Ever wonder about this idea of wishing people a happy new year? In France, “best wishing” is very important. The first time you see someone after New Year’s you have to say “bonne année” often followed by “best wishes and above all, good health.” I’ve been asking students about this on campus. What good does it really do to verbalize such things? For some it’s just being polite, for others it expresses their attachment to someone or simply that they care. They all agree that it’s tied to some kind of hope for the future.  I’ve asked these same students if they ever pray and they’ve all said that they never do.

But what is prayer? Simply talking to God, of course. But when you think about this idea of verbalizing your wishes in the hope that it might make a difference in the future it’s not all that different from prayer. We seem to know there is power in the spoken word – I love you, I forgive you, I care for you – all express something intangible yet powerful and important. Spoken to one another they weave the fabric of relationship, an ephemeral but invaluable commodity (imagine facebook without relationship).

God can hear prayers spoken only in our minds, but I really prefer to pray out loud. God could have thought the world into existence, but instead he spoke. Jesus’ words “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” or “Lazarus, come out!” were plainly powerful. John calls God’s Son – the Word. How sad it is when something moves within us and we stay silent. Silence isn’t always golden.

Today, look for opportunities to say something, to bless, encourage or impart hope. Pray, because it does make a difference. Oh, and happy New Year!