The beginning of 2021 is now upon us, and, in light of all we have faced in the past year, I know we have been waiting in anticipation for the potential of what this year could bring. For me, New Year’s has never been that significant or exciting, apart from the excuse to eat junk food and spend time with family and friends. I definitely never put much spiritual importance on the holiday. Last year, however, I experienced a different kind of New Year celebration.
In Kenya, Christians observe Kesha, ringing in the New Year through worship and prayer. This celebration typically begins in the evening on New Year’s Eve and goes on until morning. As a short-term team participant, I had the honor of participating in a portion of Kesha with the congregation of Christ at Work Ministries’ Church in Limuru, Kenya.
Upon entering the church, the worship had already begun. We went from dancing and clapping to spreading our arms out wide in reverent worship. It was truly a beautiful sight to see God’s children worshipping Him with such abandon and passion. As someone who connects deeply to God through music, I felt enveloped in His love as we sang of His goodness.
I listened as men and women in the church lifted up prayers of adoration and gratefulness for all that God had done in 2019. We collectively prayed that our hearts would be comforted and our sins confessed, trusting that God is faithful to forgive. We prayed for 2020, not having any knowledge of what was to come-prayers of peace, revival, and abundance. We prayed confidently, believing that God would fulfill His promises to His people.
At midnight, we made as much noise as we possibly could, proclaiming joy over this new season.
As I reflect back now, it is easy to be discouraged by all that was lost in this past year, which is a significant and sobering reality. But in this new year especially, I’m challenged to remember that we serve a God worthy of worship in the midst of victory and tragedy.
I feel as though I often forget the power of worship and prayer. The ability to come before the throne of God in any place at any time should not be taken lightly. Allowing space to be reminded of who God is as we step into “unknown territory” results in confidence and trust, because we know He is constant.
We can confidently expect that God will show up-almost always in ways we could never imagine. This is something that my friends in Kenya have taught me time and time again. Their trust in the Lord inspires me to pray boldly and to have audacious hope.
Although New Year’s Day is behind us, I encourage you to remember the unchanging nature of our Heavenly Father each day going forward. I challenge you to take some time to come before Him in bold worship and prayer over this year, because He is still working. May our hearts be open to the new things He is already bringing about.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. -Isaiah 43:19