The Year Ahead
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding us from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening us to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making our path easy,
But by making us sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from us,
But by taking fear from our heart;
Not by granting us unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping our face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making our life always pleasant,
But by showing us when people and their causes need us most,
and by making us anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to us for the year ahead.
Prayer from unknown author, adapted by Debra Mooney
Drenched in Holiness Prayer: Prayer for a New Year
On this day I ask You to grant this request,
May I know who I am and what I am,
Every moment of every day.
May I be a catalyst for light and love,
And bring inspiration to those whose eyes I meet.
May I have the strength to stand tall in the face of conflict,
And the courage to speak my voice, even when I'm scared.
May I have the humility to follow my heart,
And the passion to live my soul's desires.
May I seek to know the highest truth
And dismiss the gravitational pull of my lower self.
May I embrace and love the totality of myself,
My darkness as well as my light.
May I be brave enough to hear my heart,
To let it soften so that I may gracefully
Choose faith over fear.
Today is my day to surrender anything that stands
Between the sacredness of my humanity and my divinity.
May I be drenched in my Holiness
And engulfed by Your love.
May all else melt away.
And so it is.
- Debbie Ford
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A New Year's Prayer
Lord, You make all things new
You bring hope alive in our hearts
And cause our Spirits to be born again
Thank you for this new year
For all the potential it holds.
Come and kindle in us
A mighty flame
So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God
And live forever to praise Your glorious name.
Prayer for the New Year
Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.
We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.
In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.
In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.
In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.
And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).
We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.
Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.
And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.
- Billy Graham
I Am the New Year
I am the New Year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.
I am your next chance at the art of living. I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months.
All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination.
All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires.
All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have—these slumber lightly, waiting to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose.
I am your opportunity to renew your allegiance to Him who said, "Behold, I make all things new."
A Wish for the New Year
Dear Lord, please give me…
A few friends who understand me and remain my friends;
A work to do which has real value, without which the world would be the poorer;
A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed;
An understanding heart;
A sense of humor;
Time for quiet, silent meditation;
A feeling of the presence of God;
The patience to wait for the coming of these things,
With the wisdom to recognize them when they come. Amen.
Be Our Light for the New Year
Come, Holy Spirit,
Spirit of the Risen Christ, be with us today and always.
Be our Light, our Guide, and our Comforter.
Be our Strength, our Courage, and our Sanctifier.
May this new year be a time of deep spiritual growth for us,
A time of welcoming your graces and gifts,
A time for forgiving freely and unconditionally,
A time for growing in virtue and goodness.
Come, Holy Spirit,
Be with us today and always. Amen.
Pondering in Our Hearts
Early on in his Gospel, Luke twice mentions Mary doing something extraordinary, namely, pondering something “in her heart.” The first occasion is after the departure of the shepherds at the Nativity; the second is when she and Joseph discover the child Jesus speaking with the Temple elders. Luke’s phrase is telling. For Mary to “ponder” something “in her heart,” is not simply for her to remember the details or get her facts straight. Rather, it seems more a way to take in something in its totality and to let it sink down deep, into the heart, the place where it can change you.
Were we to be like Mary, how might we ponder in our hearts what we ourselves have seen and heard this past Christmas season so that, before it closes, we might learn something more from it than we did the first time through? Something which might just sink down deep and somehow change us.
Perhaps these questions might be of some help.
What was the best, the greatest, gift you received this year – not the brightest gift or the shiniest or the fastest or the most expensive gift, but the best gift, the greatest gift? Who gave it to you? And do they even know they did?
What was the best gift you gave this year, one that may have cost you a little or one which may have cost you a lot. And the little or a lot that it might have cost you might not have been money at all.
If there was something you did in the last several weeks which was just what someone else needed, just when they needed it, just what was it?
If there was one time when all your troubles, your cares and worries, seemed to you far, far away – what was that time? And what chased your troubles away?
If there was one glance you had of someone else that allowed you to see them fresh, as if for the very first time, yet see them as well radiant with all that they mean to you – what was that time? And who was that person?
Was there ever a time – perhaps in a crowd and surrounded with people or perhaps by yourself – that it struck you that you are a lucky, lucky person? What was that time? Who were those people around you, if people there were? And what seems to have brought that feeling on?
If you said one thing exactly right, exactly true and straight from your heart, just what exactly did you say? And to whom did you say it? And why?
If within the last few weeks you brushed a tear from your eye secretly so that no one else could see it, why did that tear come? And what did that tear mean?
When do you feel the proudest? The happiest? The most content? Indeed, the most yourself?
If you could look back over the many, many moments of this tender season now ending and pick out one moment from among them all – just one –pick the one where somehow you knew in your heart that it was all true: the angels indeed did sing, the shepherds indeed did worship, the kings indeed did bring their gifts and bow low – and all of this because at that one moment you felt almost held aloft by kind and mighty hands; and if you could take that one moment and hold it in your heart forever, take it out and gaze upon it from time to time as if to look upon a kind of snow globe, just what would that one moment be?
Written and offered by Fr. Michael Graham, S.J.