I am feeling unusually pensive this morning. Sometimes a new year dawns with barely a whisper. Sometimes it arrives with a shout. This year I sit here on January 1 with more than a little apprehension, feeling like the new year is screaming at me. There is little doubt that this is going to be a busy year. That’s the way I like it, really, as I am easily bored, so I am not complaining. When I’ve contemplated taking something major off my schedule Aileen has always counseled me, “You need to do a lot or you will get bored.” She is probably right. Yet as I look at 2010 I see all sorts of tasks—each of which I am both looking forward to and intimidated by—staring back at me.
I have a book manuscript due in six months and at this point I have barely begun (more than preliminary research, that is). I have taken on a project to read all of the New York Times non-fiction bestsellers for a year and, while I am very much looking forward to doing all that reading, I do worry occasionally that it will prove burdensome. I want to continue reviewing a Christian book per week and also want to dedicate some time to reading substantial theological volumes. And of course I do not want to neglect or de-emphasize those things that are central to my life—time with my children, time with my wife, investing in my church family, producing good work for my clients, spending time reading the Bible and praying, and so on. I want to be busy enough to keep me interested and motivated but not so busy that I burn out. I so badly want to use this year in such a way that I use every moment, bringing glory to God in each day given to me.
To that end, here is a prayer I am praying today. It is drawn from The Valley of Vision.
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
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 by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.
And having prayed that prayer, I will also be turning to Don Whitney’s Ten Questions for the New Year to attempt to give me some context for what I do and attempt to do this year.
I believe 2010 is going to be an amazing year and I’m eager (and a little scared) to get it started.
And to you, on this day, I wish a safe and happy new year. May you know God’s richest blessings in 2010.