Five Prayers to Create Space for God to Move in the New Year

At the end of every year, expectations run high as to what the new year holds. We want to work out more, eat less, and finally focus on that dream we keep putting off. Before we know it, the calendar fills with plans and expectations, yet sometimes, we don’t stop to ask God what He desires for us. So, as we approach the new year, let us position our hearts with these five prayers, seek to hold plans loosely, and create space for God to move.

Prayer: God, show me what I need to say no to so that I can say yes to You.

There is no better way to create space for God to move than being mindful of our yeses and nos. Before we say yes to sporting events, kids’ activities, and travel plans, I wonder what it might look like for us to hold our commitments before God first in prayer. We may be tempted to think that God is not interested in the details of our calendar, but if we use our calendar as a reason to neglect connecting with Him more, that is probably not a true assumption.

In Ephesians 5:15, Paul encourages us to walk wisely, making the best use of our time. So, to prepare our hearts well for the new year, let us go to God first and allow His word to serve as a filter for our yeses and our noes. Ask Him to give you insight and wisdom as you discern your way forward, trusting His guidance along the way.

Prayer: God, help me rest in the fact that You are in control even when things feel out of control.

Whether with pretty paper calendars or simple electronic calendars, we attempt to plan our days down to the minute. While this organization can bring a sense of control, it’s important to recognize the illusion of absolute control. Life has a way of throwing curveballs that we could never anticipate.

Rather than resist these changes, learning to hold plans loosely enables us to adapt more gracefully to a gracious God who is “in all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Remembering that the One who holds the universe holds each one of us ushers in rest even during the most turbulent of seasons. Ask the Prince of Peace Himself to grant you peace amidst the constantly changing circumstances.

Prayer: God, remind me of the freedom I have when my plans are surrendered to Your purposes.

We are tempted to believe freedom is only found when we live according to our desires and plans, but scripture reminds us that true freedom is found in surrendering to God’s purposes above all. Surrendering plans doesn’t mean abandoning goals or dreams; instead, it involves approaching them with open hands, confident God will fulfill His purposes for each of us (Psalm 138:8).

Surrendering expectations also provides the freedom to explore new opportunities that God may be presenting in our lives. Even when plans change, God is working. So, ask God to help point out what area holds your tightest grip, and by the power of the Spirit, allow Him to help you live with open hands. Then watch how God chooses to work it all for your ultimate good and His ultimate glory.

Prayer: God, create in me a new heart—one that values Your timing over my own and trusts in Your wisdom above all else.

When we live with open hands, we not only acknowledge the Lordship of Christ in all areas of our lives but also reduce anxiety associated with the fear of the unknown. Instead of fixating on a specific outcome, we are invited to “lean not on our own understanding” in the face of uncertainty (Proverbs 3:5-6) because the truth is no one “knows what tomorrow will bring” (James 4:15).

I’m reminded of how long the Israelites wandered the wilderness, waiting for a permanent home. They grumbled and grasped for other idols rather than trusting in the wisdom of the one true God. Then, Abraham and Sara, longing for an answered prayer, decided to take things into their own hands rather than trusting in the timing of their covenant God. So, ask God to help you view this new year differently, praying for a heart that trusts His good and perfect timing.

Prayer: God, help me remain present with eyes open to see how You are working in me each day.

Holding plans loosely encourages us to be more present and mindful of how God wants to work in and through us each day. By releasing the need for everything to go according to our plan, we can appreciate the richness of the present, whether it aligns with our expectations or not. We are free to release our most profound desires because of the character of the God to whom we release our desires.

Comparison tempts us to become blind to the ways God is working. I love the prayer Elisha prays over the young man in 2 Kings 17, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” Since our faith is believing that which we can’t see tangibly, ask God to open your eyes to see your days through a lens of faith. Remember how God has moved in the past and trust Him with your future by living in the present and wide awake.

In a world that often encourages us to control and plan every aspect of our lives, holding our plans with open hands invites God to occupy our everyday lives. By releasing our grip on the outcome of our plans, we position our hearts to make room for how God wants to work. So, this new year, ask God to help you move forward, creating space for Him to move in your life in a fresh way. Embrace the unknowns, discover freedom through surrender, and rest in the goodness of your Father.

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