One of the things I love about this time of year is the clean feeling I get that no matter how many times I failed myself in the past year, no matter how many times I missed a golden opportunity or failed to watch the sunrise, held back from speaking love and encouragement to someone, or quit too soon—the New Year beckons me to begin again.
Prayer is the quintessential “begin again” declaration. What sets it apart is that it doesn’t leave us to our own devices. When we pray, we bring God into the equation, and that makes all the difference in the world. Below are some examples:
Begin again with a new name like Jabez
“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” (1 Chronicles 14:10)
Begin again with fresh obedience like Jonah
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” (Jonah 2:8-9)
Begin again with a pure heart like David
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:10-12)
Begin again when you don’t know what to say
When we say a prayer, we are framing a new possibility in the sincerest of words. Yet so often, like a pauper coming before a King, we can often struggle to get the words out. Even then, the Holy Spirit is there to help us begin again, if we will but let Him.
“And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
Below is a marvelous musical tribute to the joy we all can experience each day when we begin again.