One of the things I love about the Psalms in the Bible is the way they help me find the words for my own prayers. The rest of the Bible does, too, but especially the Psalms. They are deep, very human expressions of all kinds of emotions, questions, desires, troubles and joys. In them, the writers’ souls are bared, and that’s what I want my prayers to be like, because that’s how you get a relationship with God that’s authentic and honest.
Over Christmas I was reading Psalm 96, and it felt like a good prayer for a new year, so I put it into my own words. As I’ve mulled this prayer over, chosen the words, got them down, I’ve been thinking about how there’s always something new going on, inside us and around us. I’ve been thinking about my own life, how the past year has been a beautiful treadmill of waiting and hoping and building friendships and finding out about myself and about God. Each week with its routines, the day-to-day work, cook, clean, talk, tv, sleep (and all the other quotidian elements of my modern British life) has been a genuine blessing, a genuine affirmation of the life in me, the growth in me. So now as I look ahead to a new year, wondering what it might hold, I’m excited and curious and ready for the challenges it might throw at me too. I’m not overly worried about the fact that there may be disappointments or grief or struggle. Obviously I’d prefer not to go through those things, but I can see that God has brought me through those before and will do again. Life is always going to be hard, but it will never stop being good too, and this year I want to celebrate all that goodness, shout about it.
Lord, help me to see the new things You are doing around and in me;
To reflect them back in new song, new life, new creativity, new worship, new ways.
Lord, remind me of your salvation every day;
Help me to proclaim it through a life of mercy, compassion, celebration, sacrifice, love.
Help me to proclaim it through open conversation and joyful freedom.
All You do and all You are – help me to speak of these things with confidence and praise.
Without reluctance, may I point to your glory – whether it’s the glory of the waves You created, of the Son You sent to earth, of my life changed and my heart freed, of scented forests, of the lonely placed in families, or any number of other heaven-in-earth stories.
When good things happen in my life, when I do well;
When You move through the hardships and struggles,
Help me to give You credit for all of it.
You deserve my offerings – my money, my time, my creativity.
You love the offerings that help the helpless and refresh the down-hearted.
Help me to bring those offerings, no holding back.
Lord, give me a willingness to come to You, day and night, season by season.
Lord, I’m made to worship You.
Each year I’m given is about worship – choosing to give You whatever You are worth to me.
You are everything – help me to give you everything this year.
You are in charge of my life – may I let you rule my choices, my steps, my day to day living and breathing.
Lord, life is for celebrating, especially because You are in it.
Let my days never be short of rejoicing.
All those moments when You show Yourself – every moment – help my soul turn to celebration, to lived-out joy.
Lord, this year, let me learn joy.