Donald Whitney has written much about spiritual disciplines: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Spiritual Disciplines within the Church: Participating Fully in the Body of Christ and Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. I have benefited greatly from his work. Whitney completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. As I recall, his first book on the Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life was his dissertation project.
At beginning and end points, at anniversaries, at monthly and annual retreats it is fruitful to look back, to consider the ways and means of God in your life and the things you have learned, and to look ahead, to consider what the Lord might be calling you to in the next months. This has been a regular exercise for me personally, with my family and in ministry.
Whitney has compiled Ten Questions to help one spiritually assess the coming year.
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.
- What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
- What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
- What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
- In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
- What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
- What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
- For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
- What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
- What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
- What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
Whitney follows this by listing an additional 21 questions to aid in assessing the past and the future. With this complete list there is one question to ponder and pray over daily for the month.
What will you do to “consider your ways?”