To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1 Pet. 1:1-2
Gracious Father, early into 2013, we praise you for the gift of community—for your placing us in a forever family of sisters and brothers. It’s a tremendous joy to begin this New Year together in Christ—adopted by your grace, shaped by the gospel, and indwelt by the Spirit. Bring much glory to yourself as you transform us and liberate us for your redeeming purposes, in the coming months.
Show us how to more fully engage with our corporate calling as your beloved people. None of us can do without the other. You’ve given gifts to each of us for the benefit of others; even our brokenness, weaknesses and burdens are not our own. They too are to be shared. Yet our selfishness, and the busyness and drivenness of our culture, conspire to make it easy for us to think only of ourselves. But the gospel contradicts all such isolated and independent living.
You chose us by your foreknowledge, redeemed us by your Son, and set us apart by your Spirit to demonstrate the reconciling and redeeming power of the gospel, in our cities and among the nations of the world. Indeed, you’ve called us to live as strangers in this world, not as strange people. If there’s to be anything offensive about us, may it only be the gospel of your grace.
Renew our churches and help us plant new churches which make the gospel beautiful and believable. May we live as good citizens of heaven and the cities where you’ve placed us. May our neighbors be glad we are among them. Help us to offer a meaningful glimpse of the future we share because the gospel is true.
Lord Jesus, it’s only because you were obedient to death—even death upon the cross—that we can offer back an obedience of grateful faith. Live and love, in us and through us, all year long to your glory. Be magnified in our hearts, revealed in our cities, and revered among the nations of the world. So very Amen we pray, with great anticipation, in your most worthy name.