Last year, the children’s ministry set up a Christmas tree as you entered the church. Next to the tree, they provided markers and paper that could be folded and inserted into ornaments. The sign said this was a “Prayer Tree” and invited us to write down our prayer requests for Christmas and hang the ornaments on the tree. Hundreds of people responded. What follows are just a few of those prayers:
- Praising God for all my blessings and asking for prayers for my family.
- Peace on earth. Love. Patience. Inner Peace. End of violence.
- My prayer is for people to love God and Jesus.
- I pray for our military and our country.
- I pray that I can ride a bike better.
- For health and good final grades.
- That Santa gets to every house.
- Everyone will be good.
- I pray for snow and a hamster.
- I hope everyone has a great Christmas.
Prayers come in all shapes and sizes, with different circumstances and varying needs. Children tend to be cute, blunt and honest about prayer needs which can produce selfish prayers or the most unselfish of prayers. Adults are usually more careful and less vulnerable… usually but when a crisis comes, at all ages prayers dramatically change.
- Pray for a friend and her life situation – strength and perseverance and mostly that she knows she is loved.
- I pray for my mom to find comfort in the rest home.
- I pray my daughter finds the Lord.
- Peace in my marriage. Hold me and my husband, dear God.
- Prayers for our children’s families as they undertake new job responsibilities.
- I pray for a cure for childhood cancer.
- Dear Lord, please make my Gramma better.
- Please God, let my parents be closer and more friendly.
- Family members disconnected from church and God’s grace.
- For job security.
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you! Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel; his Kingdom will never end!” – Luke 1:26-33
Christmas is about family celebrations and exchanging gifts but Christmas is really about Jesus: his birth, life, death, resurrection and continued presence in our lives. Prayer remind us that while we are celebrating and gift-giving there is the very real promise of Jesus offering a vital connection to God which allows us to offer prayer certain of a loving God who is listening and responding.
- Thank you for life.
- I pray that my mom will do good on her new job.
- I pray all will have a warm place this Christmas.
- I pray that nobody gets sick for Christmas.
- Sing Christmas carols.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “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! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” — Luke 2:8-12
“Don’t be afraid! I bring good news!” Just as God announced the birth of Jesus to a group of shepherds, God continues to be an active part of our daily lives. Christmas is an opportunity to connect with family and friends and enjoy the season. But Christmas is also a time to remember: the same God who announced the birth of Jesus also wants to play a vital role in your life and mine.
Remember the reason for the season.
- I’m thankful for God and for Santa.
- Dear Lord, I pray for a good Christmas and a Nintendo. We love you Lord!
- I want my doll from Santa.
Of course, children will still be children… Merry Christmas!