A Different Kind of Word-of-the-Year

Many of us these days are naming the new year with a word unique to our season, desires, or goals for 2020. Maybe you know your word already, or not, or don’t subscribe to the trend – here’s another way to approach a guiding sentiment for the new year. 

What if you asked God: 
Who do You want to be for me this year?

…and the name He reveals is the Word. Not just an idea, but an aspect of the very nature of God brought near to us. Asked another way: Lord, what aspect of Your nature do you desire to show me during this next season? 

Perhaps your word already does this. FOR EXAMPLE, the word “Peace.” How beautiful it is that Peace is a Person: Jesus, our Prince of Peace. Considering the banner of Peace over your year, perhaps adding this dimension of God Himself will enrich it further. 

God, who do You want to be for me this year? 

Peace. I am Peace; I am your Peace. I want to show you more of what My nature of Peace looks like in you, through you, around you. I can’t wait to pour out over you my peace that passes understanding. I am a God of peace. True peace is only found in Me. In Me – the Prince of Peace – you live and move and have your being. When you seek peace, you are actually seeking Me! In My presence, there is peace. I invite you to become better acquainted with this part of my nature, to notice, study, seek My Peace (not the peace the world gives) and let it become even more a part of your nature, so that everywhere you go, so goes My peace. 

I love how this raises our sights to God Himself, above our own interpretation of what we think “peace” will look like this year, or why we want it. So whenever we think of our word of the year, we’re thinking about God Himself. This could be good, huh? I’m going to give it a try this year and see how it goes.

This practice could also be in tandem with or addition to a word you’ve already chosen.

If you’d like to join me, here’s a sample prayer and a couple of ideas on how to hold the space while you hone in on the word. Of course these are only suggestions; feel free to approach this concept in your own way! A list of the names of God is included at the bottom.

How to Pray for Your Word of the Year

1.  Find a quiet place. Make yourself comfortable. Take several deep breaths and settle into the moment. Attune to the presence of God. Take your time. Trust that He is right here with you, and He loves you, and wants to reveal Himself to you.

2.  Pray something like this:  

Lord, you know what my year holds, and what I will need. You have plans to take care of me, and you are eager to show me more of who you are. There is always more to experience in you, God. I long to know you more. I want to embrace everything You have for me in the coming year. I want to receive Your best for me. 

So God, considering this year ahead, I ask you: Who do you want to be for me this year? What part of your heart have you been planning to reveal to me in a deeper way? Is there an aspect of your nature that you’ve been wanting to show me?

3. Listen. Remain in a quiet and listening posture, and notice if any words, pictures, or senses arise. Continue to wait before the Lord and allow Him to clarify any sense of a word you receive.  You may also want to look through a list of the names of God, which I’ve included below.

4. Ask for confirmation. If you have a fairly clear sense of the word, ask God to confirm it over the next several days, and remain open to anything else He might want to show you. Don’t limit Him to just the one word, either! Who knows what He has waiting for you this year, and who He wants to be for you!

5. Keep noticing. If nothing really comes to you, don’t worry about it. It’s good to take time – days or even weeks – and be open to God gradually speaking to you. As you go about your days, continue to voice your desires to the Lord, and pay attention to anything that seems to be highlighted. If you’re holding several words, use this same process to hone in. (This is currently where I’m at. Yesterday I saw the word “power” on a familiar sign and found myself looking at it longer than I normally do. I took note of that, I’m holding it loosely, and continue to ask and wait.)

6. Hold it close. As your word becomes clear, pursue God within it. Begin studying this part of God’s character in the Word. Call Him by that name sometimes when you pray. Continue to ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Let God guide you as you seek to know Him more. Do not feel obligated to share this journey with the world. And don’t be surprised if situations arise this year that make Him seem like the opposite. You probably already know that this is the very invitation circumstances provide for us, to see the way God sees, which is so very different than the way the world sees. 

If you move forward with this practice, I truly hope it’s a rich experience for you. Perhaps we can swap stories later this year!

Here’s a one-page printable list* of the names of God:

The Names of God


*This list is by no means exhaustive. I gleaned from these sites:






5 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Word-of-the-Year

  1. Thank you! What a wonderful practice! I sensed God had given me a word, but hadn’t added the deeper aspect of how He wants to show me Himself in that word.


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