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Praying a word of the year can center us

Published: February 20, 2020   
Olivia Parker

The start of a new year signals the start of intentional goals that aim to revive and replenish the mind and soul. We are called to take this opening chapter as an opportunity to center our lives around the one thing that can truly refresh our souls, our Heavenly Father.

A simple way to do this is to choose a word to pray and focus on for the coming year. I came across this intention while listening to an Abiding Together podcast. Each year they reflect on their word from the past year and discover a new word.

A word of the year allows you to focus on one thing that you feel God is calling to start in your relationship with him. Your word can describe something you want to improve, for example listening or intimacy with God. The three women’s amazing and emotional experiences after focusing and reflecting on their words moved me to pick one for myself.

This past week I have reflected and prayed about my word of the year and what God is calling me to see. My desire for revival of faith and intimacy pushed me to pick the word “awake.” Inspired by the song “Awake My Soul” by Hillsong United, it motivates me to sleep no more in my faith and wake up from this sleep of numbness and complacency. In the song they sing “awake my soul and sing his praise aloud.” This caught my attention because it is clear and involves an action that I can apply to my own life. I want to be more aware of God’s presence in my life and rediscover the child-like curiosity for his love.

My desire for revival of faith and intimacy pushed me to pick the word “awake.”

We are called to action during this renewal of the year to start allowing God to move in amazing and simple ways within us. Open up and invite the newly born baby Jesus to prepare a place in your heart for growth and healing.

One speaker from the podcast, Sister Miriam James Heidland, describes in her reflection a newfound healing, even where she was unaware of wounds. This can give us an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the healing power of the Holy Spirit.

Words of the year are more of an intention rather than a goal, so encourage yourself to be more purposeful with your time instead of forcing a goal.

It can be as strict as you want it to be and is mostly for you to use as a jumping off point to launch yourself toward God. I encourage you to reflect and constantly remind yourself of the intimate call from God through your word.

In a quote by St. Teresa of Kolkata, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.”

This phrase is a great way to focus on the now and not become overwhelmed with the anxieties of the past or the stresses of the future. So let us begin the New Year with God as our intention.

Olivia Parker is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville. Immaculate Conception Church in North Little Rock is her home parish.

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