New Year prayers and blessings

Beannacht (a blessing for New Year) by John O’Donohue
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

Abdullah Kurdi gives a heartfelt message for the new year in this video.

“I wish you a very happy new year. Hopefully next year the war in Syria will end and peace will reign all over the world” (Abdullah Kurdi, 2016 New Year message)
(This video message could be good to download, as a catalyst for ‘prayers for others’)

Leunig new year resolutions

Leunig new year resolutions

celtic blessing



Readings for NEW YEAR’S DAY
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 A Time for Everything
Psalm 8 God’s Glory and Human Dignity
Revelation 21:1-6a The New Heaven and the New Earth
Matthew 25:31-46 The Final Judgement

There is time (inspired by Ecclesiastes reading)
There is time, They whisper on the wind,
Holy One, Holy Three
There is now, They kiss with warming sunbeams
Holy One, Holy Three
There is here, They smile through human eyes,
Holy One, Holy Three
There is you, and them, and we
Holy One, Holy Three
There is now, this present moment, they call
to all that live, Holy One, Holy Three
There is you, and me, and the infinite
Holy One, Holy Three
There is, in all times and tides and seasons,
Holy One, Holy Three
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

MusicAs the old year passes
(Tune: As the Green Blade Rises/Jesus Christ is waiting – Noel Nouvelet; Words: David MacGregor)

As the old year passes
we look back, reflect:
times of joy and promise,
times we’d best forget.

God of the ages
help us walk your way.
Help us greet your future,
seize tomorrow’s day

As the old year passes
sorrow wells within:
loved ones no more ’round us,
all that could have been.
God of compassion,
heal each ailing heart.
Guide us to your future
where new life may start.

As the old year passes
we cry for our struggling world.
Climate ever-changing,
fighting too often heard.
Jesus, you call us
to cherish all you give.
Call us to your future
where all in peace might live.

As the new year dawns now
we would give you praise.
Faithful God, come lead us
onward in new ways.
We’ll love and serve you
in the faith of Christ,
in your Spirit’s future:
people of new life.
(© 2007 Willow Publishing – covered by CCLI licence)

Help me to pray my prayers
May they not just be nice words or nice thoughts that echo in the void
between what is and what could be.
May they not just be nice words or nice thoughts that resound in the empty space
of resolutions and good intentions.
May the seeds of your Word germinate in the bare soil of my being
and grow into a rich and fruitful faith and discipleship.
May l walk the talk
Live the life
Follow your way
May these be real change points and not trite clichés.
Christ in Jesus,
Help me to make this so, Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries)

May we not keep our blessings,
but give them away:
so that others might learn new dance steps,
so children might be fed,
so bridges might be built
and so grace may flow to all in your world.
(source: Thom Shuman)

Help us, Loving God, to meet the challenge of our time.
To hold fast your truth revealed in Jesus Christ,
and yet see your Holy Spirit moving in unexpected ways.
Give us grace to celebrate our gifts with generosity and commitment.
May we leave behind ways that have lost their relevance,
and go forward together in your name, to become a vital church;
Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
(Source: John Maynard)

Parker J Palmer: Five Questions for crossing the threshold

Parker J Palmer – Ithaka:
As we embark on the journey called a New Year, here’s an excerpt from “Ithaka,” a well-known and much-loved poem by C.P. Cavafy. Ithaka is the Greek isle that was the destination of Odysseus’s epic journey in Homer’s “The Odyssey”—and the poem’s central message is one I want to keep in mind as 2016 unfolds.
I suppose that message could be boiled down to the old saw, “It’s the journey, not the destination that counts.” But I think there’s more to it than that.
For me, the poem raises a big question: “What must I do to allow the journey to make me wise—full not only of experience but also of understanding?” My answers include paying attention, taking nothing for granted, opening myself to “the stranger” and that which strikes me as alien, and practicing compassion and gratitude. I hope you’ll find the question as worth pondering as I do—and, if you feel moved, post your own answers.
May your journey through 2016 leave you “wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way!”
pjpWonderful insights on Huffington Post’s feature – religious and spiritual leaders offer hope for 2013. Definitely worth a look!

Huffington Press blessings for 2015 (in poster format)

As this year ends
As this year ends and gives way to a new one
think of it as a gift you have received.
In the joys and struggles, delights and losses,
grace has made its way into you.
Give thanks even if you don’t know what for.
Whatever regrets you have for the year just passed,
hand them over now. Without judgment,
place them in the hands of the Forgiving One
and let it all simply become part of your story.
Whatever hopes you have for the year to come,
trust it as another gift.
Be prepared to welcome the moment
each moment, with wonder and love.
Whatever resolutions you make for the new year,
know that a deeper current than what you want
or what you resolve is what God is doing in you.
Attend, and follow.
The new year will bring you grace.
May you receive it deeply.                  (c) Steve Garnaas-Holmes,

For a compendium of prayers for the New Year, check out Christine Longhurst’s website.


New Year Day is here.
New beginnings are embraced.
New life, full of Grace!
(c) John Stevens

As the new year dawns – A New Year’s prayer
(has reference to depths of winter in northern hemisphere; in Australia we are in the midst of the summer heat for New Year)

God as this new year dawns,
May we take time to see the newness you are giving birth to.
May we not be blinded by the darkness that consumes our world.
Or consumed by the fear that paralyzes our actions.
May we remember,
That out of winter’s darkness you bring forth light,
That out of winter’s death you give birth to new life.
May we remember,
That which has been dormant will spring to life,
That which has been pruned will sprout new strength.
May we remember,
You are the light by which we see,
You are the fountain that gives us life.
God as this new year emerges,
May we give birth to that which honours you,
May we bring to life that which allows your goodness to shine,
May we give fresh expression to your eternal world,
And in the depths of our hearts may we cry,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. Amen

(c) Christine Sine,

breath of God
Ring out, Wild Bells by Tennyson (3 stanzas set to music here)
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

We look with uncertainty
by Anne Hillman

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.

A prayer for the new year by Garth Hewitt
Everloving God it is a new year full of new opportunities
As we ask forgiveness for the past
And make resolutions for the future
May we show your love and live your way

May we take time to pause and draw strength
And let our souls catch up
And be refreshed regularly through this year
May we show your love and live your way

May we remember the poor and the forgotten
The marginalized and the weak
And find ways to show your compassion
May we show your love and live your way

May the healing hope of the gospel be integral to our lives
So that the ways of justice and peace are reflected in us
May we show your love and live your way

May we take time to see the beauty of your world –
To see the beauty of trees, flowers, birds and animals –
To cherish them and work for the sustaining of our garden home –
So that we leave it in a good state for generations to come
May we show your love and live your way

May our hearts be refreshed by joy, music, creativity, love and hope
So we in turn can bring hope and joy to others.
Throughout this year may we show your love and live your way.

A Prayer for Renewal
God, who makes all things new,
Renew us.
Renew our faith.
Renew our compassion.
Renew our energy to follow your way.
Renew our passion for life, love and justice.
Renew our will to grow and develop.
Renew our humility to own our shortcomings.
Renew our grace in how we react to the shortcomings of others and the world as we have allowed it to become.
Renew our efforts in discerning our gifts and talents and those of others.
Renew our desire to listen to your call for us, others and our Community.
Renew us, Lord.
Reshape our living.
Revise our understanding.
Revamp our religion.
Reinvigorate our discipleship.
Reignite our love .
Christ who opens the way for renewal,
Renew us, Lord,
For we need your help to make the change in us.
This we pray may be so. Amen.
(c) Jon Humphries


God of our life, through all the circling years,
We trust in thee;
In all the past, through all our hopes and fears,
thy hand we see.
With each new day, when morning lifts the veil,
we own thy mercies, Lord, which never fail.

God of the past, our times are in thy hand;
with us abide.
Lead us by faith to hope’s true promised land;
be thou our Guide.
With thee to bless, the darkness shines as light,
and faith’s fair vision changes into sight.

God of the coming years, through paths unknown
we follow thee;
when we are strong, Lord, leave us not alone;
our Refuge be.
Be thou for us in life our daily Bread,
our heart’s true Home when all our years have sped.
Words: Hugh Thomson Kerr (1872-1950), 1916.

New Year’s Prayer (specific reference to context in USA in ‘we pray for our country’ but no doubt applicable in many countries)

We begin our new year with you,
Hoping that this year will be different and be better than last year.
Hoping we will be better persons ourselves.
Hoping our work will be improved.
Hoping our marriages will be better.
Hoping our families will be stronger.
Lord, we place our hope in you for you are the author of our lives.

We pray for our churches
that your spirit will be alive for all to experience you.
We pray for our country’s leaders
that they will use wisdom in their decision making.

We pray for country that as we continue to come out of this recession
jobs will continue to become available,
foreclosures will continue to decline,
and that debt will be paid down.

We pray for our world
that relations among all your people will be better,
that strife will cease,
that those who hunger will be filled.

Holy Author,
We have no idea what this year holds for us,
but we know who holds us.
And because it is you that holds us,
we place our faith and trust in you.

Lord help us to have our eyes open to your light, your ways,
and your presence as we go throughout this year. Amen.

(c) Rev Abi, posted on RevGalBlogPals.

New Year’s Prayer (would be great for call to worship & also prayers of intercession)
We come like the magi,
as wise and as foolish men and women,
to kneel before the Christ child.
We bring our regrets from the past year,
our shame, our guilt,
acknowledging our failures and ready to begin afresh
Touch us with your hand of forgiveness
Help us also to forgive ourselves

We come like the shepherds,
from out on the rough hills of life,
bringing our memories
of danger, of suffering, of grief,
bearing our own hurts
and carrying the pain of those around us,
like lost lambs in our arms.
Sing to us your peace
Shine on us with the glow of your gentle comfort

We come like Mary and Joseph,
excited by new life,
promises of hope,
joys remembered from the past year, progress made,
achievements that light up our year.
Glory to God in the highest!
Take us on to Jerusalem!

We come also like Mary and Joseph
and the baby, fleeing from Herod,
at one with all who seek asylum
and languish too long in detention centres,
and with those who have not escaped
but wait for liberation
We open our hearts to make room for all whom you love
Move us and all who have power to move mountains.

We come like the baby wrapped in cloth
and laid in an animals’ feeding trough,
looking at the faces of children everywhere
who suffer the effects of poverty and malnourishment,
and remembering those who still suffer
the impact of natural disasters
such as earthquakes, tsunamis
and failed crops.
Speak to us through the cries of the baby Jesus
and the cries of all children.
Feed us with the good news of his gospel of love.

And now we must go to our Nazareth,
our Galilee, our Jerusalem, our New Year.
You will announce good news to the poor
and we want to be there.
You will reach out to the marginalised
and we want to be there.
You will meet us in deep communion,
in brokenness and life poured out
and we want to be there

We will stand by your cross
and share your risen life.
We greet you with the palms of peace:
Hosanna in the highest!
Welcome to our Jerusalem!
Welcome to our New Year! Amen
      (c) William Loader

Prayer for the New Year
God of new life,
God of life made new,
We begin this new year as we ended the last–
embraced by your spirit of love
your presence of peace
your gentle power.

We leave behind the old year in the knowledge that
whatever we have done in the service of selfish desire;
whenever we have participated in injustice;
however we have strayed from Jesus’ way;
You have forgiven us.

Lead us now into the abundant life of the new year.
Give us eyes to glimpse your presence in each moment.
Give us ears to hear the quiet promptings of your Spirit.
Give us hearts open to the joy and the pain of the lives that surround ours.
We set our feet once again
on the way walked by Jesus.

These steps of peace may be difficult
in a terrain that slopes toward violence.
These steps of justice may prove tiring
as we walk against the winds of injustice.
These steps of love may be painful
with so much hatred to step over and bump up against.
Give us the wisdom
Give us the strength
to take these steps anyway.

Each day a new step.
Each step a faithful movement toward your kingdom.
Each step taken only by your grace
only in your power
our Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Amen.
(c) Joanna Harader,

at the door
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely intothe unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.

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