Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that all my thoughts may be holy.
Act in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.
– Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Augustine, bishop of Hippo in what is now Algeria, is one of the most influential figures in all of church history. He was a theological giant whose teachings are considered foundational by Protestants and Catholics alike. His prayer quoted above seems to me to be a fitting one to start off the new year. Though it is short, it clearly expresses a strong desire to please God in every area of life, both in attitude and in action. It also expresses a clear recognition that we cannot do this on our own, but must depend on the Holy Spirit to accomplish this in and through us.
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
– 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
– John 15:5 (NLT)
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won?t be doing what your sinful nature craves… But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit?s leading in every part of our lives.
– Galatians 5:16, 22-25 (NLT)