My New Year’s Prayer
January 1, 2021
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NLT
A friend posted on Facebook, “I am definitely staying up past midnight this year…it’s not so much that I have to see 2021 come in, I just want to be sure 2020 leaves!” Funny, but true for most of us. 2020 has been hard, and doctors say that anxiety is at an all-time high. We all know that the fact that the date changes on the calendar and ushers in a new year doesn’t guarantee anything different, but we are hopeful. The new year is here.
Truth is, we don’t have everything settled, just on the pandemic, to relieve our corporate anxiety. Then there’s racism, ongoing political division, the economy, businesses closing, and more changes than we have ever seen in our lifetimes. Add to it our family and personal issues, and we know for sure that flipping a page on the desk calendar or seeing the new digital numbers flash have no power to alleviate anxiety or address our pressing needs.
So what do we do? The apostle Paul, one of the most amazing personalities in all human history, is known in part for his remarkable calm and poise in the most difficult of situations. His life had far more challenges than we can comprehend. Of the 13 letters he wrote that make up about half of the New Testament, five of them were written when he was unjustly imprisoned. In 55 A.D. Paul said, “I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-28).
Yet his secret was to not be anxious about ANYTHING but in EVERY situation, pray. Talk to God. Present Him your needs and requests. Can you imagine? It worked so well. His letters are overwhelmingly positive and strengthening. He found the strength to change the world and pass on the faith. He has taught believers for centuries to overcome anxiety as well. The word for 2021 A.D. is the same as in 55 A.D: “Don’t be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, pray.”
- Make a list of your 2021 anxieties and then pray. Commit your requests to God, and rest.