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A New Year's Prayer

A lonely New Year's Eve becomes a night of prayer and reflection.

By Scott Walker, Waco, Texas


Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. —PSALM 90:1–2

It's New Year's Eve.

My wife Beth is accompanying twelve Baylor University students on a study abroad program in Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. My oldest son Drew and his fiancee Katie Alice are traveling in India. My youngest son Luke is teaching English in Bangkok. And my daughter Jodi is driving from Texas to school in South Carolina. I'm at home in Waco, with four golden retrievers to help me greet the new year.

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It's more than a little disconcerting to have my family scattered all over the world. I'm lonely; worry about my family's safety has my anxiety level spiking. Like so many on the threshold of a new year, I face change in my life, an uncertain future and the dawning awareness that a chapter of life is closing for good. In an uncertain world I yearn for stability and predictability.

I find myself spontaneously humming a tune. It's a hymn, with words written by Isaac Watts three hundred years ago. I know of no better hymn to sing to bring us through the promise and the challenge of the coming year.

            O God, our help in ages past,

            Our hope for years to come,

            Our shelter from the stormy blast,

            And our eternal home.

Father, You have been through every year of my life to sustain me and supply my needs. Stay by my side as my loving Shepherd as we walk through this new year together.