This morning's musing is a prayer from Dr. Wendell Hawley's book A Pastor Prays for His People (used by permission of the author, and his book is available in the Church Bookstall). Wendell's prayer is appropriate for the start of a new year and every month that follows.
Prayer Number Two
God of all grace, God of my salvation,
I praise you because you are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
You never grow old; you are not impoverished, enfeebled, forgetful;
your faithfulness continues to each generation—
more enduring than the earth itself.
And yet, wonder of wonders, you have entered into our existence,
for the eternal Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
And because of that, Jesus knows all about life's struggles.
We thank you, Father God, that Jesus had to earn a living.
He did a day's work like any working person;
he had to face the wearying routine of everday work,
work that sometimes becomes a chore . . . a struggle.
He knew the frustration and irritation of serving the public . . .
some people are never pleased.
Jesus knew the problems of living together in a family.
He knew what it was like to have unbelieving relatives.
And he knew the reality of temptation and the attacks of Satan.
We thank you, Father God, that Jesus shared in happy social
occasions . . .
that he was at ease at weddings, and at dinner parties,
and at festivals in the homes of the rich and the poor . . .
and people just like us . . .
Grant, Father, that we may ever remember that in his unseen, risen presence,
he is a guest in our homes and a listener to every conversation.
We thank you that Jesus knew the meaning of friendship,
that he had his own circle of friends with whom he wanted to be;
that he knew how to catch fish and how to prepare a meal;
and that he was there, standing alongside loved ones, when they
needed him most.
He also knew what it was like to be disappointed by a friend,
to suffer disloyalty,
to have love repaid by rejection.
He experienced unfair criticism,
He was lied about and abandoned—he knew what it was like
to be alone.
We thank you, Father, that whatever circumstances we face,
Jesus has been there before.
Because he faced all of the same testings we do,
he is able to help those who are going through them.
Touched with the feeling of our infirmities, he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust,
Therefore, we come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need.
Lord, we are a needy people . . . in need of your assurances.
As we hide your Word away in our hearts,
make every promise real to us this year.
Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.
And so, sovereign Lord, as we face the New Year,
we do so in the confidence that you are with us in the midst of every
sickness or health;
empty purses or stretched dollars:
business losses or economic gains:
family disruption or family delights.
Whatever, Lord, we are yours!
Scripture quoted from Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 100:5, NLT; John 1:14; Hebrews 4:15, NLT; Hebrews 4:15, KJV; Psalm 103:14; Hebrews 4:16; Psalm 119:165.