A hundred things happened in 2014, and then some.
Strikingly, it is through our Middle School Youth Group (MSYG) prayer requests that the 2014 world news has been most poignantly reflected back at me: a Malaysian flight lost over the ocean, 267 girls abducted in Nigeria, ISIS expanding across northern Iraq, a plane crash in Ukraine, the deaths of Robin Williams and Maya Angelou, protests in Ferguson, NFL heroes arrested for domestic violence, Pakistani children killed at school.
In MSYG, we pray for these, alongside math tests and social studies projects, a mom’s surgery and a sibling home with the flu. We pray the joyful news, too; for ALS Ice Bucket Challenges and the World Cup, a household obsession with Disney’s Frozen and a space craft landing on a comet, alongside prayers for Santa’s safe journey or a treasured family vacation, and gratitude for a new pen pal or a new puppy.
Every year holds room for all these prayers and more, whether you are age 11 or 101. On the cusp of a new year, it is our common practice to look back and to look forward, to stand in awe of the year that has passed and to bow prayerfully to God as yet another year unfolds.
Consider reading Ecclesiastes 3 or Psalm 8 as an entryway into a New Year’s prayer. What have been your 2014 prayers? What will be your hopeful 2015 prayer? Make a list, write it down, tell someone, whisper it softly to God alone, or like Jesus’ mother Mary, ponder it all in your heart.
Many blessings in this New Year.
Rev. Katie Snipes Lancaster
Associate Minister of Youth and Families