Happy New Year 2014

While waiting for midnight, I came across an article about New Year’s resolutions in The Atlantic Monthly, Before Everyone Resolved to Lose Weight: Meaningful Resolutions of Yore:

So, what did people resolve before we had the scourge of cellulite and the temptation of McRib to stir us to action?

The answer: just to be a better person, apparently. Resolutions from the early 20th century ranged from swearing less, to having a more cheerful disposition, to recommitting to God.

John H. Vincent (b. 1832 – d. 1920) was an American Methodist Episcopal bishop. I can’t make out whether the copyright is from 1900 or 1909. (The Atlantic attributes the image Wikimedia Commons, but I could not find it there). The earliest reference that I could find to this prayer was in the “A Thought a Day” column from the February 8, 1908 edition of The WestminsterIt is reprinted later that year in the December 26 edition, and described as “a more than ordinarily good resolution for every day of the new year…”

On April 16, 1917 a longer form of the prayer — now named “A Morning Resolve” — appeared on the cover of the Melbourne newspaper Signs of the Times:



I then found this adaptation by Tom Asmus published on January 19, 2013 in the Meditations section of Generosity Monk:

“I will try this day to live a simple, sincere, and serene life; repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a child-like trust in God.

In particular, I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep, which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right.

And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

I like this version the best and plan to make some prints to keep handy and help me remain mindful of the message.

Thank you, Mr. Asmus. God bless.


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