Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Prayer

My prayers for you in 2013:

  •  I pray that you will be known as a person for whom forgiveness comes as naturally as breathing.  That you won’t fear that people will thus take advantage of you—though some small souls undoubtedly will—but realize that good people are drawn to  those who accept them as they are, flaws and all.

  • I pray that you will realize that there are things in this life that are worth striving for perfection, some that are worth striving for excellence, some that are worth striving for good enough, and some that aren’t worth striving for at all.  And that you’ll get everything sorted out in the right categories.

  • I pray that when you strive for perfection and fall short, you’ll realize that God will cut you some slack.  And that you will cut yourself the same measure as God—but with a contrite heart.  God doesn’t appreciate it when his slack-cutting is taken for granted or leads to arrogance.

  • I pray that you will realize that a God of forgiveness views punishment differently  than humans do; that for God the goal is never revenge, or satisfying some sense of justice that has more in common with the concept of karma, i.e. that every deed has its just reward or punishment; that for God the goal of punishment is always reconciliation and restoration, and if those goals can best be accomplished without punishment, then so be it.

  • I pray that if you ever feel like you are being punished by God that it isn’t because he is angry or vengeful but because he believes in you more than you believe in yourself, and he is trying to awaken you to that fact.

  • I pray that you realize that when you fall, God does not merely wait for you to come to your senses, but comes searching for you, full of understanding and care.

  • I pray that you will know that God is not a God who is calculating and stingy in his gifts, but a crazy-farmer God who sows seeds everywhere without regard for waste or worthiness.

  • I pray that you will sow the seeds of love and goodness without regard for waste or worthiness.

  • I pray you will see God less as being immutable and more as being consistent.  Immutability implies rigid, unbending, incapable of adjusting to new circumstances.  But a habit that a person will not break for any reason is just an obsession.  Scripture reveals God to be anything but rigid, unbending, and inflexible;  it does reveal him to be consistently loving, consistently forgiving, consistently faithful, consistently reconciling.  All these (and more) mean that he can’t be rigid, unbending, and inflexible. 

  • I pray that you will come to trust in a God in whose hands and in whose promise you are far safer than if you rely on yourself, or arms, or armies, or governments.

  • I pray that you come to believe in a God who, if he is able to raise dead bodies to new life, is able, not merely to destroy what is evil and hopeless, but to redeem what is evil and hopeless.
  • I pray that you will trust that a God who fashioned the depth of the universe and the deepest recesses of the human psyche is able to comprehend your life and all its complexity.

 All of these things and more I will pray for you in this new year.  And while I am praying for them for you, I will also be praying them for myself.

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