What Is Your Word for 2017?

prayerworks star-word


For the third year in a row, I am choosing a word for the year. The word is designed to set my intention for the year, to focus my prayers, guide me in my daily life, and deepen my relationship with God. My friend, Christine Schlink Stanton, first inspired me to choose a word. Since then I’ve read more about the practice from Christine Valters Paintner, and have witnessed many other friends doing it. Some folks call this an Epiphany or Star Word, since the word is meant to guide you in the same way the star guided the Wise Men to Jesus all those years ago.

Having done this for two years now, I can say that I love having a Star Word. I love the process of identifying the word that is specific to me for this specific year. The idea is that you don’t choose the word but rather let the word choose you. This requires listening, paying attention, being still, praying. It’s about trusting God to send the word you most need. It’s also a perfect time to use prayer beads to discern the word, lean into it, and find the one that resonates.

I also love how the Star Word teaches me about God and myself. In 2015, I chose Simplicity. I discovered the myriad ways in which God was calling me to simplicity, but most importantly, I learned I didn’t have to be perfect at being simple. It was enough to yearn for and walk towards simplicity.

For 2016, my word was Trust. When the word chose me, I thought it was perfect: I was in the process of writing my new book, and still working towards going full-time with this ministry. There were plenty of areas where I needed to learn to trust. And it’s true that I went deeper in my relationship with God, trusting God at times and in situations that had previously vexed me. And I learned to trust myself and God as I worked on the book and shared my story of trauma and healing. But I also learned to trust my body through yoga. I learned to trust others in the ups and downs of relationships. Even during a trying political season I practiced trusting people I disagreed with. The word stretched me, challenged me, guided me.

In her book, The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within, Christine Valters Paintner offers insights for going deeper in our relationship with God. One suggestion is to receive a seven-word prayer. Again, the emphasis is on receiving, rather than creating, your own prayer. She invites us to consider the grace we seek, then listen and pray for seven words that make up our prayer for this grace. I read this soon after receiving my word Trust and decided to open myself to a prayer about it. After some time of introspection, I received this prayer: I trust, and walk boldly towards God. Everyday I prayed this prayer. Often, I would repeat it, allowing the seven words to create a rhythm, a mantra. This practice really helped me stay focused on my Star Word and go deeper in my journey of trust.


Prayerworks Star Word Release

Recently I spent time sitting and listening with my prayer beads, and received this word for 2017: Release. How curious! How intriguing! How scary! I am listening now for my seven-word prayer, excited to see where this word leads me. What am I being called to release? How am I being called to release? How, where, and when will I find God in release? I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, what is your Star Word for 2017? Share it with us in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. Those who share their word by Friday, January 27th, will be entered in a drawing for a set of prayer beads.

28 Responses to What Is Your Word for 2017?

  1. My word this year is Wholeheartedness. A multi-faceted and complex word, but one I hope to better understand by the end of the year. It comes from my current reading of Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. I hope to be more wholehearted this year, but also to have the self compassion to not be too hard on myself along this journey.

    • Such a great word! I love Brene and Brown and think her work on wholeheartedness is so critical for our day and time. Blessings on your journey towards wholeheartedness!

  2. My word will be present. I will be in the present for my mom who is gradually declining. I will be in the present at home and focus on today, not on what hasn’t been done or what will need doing in the future. I will know that God is present with me.

    • I love the idea of learning to be more present! And that is a particularly powerful word as you journey with your mom. Prayers for you that you may experience God’s presence all around you.

  3. My word is ‘enough’. I am enough, I have enough. God is enough. These are truths I need to recognize and embrace.

    • I love the word enough! As you may know, Brene Brown has written so much about learning to be enough. If we could all do that I think we would find peace in the world. May God guide you as you come to recognize God’s image within you, hear you are God’s beloved, and claim once and for all that you are indeed enough.

  4. My word is mystery. Often I think too literally if my faith and life. This year I will focus on the mystery of faith.

    • My goodness how I love the word mystery! My friend made a set of prayer beads for me that are black to symbolize God’s mystery, and that has always meant so much to me. You have a wonderful journey ahead of you with mystery as your Star Word. Blessings as you experience the unfolding of God’s mystery.

  5. My word is peace. It just keeps coming up in my head. I know for certain that the world needs more peace. I also use this word in my yoga class.

    • You cannot go wrong with the word peace! Particularly now when our world is full of war, poverty, violence, etc. And as they say, “Peace begins with me,” so it’s wonderful that you will be focused on this. May the God of Peace guide you towards a full and transformative understanding of peace.

  6. I really like the idea of a word for the year. As I was reading your post today I started to be open to hearing my word for the year. The word that popped into my mind was “release”. I was amazed when I scrolled down in the post to reveal that that was your word as well. It was as if spirit was confirming my word by showing it to me on your post. Thank you for your service as a messenger for spirit.

    I also like the suggestion of listening for a seven word prayer. I will meditate on this and see what comes to me. I also look forward to creating a seven bead chaplet for use with the prayer.

    I started experimenting with creating prayer beads and prayer chaplets about a year ago. Your website and book are one of the resources I used. I have experimented with different configurations for different prayers. Two of my favorites are a 12-Step prayer bead set and a Ho’oponopono Prayer set. The 12-step beads consist of groups of three beads, one for each line of the serenity prayer. There are 8 sets of 3 bead, each separated by a single bead, so that it may also be used to recite the 12-steps and 12-traditions of AA and other 12-step groups. The Ho’oponopono Prayer set includes groups of 4 beads, each bead for one line of the prayer. (I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.).

    Wishing you a New Year filled with Spirit.

    • Daniel – I love how God works! How interesting that you began to consider receiving a word, then heard “release,” then saw that was the word I had received as well! And yes, the seven-word prayer is a wonderful gift and tool.

      I am fascinated by your 12-step prayer beads! What a wonderful concept! I can see that being a valuable tool for many people! If you feel inclined, send me a photo and I’ll share it with others.


  7. My word this year is compassion. I am excited what the Lord will teach me about His compassion, Jesus compassion, the Holy Spirit’s compassion. Also, my compassion towards family, friends and strangers. And global compassion. I am willing and ready to live out new teachings from the scriptures, and my daily walk with Jesus.

    • Compassion is a gorgeous word! It will be fascinating to see how this word challenges and transforms you over the year! May the God of Compassion reveal many opportunities to extend grace and loving-kindness to others and yourself.

  8. My word is Gratitude. It has come up in numerous devotional since the start of the. Ew Year. I want to practice being more grateful for the gift God has given me and use it to His glory.

    • Always a wonderful word! I find that every time I focus on gratitude my understanding of God’s grace and love expand a hundred fold, and my day is always brighter. I pray you are richly blessed as you seek and find ways to practice and express gratitude.

  9. My word is peace. I have been distressed about many things but I feel God calling me to be at peace and allow him to handle the stress in my life and in my mind from things I have no control over.

    • It sounds like this is the perfect time to lean into peace and embrace Peace in your life! What a gift! May the God of Peace help you find a place of calm and grace in all places and at all times of your life.

  10. Thanks-Living. The very first thing I read on New Year’s Day was the daily devotion from Our Daily Bread. It was about a woman who wanted to be more thankful and started a Thanks-Living jar in which every night she wrote down something she was thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. At the end of the year she read all her notes and “…found herself thanking God again for everything He had done”.

    I have included this practice into Compline every night since the new year began and already find myself being more thankful and appreciative during the day. This year I want to focus on what God has given and done for me instead of focusing on what I want.

    • This sounds like an amazing word and a wonderful practice! I love the emphasis on living into the thanks or gratitude. Blessings as you continue the practice and recognize the myriad ways in which God is present in your life.

  11. Oddly, my word found me before I read this article. My word is “remain.” It comes from the verse image for “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” John 15:7 NLT

    I have no idea where God will be taking me with this, but I’ll be intrigued to see what prayer he sends my way.

    • Monica – I love that your word “found you” even before you had read this post! That’s wonderful! And I really love the word Remain! I envision so many ways in which that word may speak to you! Blessings as you remain in God’s hands and experience the many ways in which you are being called to remain!

  12. The Star word of my heart for my Medicare year ( just turned 65 ) is Fullness. I am so grateful for the blessings of God’s timing and plans being revealed to me in the perfect measure of his grace. The richness and abundance of his love comes to me as a mystery and felt knowledge as he presents it to me in his fullness!

    • Thayer, my friend! How wonderful to hear your voice on my blog! And how much I love the word Fullness! Such a strong, hopeful, and spacious word! And I love your note of gratitude. It is exciting to hear how you are experiencing God’s presence in your life! I pray God’s blessings on you as you continue to heed God’s call towards fullness, discerning all the ways in which you are called to a fuller faith and the fullness of God’s grace. Love you!

  13. Thank you for your ministry! My word is “intentional.” Excited about where the Lord will take me on this journey.

    • Barb – We are in sync, as your word mirrors our monthly theme of Intention! I really do love this word and am excited for the ways in which Intention will guide you deeper towards God. Blessings as you journey with intention, discerning God’s intent for your life and the ways in which you are intended to witness to God’s glory!

  14. My word is Present. I am finished being a spectator to certain “uncomfortable” areas of my life and I will dwell in all aspects. I also want to be able to be Present by saying no or yes at the right times. It’s all meant to be Present for the One who never stops being Present for me!

    • I love the word Present! It sparks so many wonderful connotations and has such possibility! And it is a word that speaks to so many of us who are often checked out and anything but present for our lives! May the Present God draw you carefully and lovingly in to the present where you may experience your life for the fathomless miracle that it is and recognize how God continually makes present God’s self around you.