed chore, one that I temporarily walked away from in November.
There’s much more that I could share, but the above is plenty adequate to help you understand how life has been. I don’t mean to sound as though I’m complaining; I’m not, and I don’t pretend to be the only one with difficult challenges You simply have to share information somehow.
I’m fearful that 2015 will turn out the same way if attitudes and ways of thinking I have don’t change in very necessary ways. So without further ado, below is how you can pray for me as 2014 draws to a close, and January 1, 2015 00:00:00 comes to be.
Stubborn self-sufficiency. Who knows whether being a man or arguably “successful” throughout most of my life’s endeavors are contributing factors to this problem? They probably are in some form or another. The root no less is my sinful heart. Also, when you’re like me and convinced or want to be convinced that you have it all together…that you can handle life on your own, you won’t pray. This has always been an epic struggle for me, and I really, really want it to change. At least I believe I’ve wanted that, but apparently not badly enough since it hasn’t. The simple fact is that I need to be obedient to Christ in this area. And to hopefully get off on the right foot, I intend to use a tool I encountered recently called PrayerMate. I already anticipate many failures and intense battle to be consistent, but it’s time for me to stop living as though I can apart from God and not pray as Christ commands. Please pray for my prayer life! (oh the irony…)
Forks in the road. I have difficult decisions to make regarding career and ministry. I am pursuing a new line of work in the IT world (i.e. web development), but not sure where the Lord wants me to begin it. It’s scary, and I want to do what will most glorify God and best provide for my family. As far as ministry goes, it boils down to the need to determine what would be the healthiest ways for me to serve with my time, resources, and energy. I must carefully consider my spiritual qualifications as well. What should/can I do? What shouldn’t/can’t I do? These are not easy questions to answer, and I can’t allow the well-intended opinions of others to sway me into what I can’t or shouldn’t do. That’s not to say I shouldn’t or won’t listen to wisdom God provides through others, but unfortunately I got burned out this year, and the consequences have been alarming. Please pray for these decisions!
The war zone of the mind. I’ve had Covenant Eyes installed on my laptop, smartphone, and tablet (at least as the services became available) since 2009. You can read more about the circumstances surrounding that here if you wish. I’m thankful for Covenant Eyes; it’s a wonderful tool. There’s just one problem, and it’s no small problem: you can’t install accountability software in your brain. And even if you could, it still wouldn’t solve the root issue of lust. Only the Holy Spirit via the Word of God is capable of conquering such sin, enabling someone such as I to choose to not entertain lustful thinking. The Lord has enabled me to have much victory, but I’ve also stumbled in ways that must stop. To fight this war more effectively, I’ve partnered with some brothers in the department of “brutal honesty”. Yet of course I must depend fully on Christ, treasuring Him, in this matter. Please pray as I personally take up sword and shield!
Crucifying my flesh. It’s troubling to think of the sure number of times I’ve demanded my own way, acted to protect my “rights”, and lacked a Christ-like servant’s heart. It’s troubling to think of the sure number of times I’ve spoken from pure emotion, unleashing sarcasm, pride-filled self-defense, and other forms of biting language. It’s troubling to think of the sure number of times I’ve chosen to be aggravated at someone or some thing, or respond to questions or comments in a spirit of exasperation or impatience. It’s troubling to think of the sure number of times I’ve chosen not to share the faith due to fear or selfishness. And it’s troubling to think of the sure number of times I’ve sinned against the Lord, and others, in many other ways. Notice a pattern? Certainly my hope in the finished work of Jesus Christ to cover every last one of these sins, and all to come in 2015, is rock-solid. But that doesn’t mean what I’ve done is acceptable. God overhauled my life in various obviously necessary ways across the past handful of years, but so much work remains! Please pray that I would yield my life to the lordship of Jesus Christ in 2015!
One word: stress (i.e. anxiety). My wife would tell you that I’m a laid-back person. And about certain things in life I’m confident that this is true. However, about too many areas of life and various circumstances I deal with, I’ve chosen to be a stressed-out, anxious man. (e.g. health, job, relational difficulties, personal sin, responsibilities in general, etc.) Ultimately I need to trust God’s love, care, and plan when I’m facing trials of any kind. I must believe that His ways only are best. I must stop trying to handle trials as though I have the strength to do so. Please pray that I would give my cares to the Lord each and every time in 2015!