For the past month of Advent our daily prayer has been:
May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting.
I’m not sure if many of us are very accomplished at watching or waiting. Our Western culture moves at such a pace, it does not naturally shape us to be people who slow down long enough to pause and linger, observe and notice. But for the people of God, we are called to just this.
The fruitfulness of our Mission Action Planning as a Parish and as individual church communities depends entirely upon our posture of watching and waiting. What is the Lord Jesus doing in our midst? Where are the signs of spiritual life and health? Where is the Holy Spirit leading us to follow Him? We cannot know the answer to these questions without prayerful watching and waiting.
For each one of us as individual followers of Jesus Christ, the same is true and this period between Christmas and New Year is a wonderful opportunity to pause and lay our lives before Him again. Between the busyness of the festive season and the start of a new year, consider how you might make time to stop and listen to the Lord. Spend some time in prayerful silence and solitude.
Looking behind – Gratitude. Cast your mind back over the last year. Where have you seen God’s goodness in your life? How has He held and sustained you in the stormy seasons? Thank Him for His faithfulness and steadfast love.
Looking ahead - Hopes and dreams. Take a moment to invite the Holy Spirit to come. Ask Him to guide this time and help you dream God’s dreams for you for the coming year. Write lists, draw pictures – what dreams and goals do you have for the year to come? Who is God asking you to serve this year? What is He calling you to trust Him with this year? What do you need to let go of, hurts to release to Him? Commit these all into the hands of God.
As you pause and spend time in God’s presence; watching for His direction and leading and waiting for His wisdom and insight, may you be encouraged in Him, strengthened and empowered to serve Him in your local church community and across our Parish.
The Revd Jo Purle