A prayer for the new year: I Hold My Life Up to You Now

It’s been quite a year: big decisions, courage,  changes, growth, saying goodbye, leaving, arriving, meeting for the first time, stepping outside of comfort zones, struggle, travel, friendship, kindness, writing, wondering…

The year ahead seems full of potential, as the change in the calendar often facilitates. Yet, there is also in it, in the midst of the fog of uncertainty, a desire for more than holiday resolutions, or the promises of fluctuating emotions.

As is often the case, Ted Loder somehow writes words that resonate with my soul. Upon running across this prayer I’ve been reading it, over and over, praying with longing for a return to what is basic and in many ways simple. Perhaps it will speak to you as well, and we can pray it together.

I Hold My Life Up to You Now

Patient God,
the clock struck midnight
and I partied with a strange sadness in my heart,
confusion in my mind.

Now I ask you
to gather me,
for I realize
the storms of time have scattered me,
the furies of the past year have driven me,
many sorrows have scarred me,
many accomplishments have disappointed me,
much activity has wearied me,
and fear has spooked me
into a hundred hiding places,
one of which is pretended gaity.

I am sick of a string of “have-a-nice-day’s.”
What I want is passionate days,
wondrous days,
dangerous days,
blessed days,
surprising days.
What I want is you!

Patient God,
this day teeters on the edge of waiting
and things seem to slip away from me,
as though everything were only memory
and memory is capricious.

Help me not to let my life slip away from me
O God, I hold up my life to you now,
as much as I can,
as high as I can,
in this mysterious reach called prayer.

Come close, lest I wobble and fall short.
It is not days or years I seek from you,
not infinity and enormity,
but small things and moments and awareness,
awareness that you are in what I am
and in what I have been indiffferent to.

It is not new time,
but new eyes,
new heart I seek,
and you.

Patient God,
in this teetering time,
this time in the balance,
this time of waiting,
make me aware of moments,
moments of song,
moments of bread and friends,
moments of jokes
(some of them on me)
which, for a moment, deflate my pomposities;
moments of sleep and warm beds,
moments of children laughing and parents bending,
moments of sunsets and sparrows outspunking winter,
moments when broken things get mended
with glue or guts or mercy or imagination;
moments when splinters shine and rocks shrink,
moments when I know myself blest,
not because I am so awfully important,
but because you are so awesomely God,
no less of the year to come
as of all the years past;
no less of this moment
than of all my momnets;
no less of those who forget you
as of those who remember,
as I do now,
in this teetering time.

O Patient God,
make something new in me,
in this year,
for you.

by Ted Loder in Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle (1984: Innisfree Press, Inc.)

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