SERMON TITLE: “Renewing Our Resolutions: Prayers”
SERMON TEXT: James 5:13-18
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: January 2, 2022, at First UMC
Well, here we are, at the start of a new year. Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Are you ready to lose 10 pounds, start exercising again, and balance your budget? I know. Some of us think New Year’s resolutions are pointless because we’ll probably abandon them by March, or February, or next week. But there really is something about getting a new calendar that allows us to start fresh and begin again. This New Year’s opportunity can launch us into making changes that we may have been thinking about for a long time, but just needed a little extra motivation to get going. While one university study “found that 23% of people quit working on their resolution just two weeks into the new year,”1 another study shows that “those who set New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to actually change their behavior than people who don’t make these yearly goals.”2 So, with the powerful benefits of what researchers call “the fresh start effect,”2 I hope we can make some positive improvements to our lives in the coming weeks and months.
Along with the physical, financial, and relational health resolutions we may have been considering, in these first five weeks of the New Year, I’m also going to ask us to commit ourselves to improving our spiritual health. Ever since the time of John Wesley in the 1700s, it’s been customary for Methodist people to renew their spiritual covenant at the start of a new year. So, each Sunday in January, we’re going to focus our attention on one of the vows persons make when they join the United Methodist Church. Throughout this month, I will challenge you and me to renew our resolve to participate faithfully in the ministries of our church by our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Today we begin with prayers.