This past Monday (New Year’s Day) I wrote an email to the Cornerstone leaders, reflecting on the worship service last Sunday and encouraging them in prayer as we look toward 2018. It struck me after writing the message that you—the congregation—might also receive benefit from what was written, if for no other reason than to know that you’re loved and prayed for regularly by the leadership.
There is no better way to close out 2017 and open up 2018 than in the house of the Lord. What a special grace we enjoyed yesterday, remembering that “God has been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90), and that in the same way he’s been “...our help in ages past” He is also “our hope for years to come” (O God Our Help, Isaac Watts). What solid ground we have to stand on as we venture into the year ahead.
Reading Psalm 1 this morning, I lifted each you up by name, praying that as you delight and meditate on the law of the Lord this year, you would become like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in season, whose leaf doesn't wither, and that you'd prosper in all that you do. As I prayed that prayer for you, I prayed it for me, too. For there is nothing I desire more in 2018 than to be like the wise man of Psalm 1 even Christ the Lord.
One of my favorite Puritan prayers in the The Valley of Vision collection is the “Prayer for the New Year.” You’ll find it below. If you would, take a moment today at some point and pray these petitions with Cornerstone in mind, anticipating that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Captain, will lead us ever onward and upward in the year ahead. Love you brothers.
Length of days does not profit us,
except the days are passed in thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.
Give us the grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that we may not be one moment apart from thee.
May we rely upon on thy Spirit to supply every thought, speak in every word, direct every step,
prosper every work, build up every mote of faith.
Give us a desire to show forth thy praise; testify thy love, advance thy kingdom.
We launch our bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father, as our harbor
with Thee, O Son, at our helm,
with Thee, O Holy Spirit, filling our sails.
Guide us to heaven with our loins girt, our lamp burning,
our ear open to thy calls, our heart full of love, our soul free.
Give us thy grace to sanctify, thy comforts to cheer, thy wisdom to teach, thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct, thy law to judge, thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be our awe, thy triumphs our joy. Amen.”