Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year's Prayer

Dear Father in Heaven, the Psalmist wrote, "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."  Jeremiah said, " Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him."

I am so thankful for those truths. They have been a comfort to me during this past year.  Don't get me wrong, Lord.  You have blessed us in many ways over the past year, but you know there have also been many challenges that we have faced, as a family, and as individuals.

Our hearts are broken, Father, over our parents who are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, and who are slowly slipping away from us daily by degrees.  I thank you, Lord, for giving Dad the strength and desire to care for Mom as well as he does.  I pray for physical and emotional strength for him, as he is also fading with the frailties of old age.

The terrible injustice that has been done to my father in law by a member of his family is reprehensible. Our natural reaction is one of desiring retribution, but Father, we know it is not our place to bring vengeance - for that is your responsibility and within your power.  Even in the terrible circumstances, you have given us the blessing of caring for him in our home.  Who would have thought something this terrible could bring the other members of the family closer together in the resolve to seek their father's comfort and protection in his old age.

You have chosen to keep the malignancy in my body dormant for another year, and I give you thanks for that , and all the credit and honor.

You have given Linda and I forty three Christmases and New Year's Days together. You gave us strength and wisdom for the time of trials this past year, and also gave us seasons of refreshing with a needed vacation, and other quality time with our sons, daughters in law, and the five precious grandsons who are spread out 1,000 miles apart.

Thank you for our friends, both near and far.  Lord, I even thank you for social media.  Not only is it a wonderful way to communicate with our friends, but it has brought the blessing of even reconnecting with friends from High School and College days, whom I haven't seen in decades.  It's also a blessing that can be used in ministry.

You have provided for our families in a wonderful way.  We may not have had all that we would like to have had, but you have met our needs, physically, financially and spiritually.

You have given us the blessing of seeing both of our sons involved in ministry.

You have blessed our church...  Strengthened our fellowship... and given us great opportunity for missions, at home, in North America, and around the world.  We are thankful for your blessings in our children and youth ministries, and for the people who have come to know you as their Savior and Lord.  Thank you for the growth of others in our fellowship, who are stepping out into the deeper water of service to you.

There is still so much that we ask you for in the coming year, our Father, because the needs are those that only you can meet.

I pray for your continued blessing on our church.  We are calling our congregation to fervent prayer - especially during the first month of this new year.  We will pray for our lost loved ones.  We will pray for our church and it's mission.  We will pray for our missionaries at home and abroad.  We will pray for our Seminaries and Bible Colleges where you are raising up and equipping future leaders.

I pray today for my fellow pastors and co-laborers for you.  As Your undershepherds, help us be reminded that the sheep are Yours!  Our responsibilities are to feed them, lead them, protect and provide.  Remind us that they need to be touched, groomed, and corrected in love, until the Chief Shepherd appears to take us all home.

Help us look at one another as members of the body - YOUR BODY.  Remind us this year that each of us have our individual gifts, talents and abilities, and each of us have an important place of service in the body of Christ. Give us a boldness to work and witness for you, and as we look at our brothers and sisters in Christ , help us to see them, not through our flawed human eyes, but through Your eyes of Grace and Love.

I pray today for our men and women in the military service, and those who serve through the State Department and other government jobs, throughout the world.  I pray for our policemen and women, our fire fighters, EMT's, and other first responders as well.  Recent events remind us that all of them are in harm's way, and only You can provide a true hedge of protection around them.  I pray for their families. Keep them in perfect peace and comfort them while their loved ones are on duty.

Lord I ask for your protection of our school children and their teachers.  I also pray for the young ladies in crisis pregnancies and their unborn children. I also ask your protection and care for the elderly who are in nursing homes and hospitals.   May we have a respect for the sanctity of human life, and realize that You are the life giver.  You are the One who determines the time and date of our deaths.

I pray today for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones.  I pray for those who feel so very alone. May your presence be near and real to them today.

We lift up those who are financially distressed. Those who are homeless, hungry, in need of clothing, or in jail. Give us your eyes and let us be your hands to minister to them in Your love and compassion.  Help us share the Good News to ALL who need to hear it.

Help us to pray for our elected leaders on the local, state, and national level.  We often criticize them, and some hold to world views that are far removed from Your revealed will.  Help us remember that we will never change the world through the ballot box or polling booth, but only through your influence and the life changing power of Your Holy Spirit. We would remember that the King's heart is in your hand, and you will steer it where You will.  Our duty is to pray for Your will to be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Lord, we do not know what the future holds for each of us, but we know that You hold the future.  Give us strength and courage for the challenges that we know which lie ahead of us in 2013, but also give us faith and trust to know that You are sufficient to handle the unexpected challenges and trials we will surely face.

I close my prayer today, but claiming again the wonderful words with which I opened it.  Thank you for those encouraging words as we enter this new year.

 "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."  

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him."

Thank you, Lord for these wonderful promises. Thank you for being our God!

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