2020 has been a disruptive year to say the least. There are a lot of people in our churches who are ready to flip the calendar and see what 2021 brings!
Look Back On His Blessings
God is always faithful, and if we look at the past year, we’ll find that he has been with us, and has been working in our lives – even when we don’t realize it!
- Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,… 1 Chronicles 16:11-12
- Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
- Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8
- A blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. Deuteronomy 23:5
- Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. Lamentations 3: 22-24
Focus On The Future, And God’s Plans For You
God has plans for our lives, and they’re plans to help us prosper!
- Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
- In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Don’t Worry About What Is To Come
God is with us in the new year, and we don’t need to worry about anything when we focus on Him. He is our strength, he is with us and we have nothing to fear.
- Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
- Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
- Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
- So we say with confidence,“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Plan Ahead For The Coming Year
While we’re reflecting on the year that has gone, and the year that is about to come, it’s important to plan ahead.
- A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it! Proverbs 13:16
- For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?” Luke 14:28-30
- Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds. Proverbs 27:23
- May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Psalm 20:4
Find Contentment In God This Year, And Give Thanks
As we ring in the new year it’s important to remember that we can only find contentment in God. We also need to give thanks for all that He has done for us in the past year, and what he will do in the year to come.
- Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
- A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. Proverbs 14:30
- “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” …Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
- Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. Psalm 100:4
- But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
- And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
- Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. Psalm 96: 1-3
At the dawn of the new year we are filled with hope for what is to come, and we have thankfulness in my heart for what has already passed. We pray that we will keep our focus where it needs to be this year and that we’ll all have a year filled with joy, love and happiness.
This prayer from Billy Graham, written for The Saturday Evening Post in 2008, is just as relevant more than a decade later.
Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.
We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.
In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.
In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.
In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.
And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).
We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.
Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).
As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.
And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.