As we mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, what better way than to take a moment to pray?
Some of us may be glad to be leaving 2022. A new year might symbolize hope; the hope of change. Hope that life or circumstances might improve. It is interesting to note, though, that whatever difficult or challenging situations the apostle Paul found himself in, he knew the importance of giving thanks:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5: 16 – 18).
Reflecting on the year behind you, what can you thank the Lord for?
Now let’s try to imagine the year ahead. Paul wrote this to the churches in and around Ephesus:
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1: 17 – 19)
One way to read a passage like this is to personalize it. To take each phrase and turn it into a prayer to your Father in Heaven. Here’s how I am personalizing it for me and my situation as I look ahead to the coming year:
Father, thank you that you are God, that you are my Father in heaven and that you are surrounded by glory. Lord, this year I want to know you better. Please keep giving me the Holy Spirit of wisdom and of revelation. Let my heart be continually enlightened by your Word and by your Spirit, throughout the year so that I might know with clearer and clearer certainty the hope I have in you. Enable me to grasp the riches of the glorious inheritance you have given us in Christ and let my daily walk be in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Here’s another glimpse of Paul’s prayer life that might inspire our own prayers for a new year:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1: 9 – 12).
Here’s my prayer for friends and family and my church as I meditate on this: Lord, please fill us with the knowledge of your will in 2023. Our heart’s cry is to do the things you have called us to do. We ask this because we want to live lives that are pleasing to you; lives that bear good fruit in the places you have put us. And Lord, we pray that we can keep growing in our knowledge of you. We ask that you might mould us and strengthen us to the shape you want us to be, that we might become people of endurance, patience and great joy.
I wonder how you might pray in the new year as these words from Paul inspire you.
Let me know in the comments, or by return of email if you would like to share your thoughts.
The Lord bless and prosper you in 2023