How will you be intentional about the next 365 days?

As we’ve closed another year and started a fresh one, there’s much to thank God for, to process, and also to pray over and anticipate. Over the past few years, I’ve found a concise and clear way to journal these thoughts and prayers. And I hope it might be useful to you!

So grab your Bible, along with a pen and notebook, and find some time to be alone with the Lord, seeking his will and wisdom for the coming year.

Step 1: Begin with prayer.

Cover this time of thinking and journaling with dependent prayer. Ask God to help you, give you wisdom, and see his glory in Scripture (which you’ll open in a moment). Unless we abide in him, we can do nothing of eternal worth, today or any day (see John 15). Take some time to praise and thank God for the previous year, and ask for his Spirit to help you as you consider the future.

Step 2: Choose a verse for the year.

What’s one way you want to grow in Christlikeness this year? What’s a sin you’d like to fight? Is there an attribute of God you’d like to study more deeply? Choose a verse to guide the coming days, a Scripture you will memorize and meditate on regularly.

Step 3: Write a prayer to God.

Using the verse you chose as a guide, compose a prayer to God. Apply the Scripture through adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication; and ask him to be at work powerfully in the coming months, for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Step 4: List some prayers for this year.

Now, under the umbrella of the prayer you just wrote, make a list of specific prayers and petitions you’ll regularly ask God to answer this year. For example:

  • For the salvation of a specific person
  • For direction on a decision
  • For provision in a specific area (job, finances, etc.)
  • For healing of an ailment or a relationship

I love looking back at previous years’ lists to see how God has been faithful to answer certain prayers; and for those that seem unanswered, I’m motivated to keep praying in the new year.

Step 5: List some goals for this year.

Finally, set before the Lord some specific goals you’d like to reach. I usually struggle with this one because I never want to be presumptuous or proud. (Only God knows the future.) But if we approach him with a humble heart, motivated by love for Jesus and the spread of his glory, our goal-setting can be pleasing to God. Ultimately, he will decide if those goals are met, so we can rest in his sovereignty even as we strive for goals that honor Christ.

Here are a few of mine:

  • Invite a friend to study the Bible.
  • Read Entrusted with a Child’s Heart.
  • Finish writing the book and turn in the manuscript.

I hope this template encourages you to prayerfully consider what this year might bring, to live intentionally before God by making the best use of the time.

Happy New Year, and Soli Deo Gloria!

Kristen Wetherell

Kristen Wetherell is a wife, mother, and writer. She is the author of Fight Your Fears: Trusting the Character and Promises of God When You Are Afraid (Bethany House) and the co-author of the award-winning book Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (The Good Book Company).