New Year prayers and blessings

May this be the day
We come together.
Mourning, we come to mend,
Withered, we come to weather,
Torn, we come to tend,
Battered, we come to better.
Tethered by this year of yearning,
We are learning
That though we weren’t ready for this,
We have been readied by it.
We steadily vow that no matter
How we are weighed down,
We must always pave a way forward.
This hope is our door, our portal.
Even if we never get back to normal,
Someday we can venture beyond it,
To leave the known and take the first steps.
So let us not return to what was normal,
But reach toward what is next.
What was cursed, we will cure.
What was plagued, we will prove pure.
Where we tend to argue, we will try to agree,
Those fortunes we forswore, now the future we foresee,
Where we weren’t aware, we’re now awake;
Those moments we missed
Are now these moments we make,
The moments we meet,
And our hearts, once all together beaten,
Now all together beat.
Come, look up with kindness yet,
For even solace can be sourced from sorrow.
We remember, not just for the sake of yesterday,
But to take on tomorrow.
We heed this old spirit,
In a new day’s lyric,
In our hearts, we hear it:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
Be bold, sang Time this year,
Be bold, sang Time,
For when you honor yesterday,
Tomorrow ye will find.
Know what we’ve fought
Need not be forgot nor for none.
It defines us, binds us as one,
Come over, join this day just begun.
For wherever we come together,
We will forever overcome. (Amanda Gorman)

Resources: Songs for New Year on the Singing from the Lectionary website  (scroll down for more music resources)

Gracious God, at the start of this year together,
we pause to give thanks for your presence with us.
You are a God of abundant grace.
Your Gospel offers us the promise of liberating hope.
We commit ourselves to one another, and to you,
for all that this year brings to us.
Help us to sense, and know, and rely on,
your Spirit, at work in our midst.
Grant us grace, and strength, as we serve you,
and patience, and dedication, as we serve others.
(Source: Rev Dr John Squires)

A New Year Gift from Contemplative Monk
Sweeping The Threshold
The Breath Prayer: Jesus
Light a candle, play some soft music, say a meaningful prayer, a Psalm like the 23rd, or whatever helps you to let go and enter into the stillness of devotion.
The monastics call this practice entering the cave of our heart. The Franciscans have a prayer tradition from the early church where they lower their head below their heart to remind themselves that it’s our heart first in approaching God.
A breath prayer is simply a way to drop our linear mind, to enter our spirit through our breath.
Take three deep breaths and slowly centre yourself in your heart…
As breath is spirit
Breathe in this moment…
Let the stillness soak into your being.
Breathe in forgiveness, and breathe out your release.
Breathe in faith, and breathe out thanksgiving.
Breathe in silently saying ‘Jes’, and breathe out silently saying ‘us’.
Allow yourself to cross the threshold into the rest of Christ finished work
Close your eyes or let them rest gently focused a few feet in front of you,
Let your face relax into a soft smile as you breathe naturally
Breathe… embracing belonging, releasing gratitude,
Focusing on the presence of Jesus.
Letting go and letting God,
Like a trust fall into the arms of God
Allowing yourself to feel well, and whole in these eternal arms.
Feeling Beloved
Feeling the joy of God’s presence.
Free from suffering and harm,
Free and whole.
Take your time to savor, and soak in the presence of God.
(Source: Bob Holmes, Contemplative Practice Facebook page)

At the turning of the year,
turn our ache into action.
At the turning of the year,
turn our fear towards love.
At the turning of the year,
re-turn our hearts to you,
loving, living God. Amen
(Source: Iona community)

God of all times and seasons,
On this threshold of a new year, we turn and return again to you.
The year spreads before us with possibilities and challenges, joys and concerns.
There is beauty all around: in the smiles of children, in the love offered between friends, in the beauty of the earth.
But there are also challenges already surfacing.
In the closing days of last year we have seen the images of war torn countries,
terrorist attacks, hunger, poverty and despair. (ed: COVID pandemic continues….)
Your heart grieves when your children anywhere are hurting.
Our hearts grieve too.
Then again, we know that even in the midst of winter there is hope for spring,
and even in the midst of grief there are signs of hope:
children embraced, lives touched by grace, heroes who surface in times of trial.
In the midst of the good and the bad, hear our prayer for this New Year.
May you help us to love a bit more deeply,
See the beauty around us more clearly,
Listen more earnestly,
Speak more honestly.
May we be troubled by injustice and be moved to act.
May we be led by compassion and be moved to serve.
May we walk softly upon this earth and be gentle towards your creation.
May we be a courageous and bold witness for you.
May we be a living example of your gracious love, not only in word but in deed.
And may we daily give thanks for the others in our lives and in the world that do the same and more,
every day, in innumerable ways.
For the promise in this New Year, we give you thanks.
Help us to live it wisely and well.
(Source: Sandy Messick, Worship Words)

The same prayer for personal use, written in the singular:
God of all times and seasons,
On this threshold of a new year, I turn and return again to you.
The year spreads before us with possibilities and challenges, joys and concerns.
There is beauty all around: in the smiles of children, in the love offered between friends, in the beauty of the earth.
But there are also challenges already surfacing.
In the closing days of last year we have seen the images of war torn countries,
terrorist attacks, hunger, poverty and despair.
Your heart grieves when your children anywhere are hurting.
My heart grieves too.
Then again, I know that even in the midst of winter there is hope for spring,
and even in the midst of grief there are signs of hope:
children embraced, lives touched by grace, heroes who surface in times of trial.
In the midst of the good and the bad, hear my prayer for this New Year.
May you help me to love a bit more deeply,
See the beauty around me more clearly,
Listen more earnestly,
Speak more honestly.
May I be troubled by injustice and be moved to act.
May I be led by compassion and be moved to serve.
May I walk softly upon this earth and be gentle towards your creation.
May I be a courageous and bold witness for you.
May I be a living example of your gracious love, not only in word but in deed.
And may I daily give thanks for the others in my life and in the world that do the same and more, every day, in innumerable ways.
For the promise in this New Year, I give you thanks.
Help me to live it wisely and well.
(Source: Sandy Messick, Worship Words)

Somewhere, out at the edges, the night
Is turning and the waves of darkness
Begin to brighten the shore of dawn.
The heavy dark falls back to earth
And the freed air goes wild with light,
The heart fills with fresh, bright breath
And thoughts stir to give birth to colour.
I arise today
In the name of Silence,
Womb of the Word,
In the name of Stillness,
Home of Belonging,
In the name of the Solitude
Of the Soul and the Earth.
I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in Word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.
(Source: John O’Donohue’s Matins, from Benedictus: A Book of Blessings)

Jesus, You are the light in our darkness.
You bring grace in our sinfulness, peace in our strife, joy in our sadness, hope in times of despair and courage in our weakness.
We thank you for Christmas.
Your coming showed us your tender loving care for us.
As we move into this new year we acknowledged that ​we have fears, questions and uncertainties.
We acknowledge unfinished business
in our lives,
tasks we had hoped to complete
that we have left undone,
strained relationships that need healing,
mistakes we have made this past year
we do not want to repeat.
We need your strength to journey
towards new ​beginnings. ​
Humble us afresh so that we may receive your forgiveness and welcome you afresh into our lives.
As we look back on this past year we also thank you for all your blessings.
Just as you have always gone before us preparing the way,
and stood beside us, guiding us, and urging us on,
help us to trust you now.
In you we live and move and have our being,
All our times are in your hands.
All our beginnings and ending
are known to you.
Take our lives into your keeping that we may begin ​and continue this year
in the hope, peace, joy and love ​that comes from you.

May God be a smooth path ahead of you,
And a bright star to guide you
May his loving eyes be upon you
tonight, tomorrow and always.
May the God of love strengthen us
in our love for others.
May Christ Jesus be our living hope
And the Holy Spirit surprise us on the way
(Helen  Richmond, Prayers that Unite)

God of all time,
help us enter the New Year quietly,
thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others,
mindful that our steps make an impact
and our words carry power.
May we walk gently.
May we speak only after we have listened well.
Creator of all life,
help us enter the New Year reverently,
aware that you have endowed
every creature and plant, every person and habitat
with beauty and purpose.
May we regard the world with tenderness.
May we honor rather than destroy.
Lover of all souls,
help us enter the New Year joyfully,
willing to laugh and dance and dream,
remembering our many gifts with thanks
and looking forward to blessings yet to come.
May we welcome your lavish love.
May we cast off the small, vindictive god our fears have made.
May the grace and peace of Christ bless you now and in the days ahead.
(Source: Vinita Hampton Wright)

A Prayer for the New Year
God of wisdom and truth,
at the beginning of this new year
we look back and we look forward.
In the year that has passed
we experienced joy and we experienced sorrow;
we felt blessed and we felt challenged.
Some things went by much too fast,
and some things lingered for far too long.
We are reminded that you are present through it all.
We are reminded that we are never alone.
We are reminded that nothing can separate us from your love.
So at the beginning of this new year,
we pause to reflect on the year that has passed.
We remember the things from this past year that we are most thankful for.
We recall the moments we were the happiest.
We consider the times we felt most alive.
We recognize the times we gave and received the most love.
We are grateful, God, that you were present in those times.
We also remember the things from this past year that we are least thankful for.
We recall the moments we were the least happy.
We consider the times we felt life draining from us.
We recognize the times we gave and received the least love.
We are grateful, God, that you were present in those times too.
Gracious God,
at the beginning of this new year,
we also look forward to the year to come.
We are confident that you will be with us still,
when we are thankful and when we are not;
when we are happy and when we are sad;
when we feel alive and when we feel drained;
when we give and receive love and when we do not.
God, the world we live in is messy and challenging,
it is the world of King Herod,
a world of pain,
a world of doubt,
a world of fear,
a world of jealousy,
a world of violence,
a world of domination,
a world of injustice,
a world of human failings.
Yet, God, you are with us always.
So give us grace and give us courage
to live faithfully in this imperfect world.
Remind us always of the promise of your kingdom,
emerging around us and through us.
(Source: John W. Vest)

The Call
It’s not the day on the
calendar that makes the
New Year new, it’s when
the old year dies that the new
year gets born. It’s when the
ache in your heart breaks
open, when new love makes
every cell in your body
align. It’s when your baby
is born, it’s when your
father and mother die. It’s
when the new Earth is
discovered and it’s the
ground you’re standing on.
The old year is all that is
broken, the ash left from all
those other fires you made;
the new year kindles from
your own spark, catches flame
and consumes all within
that is old, withered and dry.
The New Year breaks out
when the eye sees anew,
when the heart breathes open
locked rooms, when your
dead branches burst into
blossom, when the Call comes
with no doubt that it’s
calling to you.
(Source: Richard Wehrman)

‘You don’t think your way into a new kind of living,
you live your way into a new kind of thinking.’
(Source: Henri Nouwen, intro to Parker Palmer’s The Promise of Paradise)

A New Year Prayer by Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches
God of life, God of grace, God of love!
Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
We come to you in thanksgiving, and in prayer,
God our Creator, for this past year that you gave us to live together –
as your creation and with your all creation,
as your beloved human beings, as one human family –
we thank you for all who have seen and received
true signs of your love,
through the splendour of your creation
and through the generosity of other human beings,
but also, through signs of justice and peace
becoming true signs of the presence of your Kingdom among us.
At this time we come to you with our prayers
for all those who have experienced that their lives
have been filled with sorrows, fear, violence and death,
for all those who have lost their expectations
for the better day of tomorrow,
for the happy new year that comes.
God in your mercy,
You hear our prayers for those who thirst and long
for justice and peace:
give them all your grace, your signs of love,
give them your righteousness, your joy!
Kyrie Eleison!
Give us, O Jesus Christ,
the courage to convey the embrace and presence
you have offered to all
through your suffering, death and resurrection.
Let us end this year in Your Holy name, O Jesus Christ,
the name you were given
because you were sent to save us from our sins,
Christe Eleison!
Let us begin the new year in Your Holy name, O Jesus Christ.
You are there in what comes to give us your love.
You are there and ask us to love you and all those you care for.
Give us, O Holy Spirit, that each one of us,
and the one, Holy Church, and the one and whole world
can be united in hope, moved by Christ’s love.
(Source: adapted, 2019, World Council of Churches)

A New Year’s Resolution of Optimism and Hope
God as Christ,
Source of forgiveness and redemption,
I look to the good I might do,
The help I might give,
The compassion I might show
And the change I might work for,
Help me survive my failures which are to come this year.
As far as possible, help me to avoid them,
But when they come,
As they inevitably will,
As I fall short of your call,
Failing to love as I could,
Failing to love as I should,
Failing in my relationships with family, friends, community, work and strangers,
Failing to be my best self,
Failing to follow in your way
And failing in my faith and discipleship,
May I face the truth promptly and honestly.
May I not seek to minimise or excuse them,
But understand what led to them,
That in your grace,
And your vision of my better self,
I might learn and be transformed.
When I encounter the failures of others,
In the same measure lavished on me by you,
Help me to have the humility to extend to them grace,
And love them with patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control,
That in you as Spirit,
We might find joy and goodness in the communion of our brokenness together.
Guide me to work to make right the failures of my past,
At least as far as possible.
Teach me your way of reconciliation,
So that sorry and forgiveness,
Might ever be set in my mind,
Poised on the tip of my tongue,
And never be withheld or slow to be awakened and offered.
Help me to live better this year,
Failing less,
And learning from my mistakes.
So, with hope and optimism,
Faith and belief,
I pray. Amen.
(Source: Jon Humphries, 2020 Facebook post – Prayers that Unite)

May the God of surprise and new life
Bring you hope today.
May the Christ of faithfulness and righteousness expand your love today.
May the Spirit of steadfastness and encouragement
Welcome you to unity today.
Let the wonder of the God who is One, the God who is three
Fill you, restore, renew and refresh.
Love comes.
Light shines.
The miracle of God
Surges around us.
(Source: Christine Sine December 2019, Godspacelight)

Re-thinking gratitude: an article by Jeremy David Engels (author of The Art of Gratitude)

Start the New Year Right with a Spiritual Audit – Christine Sine 

New Year Resolutions as A Spiritual Discipline – Christine Sine 

Opening the Door to A New Year – Lilly Lewin

Two Postures for Entering the New Year – Lynne Baab 

New Year’s Resolutions – Jenneth Grazer 

Leading Spiritually from Within – The Art of Discernment – Christine Sine 

The Art of Discernment – A Resource List

Life: A Poem for the New Year – Ana Lisa De Jong

Let Light Shine 

A New Year Coming and God is with Us – Christine Sine

A Prayer of Hope for the New Years – Christine Sine

As The New Year Dawns – Christine Sine 

God the Eternal Rock is With Us – Christine Sine 

God the eternal rock is with us,
From year’s beginning to its end,
In hard times and in good,
God is with us from year’s beginning to its end.
God almighty is faithful,
Present in each day and every moment,
Drawing close in every act and deed,
God is faithful through all eternity.
God is trustworthy,
Yesterday, today and forever,
Sustaining, enlivening, making all things new,
God the eternal rock is with us this day and evermore.
(Source: Ray Simpson, from ‘Celtic Blessings’)

At The End Of The Year
The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such a brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us to the shapes of days.

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.

Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.

The slow brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.

The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
(Source: John O’Donohue, To Bless The Space Between)

New Year’s Prayer
Quietly the New Year slips in.
Are we now more fearful, the radio asks?
More careful? More tired?
Are we now more aware of the suffering, the violence,
the inequality, the injustice in our world?
Holy God,
In this New Year,
We seek you
As we have always sought you.
We need you
As we have always needed you.
We hunger for your presence,
your peace, your justice and your love.
Open our hearts afresh and anew.
Open our minds that we may know you.
Open our hands that we may care for you.
Open our ears and eyes that we may hear and see you
In our neighbour, in the foreigner, in the refugee,
Even in our enemy,
And, perhaps especially, in ourselves.
That we may know in the deepest part of ourselves
That you call us
And that we are capable
Of seeing and naming, doing and being
Your love, your peace, your hope and your justice
In this your world. Amen.
(Source: Revd Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson, Worship Words)

The old year is worn and tired.
Time now to kiss it goodbye.
Take with you its wisdom – the authority and power of all that you have learned.
Remember the past year with love,
but let go of its despair.
Live the year that lies ahead
with fresh energy and hope.
Be strong, have courage.
It is time now for something new.
(Source: Contemplative Monk, Facebook post)

Well, we have a whole new year ahead of us.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful
if we could all be a little more gentle with each other,
and a little more loving,
have a little more empathy,
and maybe next year at this time
we’d like each other a little more.
(Source: Judy Garland quote)

New Year’s Resolution
Beginning, God created,
so beginning again
this New Year’s Day I
create, I play, I dream,
and dance with Wisdom,
hover with Spirit-Breath,
embrace with delight
this life I’ve been given,
this story to write, canvas
to paint, drama to play,
and I will play and I will see
all things as good that God
has made and I will make
a resolution to be good, to be
peace and love and hope
in a world created for hope
and love and peace and I will
begin again this New Year’s
Day, this new year, this
new day and the next day,
creating a life to delight in,
living a story to gladden
my reminiscing, singing a song
to catch you up in, in joy,
in peace, in hope, in love.
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Praying the Story)

Beannacht (a blessing for New Year)
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.
(Source: John O’Donohue)

Yearning for a new way will not produce it.
Only ending the old way can do that.
You cannot hold onto the old,
all the while declaring that you want something new.
The old will defy the new;
The old will deny the new;
The old will decry the new.
There is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it.
(Source: Neale Donald Walsch)

Mother Theresa was said to have used the following prayer everyday by the 19th century Catholic theologian John Henry Newman. The line, “be in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul”, is an invitation to reflect on what to commit to in the new year so that others are able to sense God’s ‘presence in my soul’, at all times. It would be a beautiful prayer of dedication and commitment, or even a benediction at the end of a service.

Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in
contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others; The light, O Jesus will be
all from You; none of it will be mine;
It will be you shining on others through me.
(Source: John Henry Newman)

Merciful and loving God, for the year that has passed with its sorrows and joys, we give you thanks; for in every moment of it, you remained faithful to us, rejoicing and struggling with us, though often we were slow to recognize you there. And with thanks for this past year, we now release it. May its treasures inspire us, but never bind us in nostalgia; and may its troubles teach us, but never hold us captive. For you who have created are still creating…making all things new, including this day. Amen.
(Source: Life in Liturgy)

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’)

My resolve is to be present in the moment and treasure the little things. Each moment together is a gift to celebrate and a memory made, each sadness is infused with joy and each joy tinged with sadness and God is present in all. Life can thrive and grow in the toughest of places, there is always hope. So laugh, cry, love, grieve and really live. Embrace the life before you with both hands.
(Source: Facebook post, Bronwyn Fraser, adapted)

A New Year’s Blessing
And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
Cast aside the year that was
down into the depths
of all that we cannot change,
but wish sometimes that we could.
It was a slap in the face year
and a pleading for change year
and a banging of heads upon a brick wall year.
It was the way the ice-cold water of politics
doused the fire of our passion.
It was the way governments upheld cruelty.
It was the way citizens would vote absurdly.
It was the way that millions seeking safety were given the cold shoulder.
And how we all feel the freezing
but many much more so
than I.
And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
She is trustworthy, as all new things are,
she is unspoilt, unstained, unbroken,
she has never once let you down,
she is waiting.
And though you will undoubtedly muddy her waters,
still, may you pour yourself out within them.
May you give yourself to the unfolding.
May you hold yourself up to the audacity of believing that things
can begin again, in you and in this world
No matter what has been.
No matter who you fear you have become.
No matter the broken or the stained or the spoilt.
No matter the draw toward safety
and the seduction of the western dream.
No matter the temptation. No matter the drug.
No matter the pull to live for yourself.
No matter. No matter.
May you find yourself,
trust the person that you meet,
give that person to a world that needs you.
Not a perfect you. Not a you with all the answers. Not a superhero. Just you.
You are becoming who they said you would never be.
Give this person the credence they deserve.
Sit with them. Listen to them. Be present.
So may all that sits unsettled and undecided within you,
may all that weighs heavy upon you,
may all that grasps and all that grabs and all that demands,
may all the loud voices and the persistence of self-doubt,
may the fear and the frozen and the fractured and too-broken,
may it all, may it all, may it all
wash from your skin
and out into the night,
to never
be able
to hold you
down again.
And so the New Year comes
and how she brings herself toward you,
outstretched and willing, beckoning. Give yourself to her.
(Source: Joel McKerrow, TEAR)

Leunig new year resolutions

Leunig new year resolutions

celtic blessing


As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they become inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.

(Source: John O’Donohue, Excerpt from ‘At the End of the Year’
in the publication ‘To bless the space between us’). 

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.
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

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.”

A communion liturgy for New Year’s Day (Year A,B,C)
: Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25:31-46

Call to Worship
We wake up in the morning
and see the sunrise:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We are warmed by the sun;
the rain cleanses all creation:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
We watch the moon light up the night,
we fall asleep to the lullabies of the stars:
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

Prayer of the Day
You call us
to be Your children;
You gift us
to serve all people;
You send us to proclaim
Your good news to all:
Glory to You,
Creator of all that is new!

When you are lonely,
we have a chance to visit you;
when you are hungry,
we can share our food with you;
when you are naked,
we can give you
the clothes off our backs;
when you are sick,
we can nurse you back to health:
Glory to You,
Savior of the world!

You whisper in our ears,
so we may praise You;
You fill our souls,
so we may serve You;
You lead us into the kingdom,
so we may live with You:
Glory to You,
Spirit of Gentleness!

Glory to You,
God in Community, Holy in One!
Hear us as we pray as Jesus teaches us,
(The Lord’s Prayer)

Call to Reconciliation
Will this year be a time of new life, new ways for us – or will we continue to live the same old way? Let us confess to our God our failures, as well as our hopes, as we begin this year.

Unison Prayer for Forgiveness
We admit that we always find the time to fill our stomachs, God of every moment, but not our souls. We spend hours watching television, but not the wonders of Your creation. We arrange outings with our friends, yet ignore Your invitation to sit and talk. We make resolutions to change every aspect of our lives, except for that which pertains to You.
Forgive us, God of Glory, and make us new. In the moments to come this year, remind us that if there is a time for everything, than we do have those moments for grace, for hope, for joy, for a relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
It’s over – last year is gone. Our words, our thoughts, our deeds are in the past. Today, we begin anew. Today, and every day, God offers us life and hope.
Here, now, forever – we are forgiven and healed. This year, let us live as such people. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering
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.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
May the God of new beginnings be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who makes all things, including us, new.
Children of God, sing praises to the One who gives you new life.
We praise the One who continues to surprise us with hope and grace.

Before there was time,
Hope of Eternity,
You took a moment
to bring creation out of chaos.
You took time to create mountains,
and carve deep canyons;
You made the time to fill the oceans
and to plant food for all creatures;
You found the time to plow rivers
to water a Garden,
and to shape us in Your image.
But we did not have time for You,
preferring to spend our days chasing sin,
and our nights seeking death.
You always made time for us,
speaking of Your hopes
through the prophets,
sharing Your dreams
through the angels.
Then, one day You decided
to do a new thing,
becoming one of us
as Jesus become human
to bring hope and grace to us.

So we join with the saints in heaven,
and our sisters and brothers on earth,
who sing of Your glory:

Holy, holy, holy, God of every time and space.
All creation sings of Your majesty and glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who gives us the water of life.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are You, Keeper of our days,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who is with us in every season of life.
He comes, not to judge us,
but to forgive us;
He comes, not to cast us out,
but to gather us into
the new Jerusalem;
He comes, not to watch us suffer,
but to die on the cross,
that we might live with You.

As we give thanks for his life,
and remember his death and resurrection,
we would talk of that mystery which is our faith:

Christ died, so sin would have no more power over us;
Christ rose, destroying death’s grip on us;
when the new heaven and new earth come,
     Christ will make all things, including us, new.

In these sacred moments,
send Your Spirit
to sanctify the bread and the cup,
and to open the hearts
of those who approach the Table.
As the Bread of life touches our lips,
may we be strengthened to serve
those whom the world has forgotten.
As the Cup of salvation quenches our thirst for You,
may we be enabled to bring relief
to those who wander
the desert wastes of our society.

And when all time ends,
and all people are gathered
around Your Table in Heaven,
we will rejoice in Your presence,
and sing your praises forever:
One God, Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Let us go from this time of silence and song, to be God’s voice,
to speak out for the oppressed of our communities and world.
Let us go from this time of community, to be Jesus’ faithful,
to feed the hungry, to visit the sick, to be a friend to the prisoner.
Let us go from this sacred space, to share the peace of the Spirit,
to work for reconciliation in our neighborhoods,
to put an end to violence and death as solutions for fear.
(Source: Thom M. Shuman)

A guided meditation on the new year
Opening the Door to the New Year!
Crossing the threshold into what God has in store.
Consider this past year,
Where have you been?
How was your journey?
Was it a season of OPEN DOORS or CLOSED DOORS?
Was it a season of slammed doors, or doors opened in invitation?
Look around you. Consider the doors you can see.
What kind of Door represents your last year?
What kind of Door represents the year ahead?
Consider the Door into the New Year:
Is the door squeaky?
Is it creaky?
Is it hard to open?
Is it locked and do you have the key?
Or maybe you need a new key?
Is it a new door?
Are there windows in the door or is it totally solid?
When you look inside, is there a room filled with light, warm and inviting, or do you feel the space inside is dark and filled with unknown obstacles?
As you approach and cross the threshold and open the door to the New Year, what do you need to leave behind? What do you need to drop? Last week we talked about the fact that we cannot receive new gifts from God if our hands are full.  CS Lewis says, “if our hands are full of too many packages, we cannot receive any new gifts.”
Are you carrying too many packages?
What packages do you need to drop?
Talk to God about this.
Allow God to show you what you need to put down, what you need to let go of in order to move through the new door.
Spend some time with God and ask God to show you what door you are in front of and how you need to walk into the New Year.
Take time to ask the questions “How do I need God to open doors for me in the New Year?”
And “What doors do I need God to close for me this next year? “
Pray and talk to God about this.
Take some time consider the doors. Those behind and those ahead.
You might choose to Draw or Journal about the door and be real with Jesus as you write/create. You might look through photos of doors to find a door that represents the door of the New Year to you. Print it out and carry it with you and allow Jesus to show you new things and open new doors. And consider how you can open the door more to Jesus in the New Year!
Revelation 3:20The Message (MSG)
20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!
Revelation 3:20New International Version (NIV)
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
(Source: Lilly Lewin, Free Range Worship)  

Whatever You Do
ST. DENIO (“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”)

“Whatever you do to the least ones of these,
I tell you in truth that you do unto me!”
Lord Jesus, you taught us! May we learn anew
That when we serve others, we also serve you.

When poor, waiting children pray hunger will end,
When those long-forgotten cry out for a friend,
When thirsty ones whisper, “O Lord, where are you?” —
We hear, in their longing, that you’re calling, too.

In prisons and jails, Lord, we find a surprise;
We see you in people whom others despise.
At hospital bedsides we offer a prayer
And find, when we visit the sick, you are there.

When we reach to others in flood-stricken lands
And offer our hearts there, and offer our hands —
We notice, Lord Jesus, the gift of your grace:
We see, in the crowds of the suffering, your face.

“Lord, when did we see you?” Your teaching is clear
That when we serve others, we’re serving you here.
And when your church heeds you and helps those in pain,
Then out of the chaos, hope rises again.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 25:31-46
Tune: Traditional Welsh hymn, in John Robert’s Caniadau y Cyssegr (Songs of the Sanctuary), 1839
Text: Copyright © 2008 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns:

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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