Time is a significantly gracious yet controlling dynamic. It’s a dimension from which we cannot escape, but our experience of it varies depending on our context. We move from day to day, month to month, year to year, growing older and hopefully wiser, sometimes caught off guard by the realization that time doesn’t wait for our approval.
And so, as with many things in the walk of life, we hand over our time to God, submitting to God and committing the time we do have into God’s care. With each new day, as the sun rises and sets, we are continually reminded of God’s constant mercy and grace for us. With each passing month, as we flip calendar pages and enjoy new seasons, we are reminded that the love of God is far greater than any of the stresses and problems we carry with us. With each year, as we look back to where we have come from and what 365 days has changed, we are reminded to be joyful and give thanks to God for bringing us through another year.
I don’t know what 2017 was like for you. I don’t claim to understand what you have been through, the joys you have felt or the suffering you have endured. But I know God knows. And as we continue to move into 2018, I know that the same God who brought us through 2017 longs to draw us closer to Godself and deeper into God’s love.
And so I offer this prayer as we take on another year, full of excitement, faith and hopefulness, but maybe some hesitation and fear as well. May God be your light in 2018.
Dear Heavenly Father:
“Not only are you the creator and sustainer of all things, but you hold each day in your hand, past, present and yet to come; 2018 is yours, and we thank you that even in the uncertainty of a new year, you are in control. You are more beautiful, powerful and loving than anything that lies before us, and we thank you that you have adopted us into your family as children.
“Thank you for all you have done for us in 2017. Thank you for your protection, provision, guidance, grace, mercy and peace. Thank you for the moments of laughter, joy, freedom and creativity that have made this past year one to remember. Thank you for new experiences, new life and new opportunities. Thank you for stories of redemption, reconciliation and renewal, even as we have experienced these things in our own lives.
“Yet you know that 2017 has also been marred with suffering, pain and death. You know the state of our world and the condition of our hearts. You know that all is not well and that some of us enter this new year with mourning and lament. We don’t always know how to make sense of these things or who to blame, often just realizing that life’s not fair and is full of adversity. We are caught in the tension between our belief that you are in control and the unmistakable effects that evil has in our world.
“As we enter 2018, we recognize that we need you. Only you have proven your power over evil and death. Only you are perfectly holy. Only you have the power to transform us to reflect and resemble your likeness. Only you have been willing to go to the most extreme measures to save us and give us new life. Without a doubt, we need you.
“May your Spirit give us life, hope, joy, peace and love for 2018. No matter what obstacles stand in our way, or in our families, churches or communities, may you give us the strength and guidance we need to push forward in truth. Please give us the energy, resilience and commitment we need to make a difference in a culture that keeps pushing you away. Give us the freedom to dream again, and to find new and creative ways to show people what you are all about.
“May your Spirit give us patience, gentleness and rest for 2018. Help us to see each other as beloved beings created in your image. May we see our harshest enemies as people who, like us, need your grace and mercy. Whether they are our family, neighbours, co-workers, celebrities or political leaders, give us the compassion and fortitude we need to choose peace over violence, love over hate.
“We commit this new year to you, knowing that, as always, we rely on you for everything. Please make your kingdom come on this earth as well as in our hearts. Use us as your instruments of light and hope. Transform us evermore into your image. Fill our lives with joy, hope, rest and peace.
“May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, our rock and our redeemer. And may all glory and honour go to you, God over all.
“In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Moses Falco, 27, is the pastor of Sterling Mennonite Fellowship in Winnipeg. This prayer originally appeared on his blog at mosesfalco.com.