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A New Year’s Prayer

Weekly Devotionals

A New Year’s Prayer

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Christmas is behind us and a new year awaits us once again. As parents of young kids, we’re always trying to discover family traditions. During Christmas, that means our annual nativity picture which we plan to take until the kids are off to college. Though Miles cannot be naked much longer without causing some backlash.

Other traditions include Advent readings, visiting the orphanage, and we try to make the season more about giving and not just receiving toys. Although we want to give up many times, we stick with it the best we can. There are times they go crazy during Advent readings and they are starting to wise up to the fact that other kids are getting so many toys for Christmas.

Why do we stick with it? Traditions are more than empty rituals. These habits instruct and form our desires and who we eventually become.

One of the greatest lies of our time is that choice and freedom are king. Never limit your options. This coming year, I challenge you to do the opposite. Limit your choices, simplify, practice a habit that limits you. For me, I’m going to pray through a book of Puritan prayers. I find too often that my prayers are all about me, my family, my church, my friends, my concerns, my worldview, my opinions and desires, my hopes and fears. Me, me, me.

Sometimes to escape this tendency, we need to let the wisdom of others guide us instead of forging our own path. So this year, I will not be asking God for anything, but will pray the same prayers read by countless other believers before me. In doing so, I hope I can escape the cycle of me-ism and experience the freedom that comes from letting go.

Join me and pray the first prayer of the new year with me:

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine;

Let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty,
Thy glory in my valley.

Happy New Year!