A New Year’s Day Prayer

“On 1 January 1745 and on almost every New Year’s Day thereafter, Dr. Johnson composed a prayer for himself. He did this in the small hours, and although he was normally a speedy writer he seems to have taken two or three hours over these little prayers.

Almighty God, by whose mercy my life has been yet prolonged to another year, grant that thy mercy may not be vain. Let not my years be multiplied to increase my guilt, but as age advances, let me become more pure in my thoughts, more regular in my desires, & more obedient to thy laws. Let not the cares of the world distract me, nor the evils of age overwhelm me. But continue and increase thy loving kindness towards me, and when thou shalt call me hence, receive me to everlasting happiness, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

(The Time of the Spirit: Readings Through the Christian Year, p 82)