January 1: Time Flows Away
1. What New Year’s traditions does your family observe? What do these traditions mean to you, and how do they shape your view of this time of year?
2. Describe a time recently when you were reminded of your human mortality. What gives you consolation when you consider your own mortality?
3. What signs of God’s grace come to mind when you think about your life? What spiritual practices make you more aware of God’s grace in your life? What new practice would you like to try this year to help you recognize God’s grace?
4. What scripture passage most reminds you of the passing of time? Does the scripture passage bring you comfort or cause you to worry? Why do you think you respond to it this way?
5. Today’s writer expresses gratitude for his lively Christian congregation. What qualities of your faith community are you most thankful for?
January 8: Children of God
1. How would you respond to the question, “Who are you?” Do you find that you are often quick to share your identity as a child of God? Why or why not?
2. Describe a time when someone enriched your faith like the student in today’s meditation enriched the writer’s faith. What kind of lasting impact has that made on your life? Name some ways you can enrich the faith of others.
3. Does knowing that you are a child of God affect your relationship with God? Why or why not? How do you strengthen and deepen your relationship with God?
4. What practices help you to be more aware of your faith? What do you do to encourage others to join the family of God?
5. How does your church help you to remain grounded in your identity as a child of God? What changes would you like to see in how your church emphasizes this identity?
January 15: Watch and Pray
1. Do you find it hard to make time for prayer? Have you tried a method similar to the one today’s writer uses, or do you have another method you prefer? Describe your experience with making more time to pray.
2. What scriptures help you understand the importance of prayer? What scripture passages have inspired you to try a new form of prayer?
3. Does being in nature inspire you to pray? What other times, events, or locations most inspire you to pray? Why?
4. Today’s writer encouraged his friend to make time for prayer. Describe a time when you have encouraged someone to strengthen their spiritual life. How did that experience affect you and the person you encouraged?
5. How does your church pray? Is prayer reserved for worship? How do you think your church community would be different if everyone made more time for prayer?
January 22: Befriending God
1. When have you felt closest to God? What led to that feeling of closeness? Do you think spending more time with God and reading the Bible brings us closer to God? Why or why not?
2. Describe someone who you think spends a significant amount of time with God each day. What do they do? How does their faith inspire you in your own spiritual practice?
3. What does it mean to you to let God carry you? Describe a time when you allowed God to carry you. How has that experience increased your reliance on God?
4. The writer talks about the importance of allowing God to carry us. When has someone in your church community carried you? How does it look different to allow God to carry us rather than other Christians?
5. What kinds of community outreach does your church engage in? In what ways do these ministries bring people closer to God? In what other ways can you provide care for those in your community and show them God’s love?
January 29: Interpreters
1. When you feel overwhelmed, what kind of help do you most often wish for? How does knowing you have constant access to God bring you comfort in those times?
2. Who and what in your life helps you to interpret God’s word? In what ways can you help others interpret God’s word?
3. What do you do when you disagree with another Christian on your interpretation of the Bible? How are you able to make peace with those who hold different opinions than you do?
4. Today’s writer describes how the cover art interpretations help her to better appreciate the art. Besides the Bible, what do you sometimes need help interpreting? Who or what helps you?
5. Recall a time when you benefited from listening to others. How might your church get better at listening to other perspectives? How can the world?
While several strategies for reopening the world are being discussed, I encourage you—the people of God everywhere—to allow this season to be a formative one during which you can make new discoveries about God and increase your faith. Use this time to embark on a life of prayer, a life of study, and a life of action—involvement in the community.”