The turn of a new year is traditionally a time for new focus, new passion, and new direction. Questions like “what should I give up,” “what should I pursue,” and “in what should I invest my resources” bubble around us. The pivot points of those questions are often the “I and my” parts, as if the key to our life direction is centered in ourselves.

Jesus challenges us to a radically different “pivot point” –“the center upon which something turns, hinges, or depends” — for our plans and decisions. He clearly states this in his teaching on prayer in Matthew 6:9-10: “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

God’s Kingdom is the subject of much discussion and debate, but a simple working definition might be “the way God wants things.” So, to paraphrase Jesus’ prayer above, we might say “Father, we ask that what you want and desire would come to pass in our lives, families, churches, and the world.”

In case our humanness might surface and we catch ourselves asking who is watching out for US if we’re focusing on God’s purposes and desires, Jesus adds this just a bit further into Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The implication is that all that blesses us is the by-product of pursuing his principles and purposes. Advancing our own desires in violation of his Kingdom principles can only result in futility, heartache, and pain. However, surrendering ourselves to his Kingdom purposes brings blessing and joy as the promised overflow.

As 2022 unfolds, what any of us personally wants is irrelevant in comparison with God’s heart, desires, and purposes. God is seeking disciples who will ardently pray, “God, I want what you want for my life, my marriage, my family, my church, my community…” and so on. The more we seek God’s desires first, the greater the blessings God will pour out in, through, and around us. May that be our focus as this new year advances.

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Interested in learning more about the work God is doing in our region and how you can become part of it? Our prayer is that God would use us to reach the almost 12 million people who call Ohio home with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We would love to help further explore how we can partner together with you to achieve this vision. Join us in ensuring everyone in Ohio has an opportunity to respond to the life-saving Good News of Jesus.

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