Prayers for the New Year 2021

“Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:17-18)

I am thankful in reflection of this past year and anticipation of the new year for the gift of prayer in our lives.

There have been many moments in 2020 in time alone with God in which prayer sustained and empowered me to move forward in hope and courage. Our prayer life in worship, through phone calls, and in fellowship and committee meetings via Zoom have provided an undergirding of love and support within our church family. Prayers shared through email and text messages, hand-written notes, and greeting cards will continue to be very special ways in which God is made known through us. Even meetings outside the church with safe -distancing practices and wearing masks have been uniquely meaningful ways of extending blessings and prayers with one another.

The Apostle Paul encouraged the faith community of Thessalonica to pray without ceasing in all circumstances through the will of God and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. This will become a guiding scripture for me in the new year, 2021—in the best of times and the most challenging of times! May it be so for you, too!

Christian prayers of the ancients and contemporary authors have been foundational in strengthening and transforming people’s lives. What are your favorite prayers that are centuries old or newer over the last few years and decades? Commit and recommit to quiet centering and recitation of your favorite prayers while being open to the possibility of receiving new prayers, too!

I want to offer two prayers as gifts in the approaching time of the new year as sources of comfort and renewed confidence. The first prayer is from The United Methodist Book of Worship (No. 295).

“Creative God, you make all things new in heaven and on earth. We come to you in a new year with new desires and old fears, new decisions and old controversies, new dreams and old weaknesses. Because you are a God of hope, we know that you create all the possibilities of the future. Because you are a God of love, we know that you accept all the mistakes of the past. Because you are the God of our faith, we enter your gates with thanksgiving and praise, we come into your presence with gladness and a joyful noise, and we serve and bless you. Amen.” (Maren C. Tirabassi, U.S.A., 20th CENT., ALT.)

The second prayer is from The United Methodist Hymnal (No. 607) entitled, A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition.

“I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”

Praying with you in service and faithfulness,
Pastor Hoyte