Eternal God of each present moment,
we come before you at the turning of another year
with diverse emotions and tentative hope.
The past and the future meet in this day,
and lay themselves before us for prayerful pondering.
As we look back over the last year,
we see in our lives, and in the lives of those we love,
that most human combination of joy and sorrow,
love and loss, laughter and tears.
And so we hold before you now those whom you bring to our minds:
loved ones we have lost, and loved ones we have discovered;
friends who have suffered, and friends who have rejoiced;
those who have borne burdens, and those who have found release.
And we trust that you have been present to all these our varied experiences of life,
drawing all things together in your great love.
As we look to the coming year,
we offer you our hopes and our dreams, our resolution and our resolve;
and yet we recognize that despite our best efforts,
we will not be the people you have called us to be.
But we hold to the hope that by your grace
we will be the people you have created us to be.
And so we pray for the uncertainty of tomorrow,
and we trust that you will be present with us whatever the future may hold,
as you draw all things together in your great love.
But most of all, we turn our prayers to the needs of this day,
because yesterday is gone and cannot be changed,
and tomorrow will bring enough worries of its own.
So we pray for the world to which you have come in Christ Jesus,
bringing forgiveness where there is guilt,
and new life where there is suffering and death.
We commit to your loving care all those who face tomorrow with no hope,
because their situation today is hopeless.
And we think particularly of refugees, asylum seekers,
and all people displaced by war or climate change.
Renew in us a concern for the weak and vulnerable,
and give us courage:
to speak up for the voiceless,
to speak out against violence in all its forms,
and to speak of the necessity to care for all creation.
We pray for those who have the authority to effect change on a global scale,
for politicians and business leaders,
for the rich and the powerful, the articulate and the influential.
May they be given the gift of empathy,
and the courage to use their power for the good of the many, and not just the few.
Renew in us a passion for change, and an unwillingness to acquiesce.
Give us the courage to take action
against powers that coerce and control,
and may we learn to be wise
in the ways we speak and act as we seek to play our part
in the coming of your kingdom of love, justice, and peace.
We pray for our church, for your gathered people in this place;
we thank you for one another, in all our glorious diversity,
and we recommit ourselves to each other as sisters and brothers in Christ.
We pray for those who have come through the doors of this building over the last years,
from actors and celebrities to the homeless and the vulnerable.
We pray for all those who have joined us in worship,
visitors from around the globe, bringing greetings from your worldwide family.
We pray for those who have left our fellowship,
and for those who have joined it.
May we know, today, who we are created to be,
and may we learn what it is to be true to the calling you have placed on us.
Help us to love each other,
to welcome new people with kindness,
to serve one another with grace,
and to forgive one another with sincerity.
May our church, over the coming year,
be a place of safety for those who are vulnerable,
and a place of challenge for those who are comfortable.
May we be a community of inclusion for those who are excluded,
and a community of defiance for those who would exclude.
May we be humble in the face of our own failings,
but bold in the face of those who fail others.
May we be your people, in this place, at this time,
created by you and called to live lives of courageous love.