Most people ring in the New Year in a glamorous way, however, I spent mine in my car, driving, and alone. But here’s the thing: I chose that, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I had spent the past four days at a conference in Toronto and my roomie (aka best bud) and I decided to speed pack, hit the road, and get home for the New Year. Considering this was at 10:30, I knew I would most likely be in my car when the clock turned to 12 and I was so excited.
After spending four days in intensive sessions and workshops learning more about my Lord and Saviour, I was very much in need of some peaceful and reflective time to worship, pray, and be alone with God. With worship music cranked and a heart overflowing with thankfulness and gratitude to God, I anticipated the New Year with hands lifted high as I drove (not even worried about what police officers would think if they saw that), and I prayed through the official 2017-2018 change.
Some of my favourite conversations and moments with God have happened while driving. It calms me, heightens my focus, and I’m so thankful that he orchestrated my New Year to take place in that really special way. As a result of spending the beginning of 2018 this way and being at the conference, I have decided to start a tradition of writing out a “New Year Prayer”. Not only do I think that it’s incredibly beneficial to start off a year dedicating it to God and getting your heart in a place of surrender, but I also think this will be a meaningful way to document how God answers prayer and walks alongside us as we go through life.
I would highly encourage you to write your prayer for 2018. Give yourself the space and time to reflect on his goodness and how you want to seek and surrender this year. Use this prayer as a way to ground yourself when life gets hard and be amazed at how the Holy Spirit will give you words that will speak to you in crazy-real ways when you need them the most.
Without further ado, here is my prayer for 2018:
I praise you today for who you are; for your faithfulness, your promises, and your reckless love. I stand in awe and wonder of you Lord, not only because of your power and glory, but because of your divine nature. The very mystery of your ways and the brilliant design of your plan leaves me speechless and humbled. I praise you God for redeeming me, for forgiving me and giving me everlasting life, for saving me from the weight of my sin and the reality of hell, for continuously pursuing me and never letting me go. God, you are my refuge, my ever-present help in time of need, you are my guide, my strength, my song – and for that I long to fall more and more in love with you each and every day of my life.
I can’t help but stand amazed when I reflect on who you have called me to be and the intentionality of your ways. You knew me fully and completely before I was born and you had a specific and unique plan for my life before I could ever begin understanding how loved I am by you. I praise you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and my prayer is that you would remind me everyday to see myself how you see me Lord. Remind me of my worth, my identity, and my purpose – which is found completely and entirely in Christ. Please guard my heart, protect me from the toxicity of comparison, from the discontentment found in jealousy, from the discouragement of societal lies; rather, Lord, remind me that in you I can find total and perfect contentment. Remind me that my life is a beautiful dance between you and I. Don’t let me go, keep me in step, lead me in your precious song, and hold firm my heart so that it may not wander; bind me to you Lord.
Thank you for all you have done in my life this past year. I can see now that 2017 was a year of being molded and shaped by you in beautiful ways. You are the potter and I am the clay. Thank you for divinely revealing yourself to me, for seeing me, and knowing me. Thank you for being present when I draw near to you, and for working in my life when I wander; you never stop moving in my life Lord, you never give up on me, and for that I worship, praise, and lift your name high.
Thank you for gently, lovingly, and so perfectly breaking me so that you can rebuild me to be more like you, to be a brighter light and more devoted daughter of my heavenly father. You see my sin, my pride, and my fears – and yet you find gracious ways to convict me, humble me, and break down the walls that I have worked to build. You have freed me from everything that works to hold me captive, and I adore you for saving me. You and you alone are my source of joy, my living water.
I lay down this new year at your feet and I surrender everything – my education, career, relationships, dreams, passions, talents, and gifts. Lord it is all yours, it always has been. I’m sorry for every moment I’ve ever thought those things were mine to use selfishly. Everything I am and everything I have has been given to me by you for an intentional and perfect purpose, and I dedicate and give those things back to you to use. I pray God that you would mobilize and direct me in your will this year. I want nothing but to live in step with your design for my life. I pray that as I dedicate this year to you, that you would convict me and reveal yourself to me Lord so that I may be able to discern your will.
I pray that wherever you lead me, I would be a bold and bright light for you. I pray that I would speak your name and share the gospel without apology. Give me the grace to love others the way you love them, and break my heart for what breaks yours. Give me your eyes to see the world how you see it Lord, and ignite in me an inextinguishable fire that burns fiercely on your behalf. My one desire, Lord, is that the strength of the Holy Spirit would reside in me and be my helper as I join in the mission to share your goodness and love to the world.
Lord God, you are the love of my life; you are all I need. Though there are forces on every side telling me otherwise, please help me to always remember that you are enough for me, that your grace is sufficient, and that in you I have all I will ever need. I pray that you would align the desires of my heart with the desires of yours. Give me the discipline to stay in your Word daily, to rely on it more than I rely on anything else. Help me to see you in new ways this year. Whether this is the hardest year of my life, or the most blessing-filled, help me to praise you and seek you just the same.
Jesus, let me never take for granted what you did for me, and humanity, on the cross. In your name fear cannot stand, so I pray that 2018 would be a year where I take dares on you God. Push my faith to new boundaries, stretch my trust and heighten my dependency on you. Be my first and foremost priority, be the head of my life, and then within that Lord, radiate growth and love to all areas of my life.
I love you Lord. You are good thousands of times over. You never let me down, and you never will. You are faithful to fulfill your promises and you are faithful to answer me when I call. You are incomprehensible, completely worthy of adoration, honour, reverence, and praise. Creation shows your creativity and majesty, and I am left in total awe and wonder. I am humbled to serve a God that I cannot fully fathom, but that I have seen work wondrously in my life and in others.
You’ve been showing me the beauty of the word “abide”. In John 15:4-11 you say,
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
I pray that these words would permeate my heart this year. Help me to abide in you and your love Jesus. May 2018 be a year of fully depending on you in all circumstances. Give me strength to trust when it’s hard to see purpose, give me perspective in order to control my emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and give me a heart that loves you and others in ways that I haven’t accomplished before.
Help me, Lord, in developing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control so that my life would first and foremost point to you, to your grace and unceasing love.
Lord, I love you and I want to walk with you all the days of the rest of my life. When I see you face to face one day, standing before your throne, my desire is that you will say “well done my good and faithful servant”. I give you this year, along with my entire life. Please forgive me when I fall short, continue writing a redemption song with my life so that my weaknesses can show others your strength, and be glorified in my thoughts, actions, and words, oh God.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.