On Prayer and Fresh Starts

We are almost two weeks into a new year. I know it’s an arbitrary distinction, but for me there has always been something magical about turning the page onto a new year. Fresh calendar, fresh start.

If only, right? If only it were as easy as turning the page on the calendar to truly get that fresh start.

I think of Paul in Philippians 3 talking about forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. In the Bible it is clear that every waking moment is a chance to change course. A chance to start fresh. A chance to repent and try again.

We don’t have to wait until the New Year or Monday or the First of the Month to be a new creation. We are already a new creation in Christ Jesus, “behold the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We dwell in the liminal space of sanctification, the already and the not yet.

Still, there is something particularly poignant about starting the New Year, that turns our attention to the possibility of change that is always present. With that in mind, here are some prayers I have for the coming year…

  • For peace – for peace in the world, from Syria and Yemen to political strife at home, for peace in my relationships with others – that we would disagree in love, and in my own heart that I would continue to find calm even in the midst of storms
  • For salvation – for the world, for the every nation, tribe and tongue who will one day gather around the throne singing “holy, holy, holy”, for friends in my sphere of influence – that I would be a light, for my family members who are lost – that their hearts would be softened to the truth
  • For wisdom – for our world leaders, for the pastors at my church, for my supervisors at work, and for myself as I continue to make life decisions and pursue God, that I would do so with His wisdom and discernment. (Proverbs 1:7)
  • For community – for those around the world who suffer loneliness in silence, for those in my neighborhood who need a person to turn to, for myself, my family and my friends that we would bear one another’s burdens, share with those who have a need, break bread together, grieve together and rejoice together
  • For discipline – that I would continue to be in the Word daily, that I would continue to learn to control my tongue, that I would continue to develop the impulse to speak first with compassion, that I would get to the root of discipline – discipleship.

What are your goals or prayers for the new year? Do you even make resolutions, why or why not? Share in the comments!

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