Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "For Thy Mercy And Thy Grace"1 (Lyrics)
Do you make new year's resolutions? I do. As I think of those resolutions in the first few hours, days, and weeks of a new year, I often hear the words of a particular song playing in my head: "Day by Day", a song from the 1971 Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak musical Godspell.
- Day by day,
Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by day.
More than just song lyrics, I think that these words make a good prayer and a good resolution for any year!
When I think of the above as a prayer, there are two things that strike me. The first is that I am not asking for perfection, that is, to see God perfectly, or to love Him or to follow Him perfectly. Such perfection is unattainable. Rather, I am praying that I will be able to get closer to that ideal: "more clearly", "more dearly", "more nearly". To me, that makes the prayer realistic.
The second thing is the phrase "day by day", which I take to mean every day. In other words, my faith and my prayer life are not to take days off. Every day I breathe, I am to be seeking to become closer to God and to improve my obedience to Him.
Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)
I've made this same resolution every year for a long time now. I'm not always successful (is anyone?), but I can honestly say that I always try — and the effort is life-changing.
I do make other resolutions, sometimes related to work, sometimes about my home or my relationships, or other areas of my life in which I want to improve. But the above resolution comes first. The key is in the verse following today's Scripture:
Matthew 22:40 – On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
Isn't that amazing? If we obey only those two commandments, everything else will follow!
Prayer: Dear God, as we embark on a new year, please help us to be diligent and persistent in trying to do better every day: to love You more deeply, to follow You more closely, and ultimately to see You and Your desires for us more clearly each and every day. We pray these things in the name of Your loving Son, Jesus. Amen.