Senior vice president of ministry advancement with Fellowship of Christian Atheletes, Dan Britton, started the simple discipline of picking a one-word theme for the upcoming year. That is right—one word. Not a phrase, not a statement, just a single word. And to this point, it has been nothing short of life-changing.
Compassion has featured a blog each year around the "One Word" that God puts on our hearts for the new year.
Here are the blogs from the past few years...
Here is an excerpt from Dan's essay about developing the one-word theme.
Steps to developing a one-word theme:
- Prepare your heart through prayer and fasting.
Spend much time in prayer and ask God to reveal the one word to you. Remember, it is not you who chooses the word, but God who reveals to you what He wants to teach you in the coming year. Spend extended time not only in prayer, but also fasting. Through fasting, God will increase and heighten your reliance upon Him for the word. He will speak specifically and clearly into your heart.
At a minimum, I recommend getting away for one full day and spending time before the Lord. That invested time will pay big dividends. God will speak when you consecrate yourself and intentionally put yourself into a posture to hear from Him.
- Search the Scriptures.
While reading your Bible, ask the Lord to highlight or bring to your attention a verse or story. This provides great insight and will help you ground your word in the Word. Commit that verse or passage to memory.
- Evaluate all of your roles.
Each of us plays many different roles in our lives (i.e. parent, spouse, leader, athlete, friend, volunteer, steward, etc.) As you pray and think through those roles, pay attention to what God shows you. This step will help you understand the lives you impact and those that impact you. What is it that God wants to take hold of in your life and use for His glory? What area of your life do you need to surrender? What character trait does God want to develop within you? Which fruit of the Spirit does He want you to live out? These are several primer questions that can get you going in the right direction.
- Do not seek counsel from others.
While seeking advice from godly counsel regarding issues or problems is essential, I would highly recommend not asking for word ideas from friends, spouses or accountability partners. Everyone will give you an opinion, but you aren’t seeking their opinions. You’re not even seeking your own opinion. You’re seeking God’s opinion.
- Ask God for the word.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Boldly ask God for the word. Just as Samuel said, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening,” you need to humble yourself and ask God to drop the word into your heart, mind and soul. Be open and willing. The word can be a fruit of the Spirit (kindness, faithfulness), attribute of God (holiness, mercy), discipline (prayer, memorization), person (spouse, child), biblical principle (harvest, stewardship), spiritual focus (devotion, intimacy), character trait (commitment, perseverance), values (integrity, teamwork) or characteristic of Christ (serving, humility). This is not meant to be list from which to choose, but rather a starting point to get you thinking and to help you as you begin to listen for the Lord’s prompting.
- Share your word with a trusted person.
Once you have your word, it is important to share it with your husband or wife, best friend, accountability partner or pastor. Do not announce your word to everyone you know. One year, I didn’t share my word with anyone except for my wife and three accountability partners. Prayerfully consider with whom you need to share your word. Ask them to pray for you and to hold you accountable so that God can do His work in you.
- Live out your word.
My word for 2011 was Surrender. It’s all about giving everything to Him and always pursuing him. He already paid the price and took the burden upon Himself. I need to leave things at the cross and keep them there.
This 2012, my word is Deeper. I am challenging myself to go deeper with God, deeper into the word, deeper in my ministries, and deeper in love with Jesus.