How many New Year's resolutions have you made through the years? Did they really work? Instead of making resolutions that may or may not stick, consider the following seven ways to start the new year in prayer.
1. A prayer for new beginnings:
Creator God, thank you for giving us another year of life. We lay before you all the disappointments, heartache, and unfinished work. Give us your mercy, peace, and joy in the new year. May we bask in the gift of your presence as we discern the journey you have for us in this new year.
2. A prayer for the exhausted:
Our Shepherd, the last few years have been filled with sickness, death, job loss, isolation, anxiety, fear, and division. We are so tired. In our weariness, we confess our cynicism and skepticism and ask for your renewal. Give us eyes to see the kingdom life Christ has promised and fill us with a hope that allows us to live each day with generosity and joy.
3. A prayer for our relationships:
Almighty God, there are so many ways we fall short in our relationships. We fail to carry each other’s burdens, hold on to offenses, and judge each other’s motives. Help us confess our sins against each other. Help us to forgive and seek forgiveness. May your Spirit bring unity to fractured relationships, that we might love one another as you love us.
4. A prayer for the lonely:
Divine Comforter, you are the Father of the fatherless, and you place the lonely in families. This year, help us join you in that work. Give us eyes to see those around us who may feel alone. Help us to notice the orphans, single parents, elderly, incarcerated, homeless, and refugees in our midst. Expand our capacity to be hospitable to those who desire belonging and family.
5. A prayer for those suffering:
Master Healer, bring to mind those in our lives who are suffering. Help us to be faithful in prayer for them. Open our eyes to ways we may ease their pain. Strengthen your servants, scattered around the world, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, especially in places where war, violence, famine, and sickness are devastating families and communities.
6. A prayer for the Christian community:
Our Father, show us how to nurture a true Christian community in our lives this year. Give us the initiative and insight to know how to cultivate a greater love for others. Help us to share our lives with one another in such a way that the people we meet are ultimately drawn closer to you.
7. A prayer for our hands and feet:
Jesus, bless our hands to serve you more faithfully in the year to come. Guide our feet to walk in your steps, following your example while you were here on earth. Help us to follow and obey you. Empower us by your Spirit to love one another in consistent and creative ways.