Our church (Gateway) has a great New Year’s Eve tradition, and I want to share my experience to encourage you to give it a try.
On December 31st we gather for a time of worship and prayer. As we are praying we complete our “prayer capsule” – we write down the things we’re asking God for, and what we sense the Lord is saying to us. Then we put it in an envelope, seal it, and self-address it; and around Thanksgiving we receive it in the mail. It gives us specific points of gratitude to acknowledge on Thanksgiving Day. I have used this “prayer capsule” the last two years, with a little twist.
I am convinced that I don’t know what to ask for, as I ought. But I also know that God has good things in store for me. So, rather than asking for what I want, I ask God, “Abba, (Daddy God) what do you want to give me this year that you want me to ask you for?” Then I listen and write down the things that I sense He wants to give me, even if they sound ridiculous!
Let me give you some examples of things that I wrote down that were completely out of my control, and that I thought were beyond reason:
December 31, 2013:
* A second car (with no financial hardship) – we received the gift of a car a month later.
* Open doors for teaching, preaching, and ministering – in 2014 I started teaching for Equip, leading small groups, and became Zone leader for Spanish-speaking Pink Groups at Gateway.
December 31, 2014:
* Significant relationships – in 2015 we made lots of new friends and ministry partners that have enriched our lives more than we can begin to describe.
* Books published – in 2015 I published “Lessons Learned in the Battle” and Kerry published “Gifts of the Spirit for a New Generation.”
* Open doors, new levels of influence – in 2015 we were asked to develop 5 courses for the Doctor of Ministry for Shiloh University; I am serving as the D.Min. coach for The King’s University; I have seen increased opportunities to teach and preach; and started my new job as the Associate Director of Jack Hayford Ministries.
* Ministry together with Kerry – there has been so much of this it is hard to begin to describe it. And I love it!!!
* International travel/impact – in 2015 God took me to Iowa (not exactly international; but a new place for me), Colombia, England, Egypt, and the Bahamas; and in each of those places I had distinct opportunities for Kingdom Impact.
The best part is not in the things I’ve received in and of themselves (although I am grateful for them); but in sensing the Father’s delight when He sees my excitement in receiving what He had in store for me. These are examples of what we call “Abba hugs” – that is, tangible ways in which our “Abba” shows how much He loves us.
If you are a parent, I’m sure at some point you have convinced your children to ask for the very gifts you were planning on giving them; and you know how much fun it is to watch them opening the gifts. In the same way, I feel my Father’s love in telling me what He wants to give me, and then giving it to me.
In sharing this with you I hope you know if there is any boasting, it is only about the goodness of a Father who delights to give gifts to His children.
What does “Abba” have in store for you for 2016? I don’t know; but I know this: (1) it is GOOD; and (2) if you ask Him and listen, He will tell you; and when you receive it you will know it comes from Him and will experience the joy of knowing His heart toward you.
Will you take the risk of joining in this adventure?
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2015