Near Year’s Eve is a night I like to stay home. The nights of going out and partying to bring in the New Year have long since passed. In recent years I have made a commitment to spend more time in prayer on this particular night. There are many things for which I can pray in addition to safety for all of the revelers. Here is a sampling of what I will be bringing before God on New Year’s Eve.
First of all, I will come before God with praise and thanksgiving. Although 2016 has certainly had its moments of struggle there have been numerous blessings as well. Thus, it is time to give thanks for family, friends, shelter, food, clothing, a job, access to healthcare when my heart went into atrial fibrillation, and a whole list of other material goods that we have the opportunity to enjoy. I thank God for the gift of faith and a beautiful Church in which to grow in appreciation of that gift.
There are always particular celebrations that are to be remembered in gratitude when reflecting over the last year. Wedding anniversaries are something to be thankful for regardless of the year. Margaret and I celebrated 28 years together this year. Anniversaries of other events are also a time for praise and thanksgiving. In 2016 it was 30 years since I was diagnosed with cancer the first time and 15 years since the second time. It has also been 13 years since my open heart surgery. these milestones remind me to be grateful for the gift of good health.
I am particularly grateful this year for the prompting of the Holy Spirit to spur me on to finally develop the discipline to finish writing my book. Completing the manuscript in August and submitting it to the publisher on August 22, the day on which the Church celebrates the Memorial of the Queenship of Mary, was indeed a wonderful moment. The editing, proofreading, and the other elements of getting a book published has been a tremendous learning experience. The book is being printed now and I should have copies in a week or two at the latest. I will be able to do some pre-release gatherings before the official release on February 28, 2017.
There are plenty of intercessions to be offered as well. It seems like there is never a shortage of people to pray for and concerns to be brought before the foot of the cross. Here are some of my petitions for this New Year’s Eve.
I pray for all church leadership—the pope, bishops, priests, deacons, religious, and all lay leaders striving to proclaim the Good News of Salvation in their respective roles. Fill them with zeal, energy, hope, integrity, courage, perseverance, and a genuine love for God’s people. As the Diocese of Cheyenne is currently without a bishop, I pray in particular that the Holy Spirit is already welling up within the man who will be our next bishop.
I pray for all who bear the name of Christian—may each of us live our lives in such a way that we truly bear witness to Jesus Christ.
I pray for all who do not know Jesus Christ—may they come to encounter the living God through the faithful witness of those who believe and follow in the footsteps of Christ.
I pray for all government leaders worldwide—may they govern with wisdom, prudence, and integrity as guided by the Holy Spirit. Specifically, I pray for our incoming president and vice president, the current U.S. Supreme Court Justices and any to be appointed, the U.S. Senators and Representatives, Cabinet Officials, ambassadors, and all appointees who wield power and influence.
I pray for all local government officials as well—the governors, lieutenant governors, secretaries of state, treasurers, auditors, senators, representatives, judges, mayors, city administrators, council men and women, sheriffs, and all appointees who wield power and influence in any way. May each of them carry out their duties with diligence, prudence, wisdom, and integrity.
I pray for who are struggling in any way. I pray for those whose hearts are broken due to relationships falling apart. May the shattered hopes and dreams eventually be pieced back together in renewed spirit and vigor.
I pray for the incarcerated and all of their families--may they find strength, hope, healing, and conversion.
I pray for the homeless—may they find shelter in the immediate circumstances and eventually obtain a safe haven that is more permanent.
I pray for the unemployed and the underemployed—may all who seek gainful employment be successful in their endeavors.
I pray for all those suffering from physical illness—may they experience healing, comfort, and peace through the mercy of the Divine Physician.
I pray for all those suffering from mental illness and emotional issues—may they find solace and healing from the support and encouragement of loved ones. May they also experience beneficial help from the medical community and the healing touch of our Lord.
I pray for all who are depressed, especially those contemplating suicide—may they reach out and get the help they need to cope with the current circumstances and be led to healing and wholeness in the love of Jesus Christ.
I pray for all those who are home-bound, in hospitals, nursing homes, and under the care of hospice—may they experience genuine love from those who care for their needs.
I pray for the terminally ill—may they find comfort in the love of family and friends and eternal hope in the embrace of Jesus Christ who is Lord forever and ever.
I pray for all those suffering from addictions. Through God's grace, the help of others, and a definitive purpose to be set free, may each of you truly experience the freedom you desire.
I pray for all those family members who care for loved ones who are suffering—may God fill you with patience, fortitude, and strength.
I pray for all who are grieving the death of a loved one—may you find comfort and peace in the warm embrace of God’s love and the care and concern of other family and friends.
I pray for the safety of all travelers.
I pray for our law enforcement personnel and other first responders—may they be protected at all times, but especially on this particular night which generally adds to the stress level of their positions. Give each of them keen insight and awareness, quick reflexes and solid judgments, and bring them safely back to their families at the end of their shift.
I pray for all who are coping with natural disasters.
I pray for our culture—may we turn back to God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.
I pray that we may be aware of the sacred dignity and value of each human life from conception through natural death. May we build a true culture of life in our society.
I pray for all couples preparing for marriage and those who are newly married—may their future children draw them closer to Christ and to each other.
I pray for all children who will be born today—may they may come to know a world which chooses life over death and light over darkness.
I pray for all little children who await the birth of a new sister or brother—may the joyful expectation that shows in their eyes inspire their parents to hope and conviction.
I pray for obstetrical doctors and nurses and all who nurture the life of children in the womb--may God bless them for their faith, compassion, and love.
I pray for all who have been scarred by the tragedy of abortion—may they experience repentance, healing, and peace.
I pray for all people who work in the media—may God move them to a conversion of heart which reverences human life and upholds the dignity of human sexuality.
I pray for those who march for life in Washington, D.C. and all across the nation each January—may their voices be heard and the lives of children be saved.
I pray for all those trapped in human trafficking—may they be set free from the bondage they are in and society effectively address the needs of the vulnerable among us.
I pray for the refugees and all persecuted Christians—may they find safety and security from those who want to do them harm.
I pray for all who have died this past year. May they rest in God's eternal dwelling.
I pray for peace throughout the world.
Finally, I pray for myself. Lord, please help me to grow in wisdom and in favor with You in 2017. Give me Your grace and Your blessing that I may root out sin from my life and join my will more completely to Your Divine Will. Dear Lord, make me holy as you are holy!
If you have specific prayer requests that you would like included in my list of intentions, please mention them in the comment section and I will certainly add your petitions to my list. If it is a private request that you don't want everyone to see, feel free to e-mail it to me at:
I have posted this blog entry on the 30th to allow time for feedback so I can have the petitions all gathered by the evening of the 31st.
Please know of my gratitude for each of you who hold me up in prayer. Your kindness is truly appreciated.
Have a Blessed and Holy 2017!
Sincerely in Christ,