For most of my life, I lived in a region that experienced all four seasons—winter, spring, summer and fall. For the last few years, however, I’ve lived in the desert where the seasons are warm, hot and hotter.
Regardless of where you live, or even the date on the calendar, you may be entering a new season. Maybe it’s a new job or relationship. Maybe your nest is empty. You might be welcoming a new child or just assumed the role of caregiver to a spouse or parents.
Anytime we exit or enter a new season of life, it can feel upsetting. Disorienting. Even depressing. At such times, it’s good to remember that just as God was in control in our “springtime,” He is no less in control when fall or winter arrive. The prophet Daniel said:
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Daniel 2:21 NIV).
Such knowledge can be comforting, as God’s Word often is. But even more so, prayer can help us transition into a new season like nothing else. For that reason, let me suggest five to pray—and perhaps memorize and repeat as often as necessary—whenever you embark on a new season:
1) Joshua’s Charge
It must have been incredibly daunting for Joshua to face a new season of leadership and prominence when his mentor, Moses, died. So God spoke to Joshua in words that we can use to strengthen and embolden ourselves when we come to a new crossroads:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
2) Gideon’s Comfort
The son of Joash the Abiezrite was literally hiding from Israel’s oppressors when the angel of the Lord appeared and called him to a new season in his life—he would faithfully lead God’s people to a new era of freedom. I’ve often prayed the angel’s words to Gideon, especially when, perhaps like Gideon, I’ve felt ill-equipped to face my circumstances. It’s an affirmation to repeat as often as necessary as you enter a new season:
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!” (Judges 6:12).
3) David’s Song
We don’t know in what situation David, the shepherd king, penned the verses of Psalm 1. But the story of his life seems to have been a nearly constant turning from one new season to another, from shepherd boy to giant killer to court musician to fugitive to warrior to king. No wonder that his songs help at the turnings of our lives. Like this one:
Lord, as I face this change, make me “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither,” and grant favor and prosperity in whatever I do (Psalm 1:3 NIV).
4) The Beloved’s Enjoyment
Some seasons are better than others, but whatever season you’re facing, God can call beauty even out of grief and hardship. You might adapt the song of the beloved from the Song of Solomon as your prayer:
God, by your mighty grace, make this season of my life like that wondrous moment when “Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance” (Song of Songs 2:12-13 NIV).
5) Mary’s Affirmation
Has anyone ever faced a new and unexpected season like that which the angel announced to Mary of Nazareth when he told her she would be the mother of Jesus, the long-awaited Christ? How her head must have spun as all expectations for her future changed in an instant. Your new season may not feel that disorienting (or maybe it does), but Mary’s affirmation may be something you meditate on and repeat often through your own twists and turns:
“I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” and will (Luke 1:38 ESV).
You may choose to adopt one of these “new season prayers” as your own, or alternate or combine them as you work through the changes you face. Perhaps one of the above prayers suggested a different prayer to you. In any case, I hope these prayers, like the coming of autumn, bring beauty, color and refreshment to your heart, mind and life.