If you’re wondering what to ask or pray for at Christmas, here are three things you can always add with confidence to the top of your list:
Pray for Great Joy at Christmas
The birth of Jesus was–and is–the “good news of great joy” for all who receive it.
“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:10-11 NLT).
Jesus was the long, fulfilled promise, prophesied for centuries since the beginning of time. The angel didn’t just announce good news of joy. This news would bring great joy. All of us have experienced moments of exhilaration in our lives and plenty of occasions where we’ve felt happiness. But none can hold a candle to the kind of great joy the angel described.
To pray for great joy at Christmas for ourselves and others is to ask God to make His “good news” gift a reality in the hearts of all. Jesus wanted the same thing and actually prayed for his disciples and those in the future who would believe in Him:
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13 NIV).
Jesus knew that the only ones who could receive great joy were the ones who would receive Him. Because only a relationship with Jesus can bring that kind of deep-down joy. It is not an emotion. It is not a passing event. Jesus wanted our joy to be full, and only He could fill us completely with Himself.
So praying for great joy for ourselves and others is to pray that all would come to experience Jesus in all of His fullness this Christmas–and every day. When you pray for that kind of joy, it is always in God’s will, and it is the kind that lasts forever.
Pray for Unending Peace at Christmas
The angel’s announcement also included “peace on earth.” Pray for unending peace–in your heart and in the lives of others.
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14 NLT).
But there is a qualifier here. Would Jesus’s coming actually bring peace on earth? Jesus Himself claimed He did not come to bring or make peace on earth.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:23 NIV).
The angel proclamation did not mean everyone on earth would know peace. Jesus knew His coming would bring division–that dreaded word in our society. But it was a division not of His making, but of those who refused to believe in Him. Unbelievers of Christ as the Son of God, considered as enemies of God, would bring hostility, even within families.
Then what is that qualifier? Peace would come to those “with whom God is pleased.” And what does it take to please God? Our faith and belief in Him (Hebrews 11:6). Once again, it’s the relationship with Christ that will insure peace–the kind that is lasting and unending. Jesus Himself is our peace, the only One who could erase the division between us and a Holy God.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:13-14 RSV).
So to pray for unending peace is to pray for ourselves and others to know Him personally. Those who follow Him as Savior, Lord, Redeemer, and Messiah will receive and understand the kind of peace with God that Jesus offered. And like His joy, this peace cannot be removed by circumstances. This kind of peace with God lasts forever.
It’s always God’s will to pray for unending peace. So pray it with confidence.
Pray for Unconditional Love at Christmas
To pray for unconditional love is to pray the thing nearest to God’s heart.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16 NIV).
Probably the most well-known and most quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16 defines love in its purest form. It’s unconditional because God held nothing back. When the time was right, God fulfilled the ultimate prophecy by sending Jesus to be born–and to die. For you. And for me. Because He loved the world–all of us–that much.
I wrote an entire blog on God’s love called, What God’s Love Does for Us. I hope you’ll review it to give you a fresh perspective of what that kind of love can do, and what it can mean to those who receive it.
Pray for an awareness of that kind of unconditional love to be born in your heart and in the hearts of all mankind. We may think we know what love is, but we don’t have a clue until we have been the recipients of God’s divine love. That’s the kind of love that changes your heart and mine. It’s the only kind of love that can change the world.
It’s always God’s will to pray for unconditional love, because like the other two prayers, this is the kind that will become known through a beautiful relationship with the One Who gave us Christmas.
Think about it. You are the reason God gave Christmas. His love for you and me, His desire to give us great joy, and His plan to restore our separation from Him because of sin and give us peace–these are the reasons for sending Jesus and giving us Christmas. We can pray with confidence that others will discover a deep, forever relationship with Him and to know Him and all that He is, this Christmas–and everyday.
My Personal Prayer for You This Christmas
Lord Jesus, this Christmas we pray for those precious attributes to be born in our hearts and in the hearts of others: joy, peace, and love. May those who don’t know You realize for the first time how much You love them and how much You want to fill them full of Yourself. May Your sweet, sweet Spirit lead us to those who need You and a personal relationship with You. Thank You for Your peace, Your love, Your joy–and Your sacrifice that gave us Christmas–and life everlasting.
In Your precious name,
It’s Your Turn
Will you pray for these things this Christmas for yourself and others? What else would you like to pray for at Christmas? I’d love to hear from you anytime. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info, and then the e-mail will come to me. Your name or info is not shared with anyone.
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