Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Turning Sixty

I turned 60 over this Christmas season. Beth and I visited our daughter in Japan during the season, and so the birthday was a part of an overall "epic" time of family and travel.

Last year, we visited Miami for a professional conference, and I was pleased to start the year at the beach http://paulstroble.blogspot.com/2016/01/starting-year-at-beach-woot.html I'm chagrined that the travel-related phobias I suffered at the time were the same as this year. My main resolution for 2017 is to address these kinds of fears more definitively.

Beth is already well along into her sixties, and we do think ahead to aspects of this period of our lives. Will our health stay good? When should we retire? (if ever: we do love our work) Where should we live? How will our daughter's schooling and career meanwhile proceed? We offer these and other questions and issues to the Lord for ongoing guidance and help.

It's a new year for all of us, so let's pray together:

Dear Lord, the Bible speaks of the circles of repentance: the ways we stray, backslide, return, stray, return, and through it all, you are always faithful. You are our keeper, our place of protection, our source of strength.

Whatever are the circles of our individual lives, we ask for your blessings for the upcoming year.

We pray that we may be spared from sickness and bad trouble.

We pray for times of happiness that make for longtime memories.

We pray for the well-being of our families, our friends, the people we know on social media, the people with whom we work, and the people who work in the stores we frequent.

We pray for success in our ventures and projects, but also we pray to seek first your righteousness, for even pursuing goals in your service, we might gain the world but lose our souls.

Help us to be faithful and busy instead of just busy.

Help us to find a "style" of spirituality and daily cross-bearing that gives us a sense of joy and anticipation, rather than being a chore we dread.

We pray for opportunities to reconcile and start fresh with people whom we have hurt or who have hurt us.

You are a God of new beginnings and innumerable new chances. But so often we struggle with things we cannot quite relinquish: difficult feelings, regret, betrayal, grudges and sorrow. We even grow a sense of personal identity around such negative things. We pray for your healing and awakening insight.

We pray that we might be kind and thoughtful to one another, to be sensitive to other people's unspoken pain, to be empathetic and supportive.

We pray for opportunities for service that make other people's lives better.

We pray for our governments and our politics, for there is much about our world today that is distressing, troubling, and dangerous.

Help us to stay aware of problems in the world and the sufferings of others. Rather than thinking "'they' are always fighting" and "'they' are always in poverty" and "'they' are always on welfare", give us a new sense that we are all in this together.

We speak informally of things like luck, fate, jinxes, "trouble happens in threes," and karma. We don’t always stop to think that, since you are our our Lord, we are not subject to such things! You care for us and guide us across our short years.

Help us in the times ahead that these are seasons of our lives across which you provide. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

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