We are nearly a month into a new year and the days ahead still open wide before us. They seem to invite possibility and hope and a promise of time. But most of us get a few weeks in and find we are swallowed up in life and busyness and unexpected events.
I’m trying an experiment this year, something I call vista prayers. It’s my alternative to resolutions, which tend to fall apart and fade . . . or make me feel guilty. Vista prayers are more likely to stay with me through the weeks ahead and become clearer or deeper as the days pass.
Vista prayers can begin in looking out over the year. Think of it like this: You are standing on a high mountain. You peer down toward the valley below and then scan up and across the multiple layers of hills and mountains stretching out in the distance. You realize that the farthest reaches of your view become more like a two-dimensional painting. The scene begins to run together in blending shades of color. You can’t see or even guess the complex dimensions of the hidden valleys, mountainsides, or waterways.
In truth, we know very little about any year ahead of us. Even the hints that we think we know are tucked somewhere into the deep layers of the vista. But we don’t have to clearly see the intricacies within the folds if God does. And he certainly does.
Vista prayers can reach across the landscape and into those folds for the very reason that they connect us in conversation with our eternal, ever-present God. What a gift that is!
Here’s an example. This year holds a big move for my husband and me, a transition from a ministry we have been a part of for over three decades. We can plan. We can estimate. We can hope. But we do not know how anything will unfold. Not really. How vulnerable that can feel.
I look out across the year and am already aware of God’s nudges to trust more deeply. He has seen me cling to the stability and comfort of the known or succumb to fears. He has heard my quiet pleading that all of this won’t be too hard. Can I just jump over these next eleven months to the other side?
No, God invites me to stay present to this moment and in every day of this year. My vista prayers, shaped out of his words in Scripture, lift my gaze so I look above the seemingly shaky ground and toward him. He holds everything before me and ahead of me so compassionately and wisely in his hands.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
As a vista prayer becomes:
“Lord, keep my gaze on you in ever-deepening trust, so that I may not be shaken by the unknowns of this transition.”
“Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.”
“Lord, you are always near, and you guide us in your wisdom. Fill our hearts with worship and joy even with each box we pack over these coming months.”
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
“Remind us daily how your unfolding plans for us are amazing, beautiful, and timely, and guide us to place even greater attention toward all you are unfolding eternally.”
As you read Scripture where do you see God’s invitations for you for this year?
What do those words and invitations show you about God’s heart for you?
What vista prayers are beginning to take shape that you can take with you throughout the coming months?