Starting 2014 with a prayer...
In various parts of the state, country and world, there are traditions that are meant to greet the new year by bringing "good luck" to those who partake or participate in certain rituals.
For example, here in Northeast Ohio, eating pork and sauerkraut - cooked of course - on the first day of the year is supposed to bring you luck. I've done this more times than I care to mention; it has not changed my circumstance other than to change an empty tummy to a full one.
Over the course of my life, I've learned not to put much stock in things that supposedly have power to bring good luck or bad luck for that matter. They are just things after all and have no real power of their own - other than that sauerkraut, maybe.
The thing that I have come to trust in over the course of many new year's is the power of prayer and the God to whom I pray. Why would I believe that?
I read in the Bible that God is completely faithful to hear each and every prayer said. Not only that but also that He responds to each one. I've also read that where there are two or more gathered together, Jesus is in their midst. We are not alone in our expressions; He is with us, even as we pray.
A friend and I have prayed together for 10 years now. We notice that the more people who join their hearts together, unified in a particular prayer effort, the greater the exponential effect seems to be. It's God's response that we are always amazed by, for He never fails.
Don't get me wrong: We have not always received what we prayed for and we don't expect that. We both understand that what ask in our tunnel vision for ourselves or someone else, is not necessarily what God knows we actually need. We also understand that sometimes, if nothing seems to happen, it can mean either it's not time yet or no, this isn't what God intends for this situation.
We know for a fact that God is not the great Santa Claus of the universe. He's not in the business of granting childish wishes. He is, however, the one who knows our end from our beginning. He knows where we are on the road of our journey with Him. He sees and knows when we are and are not ready to receive what He's prepared for us. He knows if we need to grow more, learn more of His ways before going to the next step. He is our awesome God. All of this affects His response.
With the new year shortly getting under way, I'd like to share this prayer with you that my prayer partner once sent me. I hope it will bring you comfort, hope and joy. May it become a key in opening the door to a lasting relationship with the One who always hears and responds according to what is best for us and for those whom we love. For me, it's a great way to start 2014.
Prayer for the new year: O God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year. May it be a time of grace for us; a time to grow in faith and love; a time to renew our commitment to follow You. May it be a year of blessing for all who seek you; a time to cherish family and friends; a time to renew our efforts at work; and a time to embrace our faith more fully. Walk with us, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the true and pure light and love of Christ might shine through us, in spite of our weaknesses and failings. Above all, may we remember this year that we are all pilgrims on the sacred path that leads to You and demonstrate your love accordingly to everyone we meet. Amen.