A prayer for the New Year

Something a bit different. A prayer for 2018 inspired by the story of the Magi in St Matthew chapter 2.

Father God, of course we know that 1st January really has no more significance than any other, but it may be a time to stop, to think, to pray and to plan.

We pray for all people around the world looking to their future.

First we pray for those like King Herod,  who are planning to do or continue to do evil. For all those whose actions in 2018 are likely to be cruel, irresponsible, dishonest, violent or criminal. They may be corrupt national leaders, petty criminals, or simply domestic bullies. May their actions be resisted. May they understand their sin. May they be led to repentenace, change and new life.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those like the Magi, who have better plans. Bless everyone who is seeking help with New Year resolutions to give up smoking, cut down drinking, or save their marriage. Be with women and couples expecting babies; families planning weddings; students preparing for exams, gap years, and the job hunt. Bless those hoping to set up new businesses.

We especially pray for those planning and strategizing to make the world a better place: people employed in local and national government, international institutions, political parties and the charitable sector. Not all of their ideas will be good ones, so we pray for wise guidance and genuine consultation, but also for their passionate resolve, resilience and steadfastness.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those like the priests in Jerusalem, who are holding to hope of a better future in a dark place. We bring You the hungry and cold around the world, the displaced, the slaves, the chronically sick. We bring those still homeless after the fire at the Grenfell Tower. We bring the Rohingya Muslims caught between Myanmar and Bangladesh. We bring victims of terror in Egypt and Afghanistan, and of warfare in Syria and Yemen. We pray that these people may be able to make their lives better, and that others with greater power will help them.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for those like Mary and Joseph, who are carrying Jesus into 2018. Bless the worldwide church, Your church – Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Armenian and independent – and everything in between. May church communities be places of love and inspiration and truth. May they reach out with words of gospel, and hands of service. May Your church play its part in transforming Your world.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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