For many of us, 2020 was one of the hardest years we’ve experienced as COVID-19 swiftly changed most aspects of our lives. We’ve experienced loss in our nation, our communities, our churches, and our homes. We mourned the loss of too many to this virus. We’ve come face to face with the devastating effects of racial injustice. We walked through an exhausting and tumultuous election season. We’ve lost jobs. And as we enter a new year, it can be tempting to think that a fresh year means that things will go back to “normal” and our pain will ease up. But the new year will likely hold just as many uncertainties as the previous one.
Below is a sample prayer for personal reflection, families, and churches to use:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of this new day and new year. Thank you for sustaining us through the tumultuous year of 2020. Your Word tells us that your mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23), and we are deeply grateful. But we admit that many of us are entering this new year weary and exhausted. Would you lead us beside still waters and restore our souls (Psa. 23)?
Lord, our hearts are deeply grieved over the losses we’ve walked through this year—the loved ones who have died, the jobs that disappeared, the dwindling bank accounts, the interrupted school schedules, the deferred dreams and plans, the loneliness we experienced, the fractures in our nation, and the reality that looked much different from our expectations. Our hearts cry, “How long, O LORD?” (Psa.13). Bind up our broken hearts with your presence. Spirit, when we are weak and don’t know what or how to pray, thank you that you intercede for us (Rom. 8:26).
Father, remind us of what we know to be true: you’ve set your steadfast love upon us, and you promise to be our refuge and strength, our rock and our stronghold. (Psa. 31; 143) You hear the needy, and we feel so very needy right now. This past year took us by surprise, but it didn’t surprise you because you are sovereign, and you have the whole world in your hands.
We ask for a renewed commitment to growing in godliness and grace. Help us to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Rom. 8:1-11). Teach us how to count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ (Phil. 3). Give us a greater love for one another. In the midst of global and national unrest, may we be marked by an extraordinary love for one another, the lost, and the vulnerable.
Help us boldly proclaim the truth of your gospel. And would you bring many into a saving knowledge through your son?
Your Word tells us that our times are in your hands, and you daily bear us up (Psa. 31:15; 68:19). Teach us to cast all of our burdens and cares upon you (Psa. 55:22). We don’t know what this new year will bring or how many days we have left on this earth, but we entrust each moment to you.
Lord, we know that one day you will come and make all things new, and we eagerly await the day when you will bring us home and wipe away every tear (Rev. 21). Thank you for your promises and your presence.
In Jesus’ name,