In what ways do you expect to see measurable spiritual growth over the next twelve months? What steps are you taking to prepare your heart for real growth in grace? Few things have as direct a correlation to one’s spiritual strength as time spent before God in prayer and meditating on Scripture.
The beginning of the new year is a great opportunity to evaluate how you are doing on the disciplines of prayer and Bible reading. If you are considering a devotional plan for the new year, here are some encouragements and suggestions. Some set a goal of reading through the Bible each year. The ESV site provides 10 different one-year Bible reading plans here. Robert Murray McCheyene’s plan is popular and can be accompanied with D.A. Carson’s excellent devotional “For the Love of God” — available in print here. It can also be read free online (both volumes 1 and 2) here. McCheyene takes us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. A more ambitious goal of 45 minutes to an hour a day will take you through the Bible in 90 days. I understand that a typical reader can finish the New Testament in a year at a modest 4 minutes a day clip. As with any discipline, the goal is consistency. A very helpful supplemental devotional tool is The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. I recently found a suggested format that takes you through these prayers over 13 weeks. You can find the book here and the reading plan here. One final suggestion: Last night, a friend gave me a copy of Jonathan Edwards’ oft-cited resolutions. Reading through them this morning served to convict and challenge me toward holy living and heightened passion for God’s glory. You can find them here.