A Prayer as 2017 Ends

As 2017 winds to a close, I pause to ponder the blessings God has given me in 2017. I retired from a military career that last several years longer than I dreamed when I began. While that career took twists and turns that brought me disappointment and pain (both physical and emotional) as well as fulfilling travel, challenging ministry, and rewarding friendships, having done it continues to make it possible for me to preach and teach the gospel while providing for my family. I worked alongside Christians whom I love more every day in a town that has captured my imagination since I first visited it in 2001. Leading a Call for Fire Seminar for the congregation this past August helped us all to grow in awareness and appreciation of God’s power and love. My wife encourages and challenges me with her own love for God and his Word, making sure that I approach my task with a confident humility. Her own formal study of the Bible equips her both to “keep me honest” and to challenge me to reconsider long-held traditions. We traveled to Wyoming and South Dakota this year, the first time either of us had visited those states. I drove down a nine percent decline on an icy mountain road with laser focus because she was in the passenger seat. My children and grandchildren brought me great joy; they inspire me to grow in maturity and faith so that I can help them navigate their pilgrimage of faith. For the first time in twenty-five years, I had the liberty to grow a beard (Little things can mean a lot!).

As this year draws to a close, why are you praising and thanking God? Who has inspired you? Who have you mentored? What challenges have almost broken you, but somehow have strengthened your character and resolve?

The concluding words of Psalm 118 begin my prayer as 2017 ends:

“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 118:28-29).

O Lord, I sing because you give me voice. I live because you give me breath. I love because you first loved me. Thank you for the people you have brought into my life to inspire and challenge me this year. Thank you for helping me find open doors when walls seemed impenetrable. Thank you for this world you have given us to inhabit and cultivate to your honor. Thank you for my wife, and our family. Thank for a congregation and a community that help me discern your will and your vision. Thank you for helping me survive a past that equips me for the future works you have prepared for me to do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

About Michael Summers

Michael Waymon Summers has preached in twenty-seven of the United States as well as seven other countries. Michael earned a Master of Theology degree. He also has done graduate work in international studies. Michael likes to run, loves to sing, and reads voraciously.
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