One thing that causes many people to miss out on the promise of John 15:7-8 is that they do not give the time needed at the beginning of the year to receive words and convictions from the Holy Spirit, and to grow these convictions by praying in the spirit into them. That is where spiritual sets/exercises are crucial. As we pray, we may receive what seems like a little particle or seed into our spirit. The mistake that most people make is to not grow it until it has mass, strength and weight. Many beginnings of great things are aborted through sheer lack of care in prayer. They are relegated to one of many competing ideas, rather than grown into the lens through which everything is viewed.

So, here is the set for the coming weeks:

1. Set aside time everyday to pray for God to deposit in your heart, His desires and goals for the year. These will give you an idea of what He is wanting to focus you on and accomplish through the year. “Without a vision, the people perish.” If you have not heard the sermon from Dec 29 or Jan 5, please try to listen to it (visioncf.org/sermons). Please spend a significant amount of time seeking God about what He’s aiming you towards as your focus for the year. One characteristic about the Asking that God puts in your heart will be that it will be somehow bound up with being a witness.

2. Share with your small group leader, or do make an appointment with me to talk about what God has put into your heart, so that we can work together this year with a vision of this in front of us.

3. Continue the previous set as a staple for your prayer life. Pray unto being filled with the Spirit.

Whatever you are feeling, pray in the spirit (in tongues, or praising Him repetitively, focusing on inviting Him to be Lord) in a relaxed way for 20 minutes using the Spirit Tool. Go for longer if you like. But do this everyday. That will be our staple. Pray towards the point where you feel that the distractions, concerns and depressing thoughts begin to fade, and God’s peace takes over. The Spirit Tool may help you identify some signs of His rising in you and your circumstances around you.

If you have done this consistently last week, you will probably have experience a difference in your state of heart in the morning. There will have been some days in which you felt a change of heart, a strengthening, a liberty, and even a sense hope or faith rising. On some other days, you may have felt that the work of prayer had not been fully done.

As we enter more fully into our exercise in prayer, rather than just praying by the clock (20 mins), aim to pray till you feel the grip of God changing your heart. Keep that trajectory in mind as you now pray, not just for the 20 minutes, but towards that inner transformation of state of mind. It may take more than 20 minutes, but now you are going for something more – you’re going for God’s reign in your heart, mind and circumstances.