At the beginning of a New Year – this is a good time to reflect on both the past as well as the future. The best way to move forward is to look back at our lives, examining where we failed and learning to truly repent (turn around). I found this prayer (part of the confession in a Presbyterian liturgy) very moving, challenging and helpful:
God, my Father.
You asked for my hands, that you might use them for your purpose. I gave them for a moment, then withdrew them, for the work was hard, inconvenient, and mundane. You asked for my mouth to speak out against injustice. I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused of being aligned with the wrong party or ideology. You asked for my eyes to see the pain of poverty. I closed them, for I did not want to see, choosing instead to believe the myth that all that really tried would be fine financially. You asked for my life, that you might work through me for your glory. I gave a small part that I might not get too involved, because I am busy.
Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you—only when it is convenient for me to do so, only in those places where it is safe to do so, and only with those who make it easy to do so.
Father, forgive me, renew me, send me out as a useable instrument, that I might take seriously the meaning of the gospel.
For your Son Jesus’ sake, who withheld nothing.