A Prayer for the New Year


By Sara Clark

The calendar page has flipped to a new year and we all know what that means…

New resolutions, new promises, new goals, new ideas, and renewed energy.

Well, maybe not the last one. I experienced a surge of new energy until January 2nd when the overwhelming to-do lists stained my new clean calendar for the unforeseeable future. I was exhausted and it was only the second day!

Maybe some of you have experienced the same thing. Regardless, I believe it’s time for a new approach. Many of us, including the teens we work alongside, are starved for spiritual nourishment. So before we’re consumed by busy schedules and endless planning, take some time to consider our spiritual lives and how that need can be fed. Spiritual famine is something we don’t want to address one or two times a year, but each and every day.

Below is a prayer I wrote for the New Year’s Day worship service at the church I serve. It was my honest prayer to God and one that I’ve continued to read each day. I hope it will help feed your soul and nourish your spirit.

Amidst countdowns, final splurges, and resolutions promising renewed determination, we think back on the past year; a year that’s been filled with both the gift of joy and the weight of despair. A new year signifies an opportunity to live differently while striving to be better. As the sun sets we cannot help but wonder if tomorrow will be the day we slip back into old habits and mindless routines.

So we ask, what will make this year different, oh God? What will create lasting change instead of the feeble attempts we believe will work? We vow time and time again that today will be the start, today will be different, and today will be what we imagined for our lives. Sometimes we succeed and find contentment and peace, and sometimes we fail.

Perhaps the difference will never come from us, but from You. After all, You alone are the only constant that can create and sustain authentic change. You alone are the only source of genuine love and hope. Looking elsewhere will guarantee an unending search and desire for something more.

The time has come for us to stop running in circles and let go of what we desperately hang onto for the sake of a “better life.” Perhaps our New Year’s resolution should consist of only one thing, a step towards You. Doing so will bring us closer to the fulfilled life You’ve promised. For some people that step may be forgiving someone. For others it may be a changed outlook or attitude, more compassion or patience, while for others that step may require an action. 

We ask for your guidance, Lord. Direct our steps toward you. 

We pray our lives will truly change because we’ve finally let go and allowed You to transform our heart, mind, and soul. Gracious God may this year be filled with You, and may we experience and share the lasting fulfillment of your sustaining love. Amen.