Friday, December 29, 2006

Prayers for the New Year 2007

(Personal prayer)

Father, as I pause to think about praying for a new year, I have to wonder, what is it about changing the date on a calendar that makes us think of “starting over.”? Don’t we realize that every day, yes even every moment is new with You? That at any moment we can surrender ourselves to You and start afresh? Why do we think a “date” must change for us to change?

Or, is it the “season” we’ve just gone through that prompts us to make changes? We have experienced the Advent and the celebration of the Day of the birth of our Lord. Is somehow, that “advent” so ingrained within us that we long for “something new”? That we subconsciously want to “prepare” ourselves to be, what, better? More ready for His coming?

I don’t know the “why” Lord. I just know that we do. My prayer is, as Paul said, “forgetting what lies behind, but reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on to the goal…” And what is my goal, Lord? To know Thee more clearly, to serve Thee more nearly, and to love Thee more dearly… this is my prayer.

In Jesus’ name - Amen.

(Universal prayer)

Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent God; our Creator, our Adonay, our El-Shaddai, our God Almighty, You are everything we need. You have created us for Your purposes and to glorify You, hear our cries; hear our praises this day…

We lift up to You this day, a new year; a turning of our earthly calendar. Do You laugh at that, God? For to You “a thousand years is as a single day” and yet we turn the calendar with such pomp and circumstance - with such celebrations and resolutions, that one would think that “we” had some control… but, it is all Yours.

We humbly bow at that admission and revelation. It is all Yours! Make of us, Lord, servants of the Most High God, make of us, Father, servants of Your children.

We pray, Father, for those for whom the turning of the calendar brings hope; for those who just want to forget last year and start afresh. We pray that they would come to know that “every” day is new with You.

We pray for those for whom the turning of the calendar brings despair, anxiety and fear; for those who just can’t see how things can get any better. We pray that they would come to know You in all Your fullness, and to recognize that “this world is not their home.”

We pray for those for whom the turning of the calendar brings excitement; for those who know You and just can’t wait to see what You’ll do next. God! That is so exhilarating - just to know the joy of the Lord! But even at that Lord, may we too, realize that “this world is not our home” either. Don’t let us get so caught up with “living” that we forget “life.”

We humbly lay this “year” at Your feet and ask what would You have us do? Where would You have us go? Who would You have us touch? And who would You have touch us?

And may all that we do, glorify You.

In Jesus’ name - Amen.

(My prayer)
My Father and my God, so order my steps in this coming year as to only bring honor to that Name I carry - “Christian.”

Lord, I know that means so many different things to different people - and some of it is not good. May I begin to change that!

John (our younger son) once said, “I keep tying my shoe, and it keeps coming untied - it must be something in my step…” Father, no matter how much I try to keep life together, no matter how often “I” tie my shoes, they keep coming untied. “Life” keeps coming unraveled, because that’s how “life” is. And as long as we live as humans, in fallen “containers” it will always be like that.

And so I pray, God, order my steps, control my walk, direct my path, that I may serve You and You alone this new year. That is my plea.

In Jesus’ name - Amen.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Prayers 2006 (Third Sunday in Advent)

Third Sunday in Advent - Joy

Father, as I pause in my prayers and think of the third Advent candle - joy - I let my mind wander over the many thoughts surrounding “joy” and am surprised to find the phrase, “there is no joy in Mudville tonight, the mighty Casey has struck out…” comes to mind.

And I have to ask Lord, is that a sign of our culture - that our “joy” is dependant on our team winning; on a player getting a hit, or a homerun; or a touchdown, or a free-throw, or any other corresponding phrase for victory? Is it dependant on the marketplace or the world stage? Is our “joy” based on our being “successful…”? Is it that fragile?

I think of Biblical uses of the word, “joy” and find my heart embracing, “weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning” and “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

And I remember that Elizabeth’s son John, “leaped for joy” in her womb upon hearing Mary’s voice. And that Mary’s spirit “rejoiced in God” at Your choosing her as Your Son’s mother…”

And then there is that ultimate, “Behold I bring you good news of a great joy, which shall be for all people, for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!” and I stop there, and I realize, “this” is the “joy” that the third candle represents. That if not for this one single “joy” no other joy would be possible.

Christ brings the “joy in the morning.” He is the “Good Shepherd” who goes after the one lost little lamb. He is (not to be cliché, but) “the reason for the season”; He is the joy of my life and the salvation of my soul, and You, my Father, made it all possible…

You, are concerned about my joy.

You, want me to be happy.

When I think about all the things that bring me joy - my husband, my children, my family, and yes, even success in the “marketplace” I humbly realize that all of this would be just fleeting fancy without the real joy of knowing Your Son. And I pray Lord; lead me to lead others in knowing this permanent, concrete, solid, never failing, and always eternal Saviour - Jesus - our true Joy!

And it is in His name I pray - Amen

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Come, Oh Come Emmanuel (Personal Version)

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Come, Oh Come Emmanuel" but it has such haunting lyrics, that it spoke to my personal soul as well. This is my version.

Come, Oh Come Emmanuel
(Personal Version)

Come, oh come, Thou Son of God Most High
And free my soul from sin
my spirit cries.
Restore the fellowship within
that crumbled at the bid of sin.

Refrain 1:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
has come to take my place
in judgment’s hell!

Come, oh come, Thou Lover of my soul
And lift me from this pit
this darkest hole.
That clouds my days and nights with fear
until Your precious light appears.

(Refrain 1)

Come, oh come, thou Sunshine of my days
and lead my walk
in all Thy perfect ways.
And keep my pathway to the right
in ease of walk
or rocky mountain flights.

(Refrain 1)

Come, oh come, Thou Triumph o’re the grave
and walk with me
when comes my final days.
Then wing my soul washed white by Thy blood
into my Father’s presence
and His love.

Refrain 2:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
prepares on high a home
for me to dwell.

©Betty J. Newman
December 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Sins I Do Not Know

GOD! Forgive me for these sins I do not know.

Dig deep within me and search them out. Bring them to the surface so that I may discern their existence and root them out of my life.

I avoid this, and abstain from that, but still, my “trying” to evade sin only serves to heighten my awareness of its presence.

“I” can’t eradicate my sin.

No matter how much I try. No matter how acquainted I am with its existence; no matter if You laid each and every one out for my close examination - still, “I” cannot remove them from my life.

I can’t “be better.” I can’t “live justly” for there is no “justness” to me. I am sin. Not only do I “do” sin, but I… am… sin…

David cried out, “In sin my mother conceived me.” And, so can I - so can we all. For yes, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” but we are born in sin by sinful people. But still, I can’t say, “That’s just the way I am. I am filled with ‘sin nature’ and so I can’t help it.”

GOD! Forgive me for these sins I do not know.

I MUST take some responsibility. I must… bring them to the throne. I must… know them, Lord.

So, open my eyes. Lead me to look deep, beyond the façade of superficial “goodness” and see the “enemy” within. Show me where he resides, where he “dwells”, where he has settled into his easy chair and nestled into my soul. Show me the secret places where I have not allowed You. And even those, Lord, I ask you to take. May there be nothing of me.

Search me and try me. And in tears I cry, “Burn it out Lord!” Remove the dross. Burn the chaff… (Oh God, it is so difficult to say, but…) whatever… it… takes… Lord… Make me Thine. For Christ is my shelter. He is my “goodness.” He will carry my soul through the fires.

As He is You, He bought me (why, I’ll never know!) He pleads my case. And He alone can make me clean. Remove me, from me…

GOD! Forgive me for these sins I do not know…

©Betty J. Newman
December 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Prayers 2006 (Second Sunday in Advent)

Second Sunday in Advent: Peace

Father, as our second Sunday in Advent brings the message of peace, I have to wonder - what is peace, really? It’s so much more than the absence of war. It’s more than a shaky truce or a temporary lull. It’s more than a momentary laying down of arms or a brief respite from conflict.

No, true peace wells up within us within times of war, within the ravages of the fiercest actions, and during the times when the whole force of hell assaults our souls. “The Peace of God,” said the apostle Paul “surpasses all understanding.” And Christ, Himself, said, “My peace I give you - not the kind the world gives. So don’t be afraid.”

True peace, Father, comes from You. It’s nothing we can conjure up, nothing we can “talk ourselves into” nothing we can “will” to be - it comes, (yes) comes from Thee.

So, how can we explain the conflict of the shaking hands and the calm heart? How can we understand the fear that ravages our minds while a peace pervades our soul? It doesn’t make sense Lord, but I’ve been there.

I’ve felt my heart cry “Peace! Peace! The Peace of the Most High Sovereign God surrounds you and controls your being!” and all the while my mind is trying to grasp the reality of the moment - the pain that comes with uncertainty and fear, when my stomach turns and my limbs weaken…

And finally, I fall to my knees, grasping the promise that You made to never leave nor forsake me - and peace comes upon me, and I feel Your love.

It doesn’t always “change the moment”; there may still be “bullets” flying all around, whether actual, or figurative (sometimes the “figurative” ones hurt the worst!) But it changes me! And that is, what Peace is.


Grant Your Peace Lord, I pray, upon those in the midst of conflict this Advent season; and indeed, in all seasons. But, there’s just something about the “Christmas” season that makes conflict more - conflicting during this time of the year.

I pray for those in genuine conflict - in battles, and in wars, with actual bullets and all too real blood-letting. I pray “Peace” Lord, knowing, that until You come again - there will be no real peace for this kind of war. So, until then, I pray “safety” instead…

I pray for those in figurative conflict - in battles for their minds and souls. I pray for those who know that “something” ought to be different. But what? And how? I pray “Peace” Lord, knowing, that “this” battle can be won, that guilt and “chains” can be removed. That all that is needed is for the word to be spread. Give me the words, Lord…

I pray for those in spiritual conflict - in battles where the war has already been won, and the prisoners set free, and all that is wanting is for the victory to be claimed…. I pray “Peace” Lord, knowing that they (we) just (sometimes) don’t realize it. Give them (us) Grace, Lord to see the Victory.

I pray “Peace” Lord at this Advent season - and all seasons of the year.


Father, I have such a sense of peace at this moment in my life. I am so thankful Lord for the gracious and precious gifts You’ve given me. Father, to see my children loving You and wanting to serve You is the most wonderful gift of all.

It is just a beginning, Lord. I understand that. They are young adults and don’t quite grasp the concept of “Lordship” yet, but God, what an answer to prayer and the “desires of my heart” to witness this - these first steps to be taken. I am so humbled, Lord.

Naturally, I don’t want to die Lord, but if my life was called away at this moment I would have to say that I have been given a lifetime’s worth of blessings already. I have a husband, that in his service to You, honors me, and children that love You. What more is there? There is no physical thing I want, no material thing that can compare to the overwhelming fullness I feel at this time.

Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that we have “arrived” - that from here on out everything will be “hunky-dory.” We live in a fallen world, I know that. Satan is still afforded the freedom of playing havoc on this world and all its inhabitants. But God! I know! YOU are GOD! And no matter what, YOU are in control. He can torment the body, but he cannot take the soul.

The victory’s been won, and my Jesus is Real!

Thank You, Precious Father. In Jesus’ Name - Amen.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Prayers 2006 (First Sunday in Advent)

Father, I lift up my heart to You at the “beginning” of this Christmas season. I say “beginning” as in “Church calendar” and not in terms of the marketplace - for in the marketplace, it has already been “Christmas” for a loooong time now…

Being a child of the 60’s, one of the first things that comes to mind is John Lennon’s song of “So this is Christmas, and what have we here…” and I think, “Yeah, what do we have here…?”

We have lists - shopping lists, grocery lists, “to-do” lists and an already “jam-packed to the gills” calendar filled with even more responsibilities.

As a business owner, I have customers depending on me for things on their shopping lists.

As a wife, and mother, I have family depending on me for - well, for being “Honey” and “Mom” and all that entails at any given point in their lives.

And, as a church-member and Sunday School teacher, I have “every time the doors are open” activities, that I’m expected to attend, lessons to prepare, and devotions to give.

But, as a woman, as Your child, I have… peace… yeah, I really do. As I think about it, and all the things I “have” to do in all the other areas of my life, I’m surprised that the word “peace” is what comes to my mind when I think of what I have as Your child…

This hasn’t always been so. And may not always be so, but at this time, in this place, right now I have peace. And I thank You for that, Father.


The first Sunday in Advent begins with the candle of “hope” and so, Father, I lift up those who feel they have no hope. You’ve created our bodies to survive for weeks without food, days without water, and minutes without air, but we cannot survive for a moment without hope.

How, Father, can we bring hope to a hopeless world? The song says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name…”

When the word “hope” is used in the Bible it doesn’t mean “wishing” it means “a certainty”. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” - not the essence of things that we wish would happen, but the very things of which we are certain…

And You Father, are the only One that brings that kind of hope.

And may I, as Your child, reflect that hope this Christmas season.


What a “time” of the year, Lord! No other season or “holiday” creates the conflict and convolution that Christmas does. No other date on the calendar produces more good will and more animosity all in one, than does this time of so-called “peace on earth”… Why is that Lord?

What is it about Christmas that makes it the most selfless and yet the most selfish time of the year? What makes it the most joyous and yet the most lonely, the most filling and yet the most emptying, the most loving and yet the most hateful time of the whole calendar year? Why Lord?

Is it… You… Lord? I suspect it is that whole “inner conflict” thing - that whole “good verses evil” thing, that “darkness verses light” war that has been raging ever since the garden -“both” gardens.... (Eden and Gethsemane!)

It’s always there, isn’t it, Lord? It just comes to the surface more when mankind is “forced” to look You right in the eye, as they are “when the baby cries” at Christmastime, and You “demand” that we either react, or respond…

God help us to respond.

In Jesus’ name - Amen.