A PERSONAL PRAYER
God of hope,
I have all sorts of thoughts about a new year. There are things I hope to accomplish and things I hope to change. I know you call me to keep growing, to keep moving forward on my own journey of discipleship. I am reminded that discipline and discipleship are related words, and that my own growth means I will have to do some things differently. Some of them are the same things I have been working on for years. I need your help, God. Some of these things I know I cannot change without your power, without you as Holy Spirit filling me.
But as we approach the new year, I want to approach it with expectancy rather than expectation. I want to lean into whatever you have for me, rather than try to dictate what it is I want to have happen. Only you know what tomorrow will bring. I stand ready for your command and your direction. I hold onto hope that your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
We pray in the name of Jesus, the hope of the world. Amen.
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
On January 6, St. Luke’s will kick off a special emphasis which will be a part of our programming for 2019. 2019 is “The Year of Gratitude,” and we will learn to practice thanksgiving daily, and train ourselves to keep gratitude as the basic spiritual response of our Christian life. The habits of our hands and voices help to form the habits of our hearts, and so the practice of thanksgiving daily shapes our hearts to be grateful. Make it a point to be with us in worship on Sunday morning, January 6, and begin the new year by deciding to “Give Thanks In All Circumstances.”
As you plan your year-end generosity, there are several options which will ensure that your giving qualifies as a 2018 donation with the IRS. To learn more visit My.StLukesMethodist.org/giving. The Finance Office will be open until 2 p.m. today, Friday, December 28 to receive donations. You may drop your donation in the offering plate on Sunday, December 30 or drop your envelope in the church mail slot located outside the church office door before midnight on December 31. Please contact Karen McCarver at 713-402-5026 or firstname.lastname@example.org should you need additional information about year-end giving.
Sunday, December 30
Gracious God, we thank you for your abundant blessings and gifts that we have freely received from you. We confess that living in this country has skewed our perception of abundance and that, oftentimes, we take your gifts for granted, especially your intangible gifts. As this year comes to an end, we praise you and thank you for all of your blessings, and we rededicate our lives to living for you. Amen.
Monday, December 31
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of 2018. We thank you for the unexpected blessings, the struggles which grew our faith, the friends and family who walked beside us and prayed for us, the memories that we cherish, the eye-opening experiences, and the love and hope that sustained us. Thank you, God, for all of the ways that you have been at work in our lives in 2018, both seen and unseen. We pray for your continued guidance and blessings as we enter into 2019. All honor and glory is yours. Amen.
Tuesday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
Dear Lord, We thank you for a new year. Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days aright that we may cultivate and bring to you a heart of wisdom.” I pray that we might live 2019 with purpose and with hearts seeking God, studying His word, and praising him for our blessings. Amen.
Wednesday, January 2
As Psalm 65 says, “You who answer prayer, to you all people will come.” Lord, we thank you for all the wondrous blessings you bestow on us every day! As we start a New Year, we recall that “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” Help us to keep our life centered on your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ so that we may share the abundance with others that you so freely give to us. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Thursday, January 3
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
Friday, January 4
Heavenly Father, we thank you for a fresh start and new beginnings. You provide us with so many blessings each day. Help us to be mindful of your provisions and to be ever grateful. Amen.
Saturday, January 5
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for our many blessings as we enter into 2019. Please help us to remember that everything we have is because of you and your grace. Amen.