Here we are in a New Year, perhaps thankful to have made it through Christmas, perhaps excited to be starting on new ventures, perhaps optimistic for what lies ahead, or perhaps fearful of what 2017 may bring. Perhaps like many, the new year has brought a sense of melancholy. Perhaps we are struggling with depression or anxiety, crippled by worries, real or imaginary.
But here we are in your new year all the same. Lift the hearts and spirits of all those who are in need – those struggling with mental illness, those who are stricken down by deep seated depression or simply feeling the winter blues. May we look upon your new year with hope and optimism, certain that even if all else fails, you are with us and you’re in charge. Let us fix our eyes on your son Jesus Christ, and rest in the certain knowledge that you will be with us until the end of the age.
We thank you for the joy in January. For crisp bright mornings, and dark starry nights. For the pure white blanket of snow, and the thick deep blanket of fog. For plants dying back into the ground, and new shoots pushing through their green tips.
We thank you that we can close the book on last year and begin again with a fresh page and a clean start on this year. And we lift our eyes to you in prayer that you would ease the pains of last year, and bless us with your joy in the year to come.
We thank you for all your gifts, for every good and perfect gift is from you –
- for the air we breathe, the water we drink,
- for the gift of shelter in the coldest months, for warm food on our tables, for a fire in our hearth,
- for friends and family and church family.
Yes Lord we thank you.
And Lord we thank you for our trials and tribulations.
For you are there amidst our suffering willing us on and through, offering us the gift of spiritual maturity and completeness. Even in the midst of our trials you give us good gifts and we thank you. Let us not forget all your gifts – so easy to acknowledge in good times, so hard to see in dark times.
You do not change like shifting shadows
You shed light upon our weaknesses
Help us to imitate your holiness by resisting the temptation to sin – to moan of our misfortune, to want to blame others for our hurts, to store up anger or resentment against our persecutors
Help us to imitate your grace by giving graciously to others, even those who are against us; by praying for those who would hurt us; by loving those who speak ill of us; by persevering in faith when all around us deny you.
And help us to walk through this year in firm faith and with deep peace and inner joy, with your holy spirit living in us, with Jesus by our side and with your omniscient, omnipotent omnipresence in our lives.
Lord God, we come before you today to pray
We come happy or sad
We come broken or mended
We come paying attention or seeking attention
We come over familiar or unfamiliar
We come informally or overly formal
We come to you getting it wrong
A cross word before church
A hardened heart during the week
A missed opportunity to offer kindness
We excuse ourselves so easily
We chase the things of this world
Our thoughts slip to foolish things
Even now we are distracted
Let us pause a moment…
Let us come in reverence and awe
Let us come seeking peace and salvation
Let us come willingly and humbly
Let us come into the inner sanctum
Let us pray, Lord, let us pray.