As December draws to a close, a lot of people take some time to reflect on the past year and to consider the upcoming year.
This is a great opportunity to develop your skills in hearing the voice of God!
We want to allow the Lord Jesus to direct us, so it’s vital to actively include Him in both the reviewing and the planning.
If you’re up for this, here’s a simple guide…
Find a quiet spot, gather what you’ll need (e.g. Bible, calendar, journal, pen and paper, nice cup of tea, etc) and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.
In terms of looking back, we suggest processing:
- Bible verses that have stood out for you
- Your journal (if you keep one – if not, try starting in 2022! We use a 5 Year Journal, which is a far simpler way to do things)
- Significant events in your life from 2021
- Where you’ve grown spiritually
- In what areas you’ve struggled (NB if you feel guilt or condemnation, stop, confess, and receive forgiveness afresh)
- The things that you see Jesus has been teaching you
- The things that God has blessed
- Any prophetic words spoken over you
- Things your spouse or accountability partner thinks have been significant for you (but only ask them once you have done some praying by yourself first!)
→ What do you sense Jesus saying as you look back at these things?
→ What do you sense Jesus saying as you look forward to the New Year?
You won’t necessarily have deep revelation about all areas, but what are one or two key takeaways from 2021?
Preparing for 2022
Write a list of 5-8 areas of your life that you’d like to prayerfully invite God into your planning for 2022. Headings might include spirituality, family (marriage, kids, etc), ministry and mission, skills, experiences, finance and giving, and health, fitness and rest. Just try out some headings and see which ones make most sense to you.
- In each area, how would you like things to grow in 2022?
- Is Jesus speaking to you about any of them specifically?
- Do you sense any faith goals? (The way to do that is to set something stretching yet possible with God’s help)
- What would you like to see happen?
- Don’t forget that wisdom is a gift from God, so don’t overlook what just seems ‘sensible’ (e.g. a financial goal related to retirement planning)
- It’s okay to have some things on there that are simply fun! For instance, what trips or outings would you like to do in the coming months?
- While being faith-filled, be realistic. If you are setting strong stretch goals in one area, give yourself more grace in some other areas. Generally God doesn’t change everything all at once!
We usually ask Jesus for a specific word/ theme for the year. This might be a scripture, a picture, a sense in our spirit, or even a single word or phrase that represents something meaningful. Let this overarching word help you filter specific goals in your different areas of life.
Big Picture + Next Steps
We tie this review/ planning process into both the big picture of our life plan and the details of our weekly calendars. Here’s how:
- For the big picture, we make sure to review our overall life plan, and see how 2021 has helped or hindered those aims. It might be that we need to tweak or adjust the life goals too – the two operate in a dynamic creative tension. Yet these long-term goals also help to reset us when we’ve drifted a little off-course in an aspect of living.
- For the details, we make 90 day plans. Specifically this means that after crafting plans for 2022, we then pull out specific next steps to do from January 1 to March 31. At the start of each week, we can review the 90 day plan and see what specific steps needs to go on the calendar for that week. This is how you break down a bigger goal into achievable steps.
If you have further ideas or tips for this review and planning process, please do share them.
And we’re praying that you will hear clearly from Jesus as you set aside time for this meaningful activity!
With love and blessings for 2022,
Hannah and Alex
Help the ones you lead to hear God’s heart for them in 2022!
Send them a copy of Hearing the Voice of God and give them the tools they need to be permanently equipped in this vital skill.
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