Prayers for a New Year - Issue #151
This is an excerpt from a PDF download. To download the full text of this document click: Prayers for a New Year
The Korean United Methodist Church of the Santa Clara Valley in California helps its congregation prepare for the coming year with a yearend service and a series of early morning prayer meetings.
At about 11:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve, the congregation gathers in the sanctuary for worship. During this service, they remember the blessings of God, individually and communally. A few individuals speak about how God has been present in their lives during the year, and the communications team does a presentation showing how God has blessed the church in the past year. At the end of the worship service, each person picks up a laminated bookmark that includes information about the church, a Scripture verse, and an encouraging word of blessing for the upcoming year.
Then for ten days, beginning on January 2, the congregation welcomes the new year with early morning prayer services. The pastor preaches a series of sermons on a particular topic such as the Beatitudes or the basics of faith. Families come to the altar each morning and receive a blessing from the pastor, who lays hands on their heads and prays for each family member. The pastor prays earnestly with people who have specific prayer concerns. The services that fall on Saturdays are usually led by the children and youth and are provided in both Korean and English.
With the practice of this spiritual discipline, the congregation starts the new year with renewed faith in God. As they share their prayer concerns and wishes with the pastor, they recommit to growing in faith during the coming year, and the pastor has a better understanding of the needs and concerns of the congregation.
Some Questions for Discussion
How does your congregation nurture its communal prayer life?
What opportunities does your congregation provide for people to review how God has been active in their lives and recommit to growing in faith?
What are the traditions of your congregation that help people begin the year in a positive and prayerful way?