Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands.Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said:
“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way……
……“Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. ~2 Chronicles 6:12-14, 40
After Solomon had completed building the new temple, and before the dedication ceremony, Solomon offered a prayer to God for the future of the people of Israel. A huge task had been completed and the Israelites were ready to step into their future. Solomon knew that prayer should come first—before any steps were taken. He knew there would be tough times ahead, and times when the Israelites would turn away from God. He knew his people would need God’s guidance, strength, and mercy in the coming days, months, and years. And so he prayed.
The year 2019 has come to a close, and 2020 stretches out before us—full of hope and possibilities. Will the new year be better than the last one? Or will we face challenges, fear, hurt, and disappointment? Will we waiver in our faith, or remain steadfast and strong? I often hear people talk about “ringing in the new year. “ What if we “pray it in” instead? What if we start with prayer and dedicate our lives to following God’s plan for us this year? I believe that if we do, amazing things can happen. I’d like to offer a prayer for all of us as we begin the adventure of a new year.
Thank you for giving us the gift of a new year. I know that for many of us, 2019 was a challenging year. I pray that you bring comfort and peace to those who suffered loss. I pray that you bring relief to those who have been struggling financially. Lord, I ask that you bring calm and healing to those who are dealing with health issues. I pray that you give courage to those who are afraid, and strength to those battling personal demons and addictions. Lord, please send your Holy Spirit into our lives to guide us through whatever we are facing now, and whatever we will need to deal with in the coming year.
Please bless and guide our world leaders. We live in violent and frightening times, Lord. We live in a time when hate is everywhere, and friends turn against friends too easily. Teach us to be your beacons of light in this dark and troubled world.
Father, we will make mistakes. We will hurt one another. We may turn our backs on you for a little while. We will probably stray form the path you have laid out for us. When we fall short, please forgive us and grant us mercy. Help us reach out to one another with love and compassion. And Lord, please give us opportunities to serve you this year. Help us grow into the people you created us to be.
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
Friends, we don’t know what this new year will bring, but we do know that God has been, is now, and will continue to be in control.