A Prayer for the New Year

The Puritans, persecuted for their faith in Christ, risked the rigors of travel to the "New World" where they might all have died without the help of the native people with whom they enjoyed mutual friendship.

(The painting doesn't fit with New Year, I recognize, but depicts one of the Puritan gifts to those who would receive it - the posture and day of Thanksgiving.) 

While the austerity of their devotion to Christ has been criticised by those opposed to their essential ideals, the Puritans gave much to society as a whole in their seeking of a more godly community.

Jonathan Edwards became one of the best known Puritans as one of the leaders of the Great Awakening.


Length of days does not profit me

Except the days are passed in Thy presence, in Thy service to Thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains

    Sanctifies, aids every hour,

That I might not be one moment apart from Thee,

But may rely on thy Spirit

To supply every thought,

    Speak every word,

    Direct every step,

    Prosper every work,

    Build up every mote of faith,

And give me a desire

To show forth Thy praise,

    Testify Thy love,

    Advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,

    With Thee, O Father, as my harbour,

    Thee O Son, at my helm,

    Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,

    My lamp burning,

    My ear open to thy calls,

    My heart full of love, my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,

    Thy comforts to cheer me,

    Thy wisdom to teach,

    Thy right hand to guide,

    Thy counsel to instruct,

    Thy law to judge,

Thy presence to stabilize.

    May Thy fear1 be my awe,

    Thy triumphs my joy.

From: Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

1 "fear" was used in this era to mean "awesome respect" for God's person, power and majesty.

Other favourite prayers