A New Year’s Prayer for 2021

Out of the depths, I cry to You, Lord. Ps. 130

As I sat at my desk to write this month’s reflection, I was given a prayer for the new year. It’s a prayer I needed to write, with hope for new beginnings in a new year.

O God, in this season of new beginnings,
may we choose our beginnings wisely.
May we choose to be open
to the journey of healing
here within this country of conflict.

In this season of new beginnings,
the journey of healing 
begins at the portal of grief.

We bring our grief for the pain we have caused,
for the hatred we blasted at each other,
for the blinders that narrowed our seeing 
and the indifference of our listening.

We bring our remorse,
knowing new beginnings are rooted
in the soil of remorse,
rooted in horror at the deaths
of those who should have lived.
They paid for our blindness,
 our disregard, our turning away.

O God, out of the depths of grief, 
we call to you, but we know
our lament has no power unless it pierces us.
Our lament has no power unless we weep,
acknowledging we are complicit
in the brokenness around us.
For our silence, our walking on the other side,
our shrugging lightly when it is time to tear our clothes,
for all this, others have paid.

In this season of new beginnings,
O God of love and mercy,
we desire a new beginning.
In the midst of our grief, may we birth love.
Surrounded by wreckage from the storms,
broken open by our lament,
teach us to live beyond our fears,
to embrace the other and love generously.

In place of our blindness,
may we give ourselves to the work 
of clear-eyed seeing, whole-hearted listening,
until the pangs of deep compassion stir us 
to live and love as if our souls depend on it.

O God, may walking the path of grief
bring us to the healing work
of a new beginning for this time.

The words of this prayer poem came to me as an unexpected gift, a response to a question I didn’t know I was asking myself. The question may be yours as well: How can I contribute to healing in this divided and struggling world as we move through 2021? I don’t have a step-by-step answer, but I do believe the attitude of my heart is the place to begin. I bring my heart’s grief and my recognition that I am involved in brokenness through silence. I bring my desire to be a presence of love through my being and my doing. Now is the time of beginnings.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

6 thoughts on “A New Year’s Prayer for 2021”

    1. Thank you, Laurie! I hope that these words will empower all of us to engage in the good work of healing, both in our being and our doing. Nancy

  1. This is such a grounding, and at the same time difficult, prayer. Grief, yes. Complicity? Do I want to ask where…do I want to know? I’m thinking of the prophets who included themselves in the “us” as they confessed, even as they called out all that was wrong in their world, all they lamented.

    Thank you, Nancy. I’m grateful God gave you, and now us, the prayer. May we see our place and what is ours to do in the way forward.

    1. Dear Ann,
      I’m so glad you are exploring the idea of how we can be complicit in ways we don’t know—and how it’s a community-wide prayer so we all can grow in our compassion and love. There is a time for lamenting—even as we draw from our hopes for the future. May we discover that which is ours to do as we continue to journey. Thank you for writing!

  2. Nancy,
    On this historic day in our country’s history, I’m so grateful for your poignant and perfect words. I will use this meditation across the day as I pray fervently. In the midst of lament, I choose Hope.
    Thank you so much.
    Vicki Pry

    1. Hi Vicki,
      I’m so glad you’ll be using this prayer today as we move through this significant day in our country. May we indeed choose HOPE as we journey forward. And may peace grow within and around us.

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