We’re nearly at the end of February so it might seem unfair to ask: how are those New Year’s resolutions going? Studies show nearly 80 per cent of us will have abandoned them by now, so if you’re still maintaining even one of those healthy habits, well done and keep going!

The top three resolutions people make are to lose weight, get fitter or eat more healthily, not surprising after the season of Christmas indulgence, but these are aspirations that tend only to benefit the one making the resolution. My encouragement to you is to implement some rhythms that will change your heart, but also may also transform the lives of the people you love the most.

By God’s grace, we all get a part to play in the lives of those around us getting closer to Jesus. We are all good news people in a bad news world. Here are four life-changing habits that will change you and perhaps the life of a friend.

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Once a day: pray for a friend

During family prayers recently one of my sons was very ready for bed so he concluded the time prematurely with this offering, Dear God, I pray for the whole world. Amen.” He was encouraged to be a bit more specific and so with some reluctance offered, Dear God, I pray for everyone… in England. Amen.”

When praying for our not-yet-Christian friends it is good to be specific. Write a list and commit to praying for them every day. Pray for God’s blessing on their life; pray that they would take steps towards Jesus on their walk of faith. Pray for opportunities to invite them forward. Be as specific as possible.

Once a week: bless someone

I’m not a good recipient of grace. I often feel undeserving. Occasionally a cake, treat, or gift pops up in our porch from someone. We sometimes never find out who has given it. I love my community! When we receive something it’s a good reminder to me of the grace I have received. It inspires me to live a more generous life.

My challenge to you is to bless someone at least once a week. Make this a habit. Letters are brilliant. I wrote one to a friend who told me it was a rare treasure in our social media modern world.” Acts of kindness, grace and generosity help people see the kind, gracious and generous God they so desperately need to meet.

Once a month: open up

The good news travels in words as well as actions. A great habit to get into is offering to tell someone your story and ask them to tell you theirs. We often have lots of friends with whom we have quite surface-level interactions. In fact our research revealed many Christians lack enough significant relationships to feel able to open up about faith. Taking the opportunity to open up and sharing something that makes you feel vulnerable requires great courage, but it is the only way to take a friendship deeper.

Stats
Many Christians feel a lack of significant relationships is the biggest barrier to sharing faith


In these deeper friendships, conversations about faith are far more likely to arise. When they do, are you ready to share your story? My invitation to you is to try to create a habit of trying to take a friendship deeper at least once a month. And when you get the opportunity to tell your story, share how Jesus makes a difference in your life.

Once a year: read a book on evangelism

We could all be more effective in sharing our faith and there are some great books to help us in this area. Here’s a little list of a few I like:

  • Living His Story, by Hannah Steele
  • Big Yes, Little Yes, Healthy Maybe, by Mark Greenwood
  • The Simple Gospel, by Ben Jack
  • The Introverted Evangelist, by Reuben Morley
  • Stay Salt, by Rebecca Manley Pippert

And if you are really desperate…

The wonderful thing about all these habits is that they may change someone else’s life, but they will also vastly improve your spiritual health. As you pray more, love more and share more, we grow our spiritual muscles of trust in God, intimacy with Him and reliance on the Holy Spirit. Go for it, ask a friend to do it with you, and keep going!

By God’s grace, we all get a part to play in the lives of those around us getting closer to Jesus.