a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

a prayer for the new year

Creator God, the year turns, and we find ourselves uncertain which way to look…
Back, at the blessings you have bestowed upon us—
friends and family,
wonderful summer weather,
beautiful music and theatre,
times for fun and laughter,
new things learned and old habits put away,
the gift of your presence,
celebrations of life and love.
We give thanks for all that has been.

Or perhaps we look back in another direction, at all we have lost—
friends we have said goodbye to,
opportunities missed,
illness or pain that stole our joy,
news that hit too close to home,
worries about livelihoods and about children and about church and about the world.
We pray for healing of our brokenness,
for the comfort of your care to smooth the rough places
and for your light to shine through the cracks.

Or should we look forward, God?
Behold, you are doing a new thing…
we anticipate with wonder that the best is yet to be.
As the old year gives way to the new,
we long for the peace and justice of your kingdom.
We pray that children of every place may grow up with enough food and water and love,
that violence may at last come to an end,
that our leaders might seek the good of all,
that this might be the year when light outshines shadows.

Give us courage to trust you,
to put our hand in yours and walk forward into the unknown with hope.
As we stand at the gate of the year,
looking backward and forward,
remind us also to look inward and outward,
to seek your kingdom first of all.
Remind us that we can see your image in every face,
that you have made us your family, together,
that this world belongs to you and we are its caretakers,
and that there is a still more excellent way—the way of love, faith, and hope.
May this be the year, O God, that all people see your glory together.
We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, St. John’s Church of Scotland, Gourock

Prayer for the New Year

This is a prayer modeled after the ancient New Year prayers or “first-footing” prayers of Scotland and northern England where villagers often went house to house wishing each other a good year.  

It is a reciprocal prayer where the worship leader first models the intention and the congregation offers a blessing.  The roles are then reversed.  If the congregation has a large door through which most of the congregation enters and exits, it would be appropriate and meaningful to have an usher fling the door open near the beginning of the prayer. (Unless, or course, it’s below freezing outside!)
The prayer is followed by a joyful, opening song, hymn, or carol. 
A Common Prayer for the New Year 
One: This day is a new day that has never been before.
This year is a new year, opening the door to transformation.
One: Let us open the door of our hearts.
One: Enter, Lord Christ—
All: that we may feel the joy of your presence.
One: You give us life,
All: and we welcome you with opening hearts.
One: I turn now to face you.
I open my life to you.
Be the light shining on my face, O Beloved;
be the blessing in my eyes,
and the fire in my heart.
All: May the inner eye of your soul 
behold the beauty within you;
may your outer eye behold the beauty around you—
may you see your neighbors, your loved ones,
and those you find difficult to love 
as treasured gifts shaped by God’s good and generous hands.
Silence
One: Enter, Lord Christ—
I feel joy in your presence!
All: I turn now to face you.
I open my life to you.
Be the light shining on my face, O Beloved;
be the blessing in my eyes,
and the fire in my heart.
One: May the inner eye of your soul
behold the beauty within you;
may your outer eye behold the beauty around you—
may you see your neighbors, your loved ones,
and those you find difficult to love
as treasured gifts shaped by God’s good and generous hands.
Silence
All: Enter, Lord Christ—
I feel joy in your presence!
Submitted by Dr. Chris Neufeld-Erdman, Davis Community Church, CA

CTW: a new year

A new year begins, and with it new opportunities to preach the Gospel!
    We give thanks to God for the year past,
and look with anticipation at what God will bring in the year to come.

God has destined us for adoption as God’s children,
the season of Christmas reminds us of the fulfillment of that adoption.
    We are God’s children, and the Lord is our God!
In Christ, we have obtained an inheritance;
    We, who have set our hope in Christ, live for the praise of his glory!
Come, let us worship the newborn King!

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY

prayer for a new year

Let us quiet our minds and be at rest in our hearts as we gather ourselves to pray…
Holy One,
Spirit that blew across the Deep and ruffles the still waters in our soul,
Move in and through each of us gathered here as we begin a new year of teaching, learning, questioning and growing.
Immerse us in holy curiosity, that we may be brave enough to accept our questions and kind enough to share the questions of others.
Soak us in the knowledge that we are loved not for our achievements or accolades but because we are your children, called good from before our birth, and valued as we are beyond all measure.
Make us thirsty for justice, that we my boldly face blatant and subversive oppressions in our community with unwavering conviction.
Make us thirsty for truth, that we may shed light on that which is hidden and right the wrongs long kept in the dark.
Make us thirsty for righteousness, that we may work together to repair broken relationships and build up fractured communities with empathy and compassion.
Gather your people, Holy One, that we may strive together – asking big questions, wrestling with hard answers, and never ceasing in the work of helping and healing the world.
Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Laura Brekke, Campus Minister, Santa Clara University