Our Resolution for 2024
Is there a better way to start the new year? Read on as Fran gives some advice on keeping your resolutions
I wonder how many of us have consciously, or unconsciously, made New Year’s Resolutions? And then, how many resolutions are quickly abandoned? Research shows that 80% of resolutions are abandoned within a couple of months. To be successful in maintaining our New Year’s Resolutions we need to be disciplined. If it is to not eat biscuits, it’s no good refusing a biscuit just once. We would have to continually refuse biscuits until not eating them becomes an ingrained habit. We simply have to keep on going.
On New Year’s Day, Richard and I decided to go for a walk, to get our ‘steps up’. We donned walking boots and headed down familiar paths. But the path got quickly muddy and waterlogged. It would have been easy to give up, but we knew going back would be just as muddy and without the reward of a coffee. So, we kept going, persevering through the mud and occasional brambles.
Our bible verse for 2024 is a bit like a New Year’s Resolution: it urges us to pray. Not once, or when we come to church, but continually, until prayer is a disciplined, intentional, constant habit. Reading Romans 12:12 in different translations we see that Paul is calling us to be ‘constant’, ‘persevere’, ‘never give up’, ‘be faithful’, ‘be devoted’, ‘constantly engage in’, ‘persist’, ‘steadfastly maintain the habit of’, and ‘pray all the harder.’ These are all ways of translating the same Greek word.
When we start a long project, (a 100-mile cycle ride as Clement is doing for Prostate Cancer Research or a long walk) we often come against difficulties. The going gets hard, we get tired or too busy, other things seem more interesting. But as with prayer we have to keep going. I love the word ‘plod’, the act of steadfastly putting one foot in front of the other, even if it is slow. In Northumbria the locals call the pilgrimage route to Holy Island ‘the plodge’. It takes persistent perseverance, faithful and devoted walking through the muddy causeway to the island. It is also best to be in groups, so all can be helped if they get stuck in the mud. It also means that all can enjoy the rest and refreshment together at the end of the pilgrimage.
This year, may we continue to faithfully plod in prayer, not giving up, being constant, steadfast and dedicated.
Romans 12:12 (NRSV) ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.’