By Joseph Ametepe
The Christmas season is a busy time for many people, including Christians. We are pressured to get gifts for loved ones. This is time consuming. The malls are busy. Queues are at cash registries are long. Traffic jams are many. There seems to be delays everywhere. People are impatient and sometimes rude. The stress level is high. We don't have to live this way. Why? When we look at the "First Christmas," busyness and stress were absent. Instead, there was a time of pondering, praising and prayer to God. When the Virgin Mary heard the news of bearing the Son of God and the Savior of the world and the shepherds' account of the angel's announcement of the birth of Jesus, we are told, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). The shepherds who heard the announcement of the Savior's birth, after seeing Him in a manger, went to their fields glorifying and praising God (Luke 2:20). When the godly and aged Simeon and Anna the prophetess saw the Savior at His dedication at the temple in Jerusalem, they poured out their hearts in prayer to God (Luke 2:25-38). I believe these examples were preserved in the Scriptures to guide us in our celebration of Christmas. Christmas must and should be a time of pondering, praising and prayer to God.
As believers in Jesus, we must not allow the commercialization of Christmas to rob us of the joy of pondering on the great wonder of Christ's birth, leading to heartfelt praise to God for His wondrous love and grace toward us in Christ, and praying to God on behalf of others to come and share in the abundant riches of Christ. Prayer at Christmas is written for this purpose. Spending time each day for these specific requests will be a meaningful way to spend this year's Christmas. Ponder on the scriptural references for each request. Praise God from them. Pray through them. May the Holy Spirit who assists us in prayer lead you in celebrating this year's Christmas in a fruitful and fulfilling way!
Prayer Requests for Christians and Churches
Pray for God to renew believers’ passion to worship Him (Psalm 100).
Pray for God to renew Christians’ hearts to obey Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27; Mk. 12:30-31).
Pray for God to restore Christian families, to heal the wounded hearts of children and parents who are alienated and distant (Malachi 4:6).
Pray for sincere repentance and revival of churches (Psalm 85).
Pray for pastors and elders to shepherd God’s flock under their care with love, grace and truth, teaching them the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:25-31; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Prayer Requests for City Officials
Pray that God will direct their hearts to wherever He wishes in order to carry out His purpose (Proverbs 21:1)).
Pray that city officials may advance God’s justice and rule (Romans 13:1-5).
Pray that they will come to know, honor and follow Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-7).
Prayer Requests for Children
Pray that children will hear the good news of Jesus and encounter Jesus early in life (Mk. 10:14).
Pray that God’s great fatherly heart of love and care will be revealed with healing power to children who have been abused, mistreated or disappointed by their families (1 John 4:7-21).
Pray for lasting family stability and peaceful and loving homes to raise up children (Deut. 6:1-9).
Pray for children who are orphans to be loved and accepted and adopted into loving homes (Deut. 24:17-21; 26:12).
Prayer Requests for Countless Lost Souls
Pray that God will grant them repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18).
Pray that God will open their hearts to receive His good news (Acts 16:14).
Pray that they may be freed from the bondage and blindness of Satan (Eph. 2:2; 2 Cor. 4:3-4).
Prayer Requests against the Culture of Death and Violence
Pray against the rise of gang violence in the city (Psalms 101:4-8; 104:35).
Pray against the rise of suicide among the youth in our culture.
Pray against the deception of Satan among the youth leading them to throw away their lives (Rev. 20:2-3, 10).
Pray that the prisons in our cities will not become a “breeding ground” for wickedness and violence.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will raise up His standard against darkness, death, and the devil who has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).
Apostle Paul understood both the value and power of prayer in the believer's life. Writing under the direction of the Holy Spirit to the church at Corinth, he shared this understanding with them to encourage them in their prayers for him and his fellow-workers. We need this reminder today to motivate us to press on in prayer at all times, especially during this season. "You also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many" (2 Corinthians 1:11).
Your prayers inspired and energized by the Spirit of God will be used by God to make an eternal difference in the lives of others. What a privilege it is to work with God in this way!