What are you praying for as we enter 2023? Please join us in praying the five prayers below.
1. Abide in me
Jesus said ‘abide in me … apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15v4-5). This is not an invitation to retreat from our call to service, mission and ministry. But it is an invitation to live life aware of His presence, to be filled daily by His Holy Spirit and to humbly submit (again and again) to His perfect plans for us throughout the year.
2. Heal our land
God’s word to Solomon was that in the face of drought, locust or pestilence, His people were to call on Him to ‘heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7v14). Our ‘land’ faces many challenges as we enter 2023: an NHS ‘on its knees’ (as one surgeon put it to me), ongoing strikes and industrial dissatisfaction in the UK, and a war in Europe – not to mention the wars/armed conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iran, South Sudan, Pakistan, the Philippines (and many other countries). We should pray for governments and national leaders – but also humble ourselves, acknowledge our human sinfulness and recognise the need for people of all nations to hear and respond to the Gospel.
3. Lord, have mercy
This prayer is the essential precursor to revival. It is the prayer that we need to pray for ourselves first, then for our churches, and then for our nation. Whether its Judges 21:25 that speaks to you of our contemporary culture (‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit’) or the dry bones of Ezekiel 37, scripture repeatedly indicates that we should be crying out to God for mercy in order that He might then renew His church and bring men, women and children into a living relationship with Jesus.
The stories of revival history in South Wales, the Hebrides, Lowestoft (and before these 20th century examples others in North America, Ireland and elsewhere) point to the place of contrition in the economy of God as key to the release of a revival outpouring of His presence and power.
4. I trust in you
The writer of Proverbs 3v5-6 put it this way: ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight’. As we enter 2023 there are matters that weigh on our minds – and in due course there will be others of which we are not yet aware. Scripture invites us to trust God in these matters.
But trusting is not just for when we feel lost, anxious or afraid. Trusting is also to do with being willing to accept that God’s ‘take’ on things is perfect, good and right – even if it cuts across our understanding, preferences or desires. If God says it – we are to accept and obey it. That’s trust.
5. Send me
All Christians are ‘sent people’. It is just that we don’t always realise or accept or like the fact. Jesus’ words in Matthew 28v19 were of course spoken first to those disciples present at the time – but there has not been a church in the last 2,000 years for whom they are not appropriate. And that’s not to say we are all called to be Billy Grahams or ‘on stage’ church leaders. But we ARE all sent as witness to what we know about Jesus. So let’s pray – each and every day in 2023 – that God will enable us to know who He is sending us to share His Good News with – in action and words (and always courteously and in love).
What’s your prayer for 2023?
Which of these prayers do you need to make your daily/regular prayer? Which of these stirs your heart? Which of these might God be asking you to pray (for yourself, your church and our nation)?