4 Ways to Be More Intentional with Your Spiritual Life in the New Year
We all want to be more intentional with our spiritual life. As Christians, our time with Jesus is ever so important, yet too often it’s the first thing to go when life gets busy. And boy does life get busy!
This time of year always brings about anticipation for a fresh start. We take time to reflect back over the previous year and begin making plans and setting goals for the new year.
Do you want to go deeper in your relationship with the Lord? Do you want to walk a little closer with Jesus? Do you want to be more consistent with your prayer life?
Then now is the time to plan for it! I’m a big believer in setting goals and being intentional. My spiritual life is no different!
4 Ways to Be More Intentional with Your Spiritual Life
1. Develop a Bible reading plan
Being intentional with our spiritual lives starts with reading God’s Word. We cannot bear fruit without first sitting at the feet of Jesus. We must be women who study God’s Word. And study it often!
Last year, I didn’t really set realistic goals for my spiritual life. I flippantly wrote down, “Read the Bible in a Year.” I wasn’t excited about it though. I just thought it was something I was supposed to do.
Can I just say that “doing what we’re supposed to do” is not God’s will for our lives? At all. Not even close.
This year I want to be more intentional with my Bible reading plan because I want to know God more. I want to know what His word says about … well, everything! I want to seek truth and ask questions. I want to really know God and be in relationship with Him.
The new year is a great time to freshen up your Bible reading plan and revive accountability. You don’t have to hop on any band wagon devotional or public Bible study.
What do you want to know more about this year?
Start there and let the Lord guide you into a Bible reading plan that works for you.
Recommended resource: Free Topical Bible Reading Plans
2. Organize your prayer life
I’ve told you before that my prayer life is a mess. I am a constant work in progress. However, I know that if I want to improve my spiritual life in the new year, then I need to get organized when it comes to my prayer life.
I’m currently working on creating a prayer notebook (update: you can see it here) that will help me stay organized and be accountable to praying for the people and priorities that are important to me.
Not everyone needs a prayer notebook, but take time to think about the state of your prayer life. What is one way you can improve your prayer life this year?
3. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a way to record all the ways the Lord is at work in your life.
I’ve been keeping a journal for nearly a decade, and I can say that going back and reading all the ways the Lord has worked in my life has built my faith time and time again.
To reap the benefits of keeping a journal, you don’t have to be a great writer or speller. There are no rules for keeping a journal. Use a fancy leather bound journal or a simple composition notebook. I like cheap notebooks myself. Just start writing down your thoughts and prayers somewhere.
4. Set goals and make a plan
I touched on this in the previous three tips, but I want to give goal setting a slot all to itself. I have found that setting specific spiritual goals drastically improves my time with God.
As I said, last year I set the goal to read through the Bible in a year. I wasn’t excited about it though. Honestly? Before setting this goal, I really didn’t seek the Lord’s will. I just wrote something down. I’m pretty ashamed to admit that. But it’s important to me to share this because I believe this is where grace comes in.
Sometimes we don’t seek God’s will even though our heart’s desire is to Live for Him. We try to do good things instead of just slowing down, sitting in His presence, and listening.
“Be still and know that I am God” has come to mind often this year. It’s really not about doing. It’s about being in Him. There is grace for the mess we make of our spiritual lives as we try to do it on our own with our own ideas.
Nevertheless I still believe that setting spiritual goals is important. Where there is no vision, a people perish (Proverbs 29:18). but we must remember GRACE, GRACE, GRACE! Setting goals is about pursuing godliness, not earning salvation.
Some examples of spiritual goals:
- Read through the Proverbs by January 31
- Create a prayer notebook by January 31
- Write in journal four times a week
- Memorize Romans 1 by June 30
Being specific about your goals and setting due dates or benchmarks will help keep you on track throughout the year.
What about you? What plans do you have for growing in your spiritual life this year?
Pssst! Check out the Made to Give Life Seasonal Goal Planner. It will help you get crystal clear on your goals and help you make them happen this year! Click here to learn more.
My biggest struggle for time spend in scripture is letting my mind wander. No matter what I do to minimize the distractions around me so I can really focus I quickly find myself thinking about something else. It is the same reason I sit in the 2nd row at church. When we get there late and sit in the back I spend so much time watching other people, ushers and the tech crew that I leave and cant remember what the message was. I think reading with a purpose is a great idea. I want to know more about _____. Maybe having a focus, will help me focus.
I am the same way! I can get easily distracted too. I’ve found that having a purpose and a plan definitely helps. I also keep a note pad next to me where I can jot down those rogue thoughts twirling around my ferris wheel in my head. This helps me capture the things I’m worried I will forget. Writing them down means I can let my mind stop thinking about it! Also journaling almost constantly, writing out the scripture, writing out my prayers, writing out whatever comes to mind also helps keep me focused. It’s hard! But worth figuring out, I suppose. 😉
The biggest thing my husband and I are doing this year is getting back in the habit of going to be early, and then getting up early. Trying to find time to read and pray any other time of the day has not been working!
Are you a fly on the wall at our house right now? We are doing the same thing – going to bed early. But instead of trying to do anything in the morning, we’re going to try doing it together before bed. Of course, the very day we purposed to do this my youngest decided he absolutely couldn’t sleep anywhere but our arms. *sigh* And the oldest ends up in our room at 5am every morning. *double sigh* haha!
Thanks for those ideas. I’m currently reading the book, Women of the Word by Jen Wilkins, and it is so good. It’s helping me to better understanding a more fruitful and meaningful way to study scripture.
That book is on my list!
The Lord is keeping me on track today. He’s showering me with grace as I am reading several of your posts. Gosh, I truly appreciate our Lord. Thanks for this. I needed to see this. Now I’m off to read the one about being discontent. I started reading The Resolution for Women. I got to the first chapter dealing with contentment and I stopped. The reality that I was hit me like a ton of bricks. And oh was I ever repentant unto the Lord. I don’t want to be discontent. So I’ve been asking God to be my strength and to help me with that. Seriously.
I am learning that sometimes I can only focus on one area of change at a time. Right now, I’m not trying to take on too much and I see a lot of areas I NEED to grow, but all I have in me is to focus on one thing – gentleness. So, good for you putting down a book. That takes guts! Let God refine you, sweet one. He is faithful and He loves you more than you can ever imagine. He is doing a good work and He will bring it to completion in your as you continue to surrender day-in and day-out!
Sticking to a Bible reading plan has always been a struggle for many! Thank you so much for providing these tips and tricks for how to stick with it. This post was so helpful!
Intention is everything, thanks for sharing this!