I spent my first Monday morning Sabbath of the new year reading, praying, writing, and drawing my way through the first part of Jan Richardson’s retreat for Women’s Christmas. I commend the retreat to you–men and women alike.
If you would like to pray your own traced hand prayer for the new year, here are some guidelines to follow as closely or loosely as you like:
- Get out a piece of paper, pen, colored pencils, and a Bible.
- Breathe deeply and open yourself up to the movement of the Spirit. Prayerfully become aware of your deepest hopes and anxieties for the year ahead.
- Trace your hand onto your paper.
- Inside the hand, write about the hopes that are most energizing for you and the anxieties that weigh most heavily on your heart as you face the months ahead. (You might write a coherent paragraph, several sentences, or just words and phrases.)
- Use the colored pencils to color in the hand as you offer these hopes and anxieties to God in prayer.
- Choose a scripture passage that speaks to you as you face the year ahead. I chose Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge God and God will direct your paths.” Some other verses that might resonate:
- John 14:27–”Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.”
- Romans 12:2–”Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is. God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
- Deuteronomy 30:19–”I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.”
- Write the words of the scripture–all of them or some of them, exact words or paraphrases–around your hand. I repeated the scripture until I had filled up all of the space on my paper.
- Set your hand inside the traced hand and receive God’s promise to you for the months ahead. Simply sit for awhile and bask in God’s presence within and surrounding you.
Another practice I often enjoy at the beginning of a new year is to make a new prayer journal.
However you enter into this new year, I pray you will know the deep blessing of the Holy One who is your Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Amen.