Sat | Apr 20, 2024

Set goals and appropriate their manifestation

Published:Sunday | January 15, 2023 | 12:58 AMDudley McLean II - Contributor

Usain Bolt, before his successful exploits of winning the 100 and 200 metres at 2012 London Olympics, was motivated by a desire to become a legend. Upon becoming the first double gold medallist in these events, and having gained the world records, he proclaimed himself a legend.

This affirmation of who he is, in his historical accomplishments in the global track events, had opened a ‘storm in the teacup’, as many were caught up both in criticising and debating whether he was a legend or not; whether it was right for him to proclaim his status himself or should it be done by others.

Many even warned of the dangers of pride, taking their cue from Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” What they did not see beyond the track star’s accomplishments was the disciplined and rigorous training involved. Now Usain is undebatable!

As human beings, the need for recognition and respect mirrors the desire of all of us to be known, loved and to be wanted. Throughout the world and in every nation, there are heroes known and unknown, whose praises are proclaimed as role models of human possibilities.


As we begin a new year and month, we are desirous to embrace change and, often accompanied by reflection on the past year, to envision new accomplishments or possibilities. It is customary for us to flock to places of worship to seek God’s blessings, forgiveness or ‘a word’, to guide us as we journey into a future known only by the Most High, who can assist us to navigate any obstacles or cushion any disappointments along the socio-economic pathways we will walk.

In Psalm 95: 6, we have an invitation, “Come let us bow down and bend the knee and kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Why should we bow before God? Verse 7-8 provides an answer, “God is our God and we are the people of God’s pasture, and the Sheep of God’s hand.” To ‘bow down’ is a call to worship, to acknowledge that God is Creator and we are creatures of God’s creation. That God is the Shepherd and that we are the children of God. That we will not be in want. It is also to acknowledge that all things have their origins in God, and that we who are created in God’s image share, through the gift of reason and conscience, the power to transform our environment and the maintenance of order by the power of God.

In the letter of James, we have this reminder, “every generous act of giving with every perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (1: 12), and our Lord Jesus Christ affirms God’s generosity to humanity and creation when he said, “for [God] makes God’s sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the righteous” (Matthew 5:45).


As we reflect on these promises, let us appropriate them in our hearts and minds as an antibiotic against negativity. The prophet Isaiah was one who proclaims hope; “ be strong, do not fear” (Is. 34:4). We are to hope. Our trust is in God, who will come and save you (34. 4d);

Let us rekindle hope and, like Usain Bolt, vision our possibilities by setting goals and appropriating their manifestation in our lives. Above all, walk with the Lord in prayer, which will enable you to remain connected to God’s divine purpose.

The Celtic Church developed a special type of protection prayer, the Calm Prayer or Circle Prayer. It is where we get the word “calm” from, as praying this prayer would banish the storm and create calm.

It was a way to surround oneself with God’s protection and blessing and remove any evil. It was often prayed in by ‘drawing’ a circle around oneself as you prayed anticlockwise, at every 90 degree turn.

Circle me Lord, Keep hope near, And evil afar.

Circle me Lord, Keep light near, And darkness afar.

Circle me Lord, Keep peace within, Keep fear out.

Circle me Lord, Keep hope within, Keep doubt without.

Mighty God,

My protection be

Encircling me.

You are around

My home, my street

Encircling me

O Sacred Three. Amen.

From Celtic Circle Prayers

Dudley McLean II is executive director of Asociación de Debate Bilingüe Xaymaca (Adebatex), promoting debating in Spanish in high schools. Send feedback to