This Thursday, I celebrate my 27th birthday. Last year, I wrote a letter to my 16-year-old self about how I would change over the course of 10 years. This year, I wrote a letter to my future self filled with hopes and prayers for the next 27 years.
Do you still go by Abby, or have you officially transitioned to the more adult-sounding Abigail? My guess is you’ve stuck with Abby among family and friends because that’s what everyone you know calls you, and you decided it would be too much work to switch.
Regardless, this letter is for you to read sometime between the ages of 27 and 54. As you consider the nearly 10,000 days that will stretch over the next 27 years, what will fill those days is unknown right now — but the Savior who goes with you isn’t. Here are eight simple prayers rooted in God’s Word and birthed out of your life experience up to this point to encourage you as you consider the next 20+ years of your life.
May God’s Word captivate your heart and mind.
In Psalm 19, King David writes of God’s Word: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul…the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” Over the past few years, you’ve learned first-hand the beauty of the Bible. As the world changes and your life evolves, hold with steadfastness to the enduring Word of the Lord.
You know that old Amy Grant song you can’t forget? The one that goes, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”? It’s not a bad one to keep in your mind.
May you remain committed to the local church.
Christianity is not just about individual salvation, but about being welcomed into a covenant family because of the covenant love of God the Father. In other words, never consider the local church as optional. When you picked up your cross to follow Jesus, you committed to the family of God. Love, serve, cry and celebrate with, dine with, and worship alongside fellow Christians in your community.
May you embrace your work.
Never forget that as an image-bearer of God, you’re created for work. Some seasons of life you may love your work. In other seasons of life, you might be frustrated by it. Remember that regardless of how you feel about your work, your primary calling is to follow Jesus. He uses your humble obedience to remake and restore our broken world.
In seasons when you’re downtrodden and heavy laden, bear in mind that God often uses our work to focus our eyes on Him and to keep us from turning inward. Remember these words from one of your favorite hymns: “Soul, then know thy full salvation / Rise oer sin and fear and care / Joy to find in every station / Something still to do or bear.”
May you steward your possessions with wisdom, generosity and joy.
The material world matters to God. He created us as physical beings to enjoy and delight in what is around us. There is no shame in enjoying your home, building a retirement account, finding the perfect little black dress and collecting tea cups.
But sin permeates our relationship with the physical world just as it impacts every area of our life. You’ll be prone to place your hope in your bank accounts, obsess over creating the perfect capsule wardrobe in the pursuit of “minimalism,” and covet the homes you see on HGTV.
Cultivate thankfulness for what God has given you and enjoy the created world. Along with that, always keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and look for opportunities to share what you’ve been given with others.
May you welcome and love children.
As you and Mike pray about what it will look like to welcome children into your family, remember that children are a gift from the Lord. Yet even if the Lord doesn’t give you children of your own, faithfully welcome and love the spiritual children God brings into your lives.
Betsy Childs Howard writes, “Your spiritual children may or may not have the same last name as you, but I hope they will be so central to your life that you will say with the apostle John, ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth’ (3 John 4).”
Regardless of whether you have children to mother, never forget that you are part of a gospel family, and the call to invest in the future generation is a call for all.
May you share the table with the marginalized.
Do you remember what the Pharisees said of Jesus?
“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” they ask in Mark 2. Follow your Savior and move in love and boldness toward those who are too often sidelined and cut off from those in power, even if that power is within the church. Invite them into your home, prepare food for them and share a meal with them. Learn from them. Speak words of truth and grace. And love them.
May you embrace grace.
Grace is a word that makes frequent appearances on inspirational Instagram posts and pretty coffee mugs. That’s nice and all, but I think Flannery O’Connor really hits the nail on the head with these words: “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”
The grace of God working out in life is usually messy and painful. Grace looks like confessing those sins buried deep within your heart that are intertwined with your identity. Grace looks like forgiving the friend who hurt you. Grace looks like accepting God’s providence in your life even when it looks different than you anticipated. Restoring what is broken often hurts, but you can trust that the God who has called you is working all things for our good and will bring creation to complete restoration when He returns.
May you not grow weary in doing good.
You’ve borne witness to pain and suffering, and no doubt you will experience the depths of pain and suffering in these next 27 years. Do not give up following your Savior. Remember that as we continue to work and do good, “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” The God who promises to return and make all things new is the same God who empowers us to not grow weary when doing good. He will bring our humble work to completion.
Maybe you’ll read this letter once every 15 years or so to benchmark God’s work in your life. Maybe you’ll revisit it often to remind yourself of who you are in Jesus and what He is calling you to. Either way, consider these prayers a benediction — a good word — over your life as you continue to walk faithfully in the Lord.
Go with God into these next 27 years,