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New year brings prayer for hope, peace and grace


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POSTED: Saturday, January 03, 2009

Dear Lord,

We have in past weeks worshipped or at least paid homage beside your crib in a cow stall. Like of old, when lowly shepherds came, as did honored kings and who knows who else, so we came, too.

Some of us were just curious. Some of us came filled with hope. Some of us came looking for hope—looking for hope amid job insecurity or no job at all. Some of us came in the wake of a crushing blow or a dream-shattering loss.

Some of us came to be blessed—for the mountain-climbing white-knuckled task ahead, or the journey across a dark valley to a place where we've never been before.

We came to you, a baby, but we came to you because we understand that you grew up to wear our shoes and walk our streets. You smelled our earth and cried our tears. You died our death. Yet you claimed to be God incarnate—the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Some of us have embraced you and all you claim to be, and we exult in calling you King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We have been changed and transformed with renewed strength and filled with hope (though we often seek a refill).

We believe, Lord, that your reach spans our vast universe from one end to the other and from the beginning of time to the end of time. At the start of this New Year, our prayers join with all the human chorus raised to you everywhere for your reach to touch the uttermost edge of human need—from the hostile roads of Baghdad, to the dangerous hills of Afghanistan, to family circles broken by the ravages of war.

Reach with the long arm of your mercy and love to touch not only the hearts of men and women, but the hearts of nations. Touch us all for the cause of peace—you who are the Prince of Peace.

Guide our national leaders and the government officials of our city and state. Protect our newly elected president, his family and all those who serve to guide and guard our country.

Reach out, Lord, with your protection to those who sleep on our streets—the lonely, the sometimes wet, the often cold, the always hungry. Somehow bring them to know your love and give us grace to possibly be the willing hands and feet of that love. We especially ask for your lovingkindness to go out to the children of the homeless.

Heal the heart of our hurting nation and begin with us. Make us to be childlike—the wonder, the joy, the humble spirit. Bring healing to our bodies, our souls, our spirits. Renew our hope. Warm our hearts to love you and our neighbor more.

Bring us safely through another year with fuller hearts, wiser heads, hands more ready to help and voices more confident to sing, "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight."

We make our prayer in your name, Lord Jesus, Amen.

 

The Rev. Sim B. Fulcher is associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu.

"Keeping Faith" columnist Mary Adamski is on vacation.