As we prepare for this first Sunday of a New Year, we turn to the Creator, who made us and loves us.
We pray that we will write a good year on the blank page before us, the year we will make with our lives.
We pray to embody fully the good traits given to us, to use our talents for God’s purpose, to model – and to find – our salvation in the deep knowing of who God made us to be.
We pray to understand compassionately our own perceived failings, and to remember that the Good News came not for the perfect among us but for all of us. We pray to remember the way God used our ancestors in the faith, flawed human beings, each with gifts and graces to mirror their faults and limitations.
We pray for a deeper understanding of the life of Jesus Christ, and for the faithful imagination required to bring him alive for others. Grant us determination in this work, for in a world where success and achievement count for more than faithfulness, we walk a different road from our peers. We ask for courage to follow where Christ leads us, down the unknown road of life, to soul destinations we cannot yet imagine. We know Jesus walked such roads himself, drinking from a cup he prayed might pass him by, even asking why he had been forsaken. Give us comfort in knowing he understands our condition and mercy when we flag along the way.
We pray for the companionship of the Holy Spirit in the daily rounds of ministry, for comfort in the stresses, and advocacy where there is injustice, and intercessory murmurs when we cannot find the words.
We love our work, but sometimes it’s hard.
We hate our work, because sometimes it’s hard.
We are ambivalent about our work — have you heard, sometimes it’s hard?
We beg for help with the people and systems that throw up barriers to good work and kind actions and faithful practice. We cautiously ask for a tap on the shoulder when we are the ones building those barriers. When we come to those terrible moments of realization, we ask forgiveness, and a chance to turn the page and begin again.
In this New Year, may we speak wisely, love flagrantly, bless copiously, study faithfully, breathe deeply, sleep restoratively, laugh hard, cry when moved and pray without ceasing, in the service of the One who calls us to ministry in all its forms, on behalf of Jesus Christ.