It’s November! What?!
We’re less than three weeks away from Thanksgiving and it always seems like Christmas follows in a blink after that. And for most of us, we can’t help but think about what that means for us and for the other people with whom we’ll interact over the holidays.
Because there are always emotions attached to the way we look at the holidays. Emotions attached to past memories and emotions connected to our current relationships.
Praise God, He understands our emotions, loves us, and invites us to bring all of those amped up feelings to Him in prayer so He can help us.
I’m so excited that my friend Sue Donaldson, of Welcome Heart, is sharing wisdom concerning many of the ways our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions can affect us over the weeks ahead. And I love that she’s doing it by taking it all to the Lord in prayer.
So, please make her feel welcome and don’t forget to say “hello” and bless her with a comment.
5 Prayers for the Holidays
(Soon to be Upon Us)
How we feel about the holidays-soon-approach may have everything to do with how we were raised, whose turn it is to host, or how badly the turkey turned out in 2008 which is now the stuff of family legend, no (stuffing) pun intended.
Here are 5 Scriptures and prayers for the holidays to ready our minds and hearts for seasonal festivities. May this be the best year yet all because God invites us to know Him deeper and follow Him better.
PRAYER FOR EXPECTATIONS
Expectations are great in their place but their place may only be in my imagination. I get into trouble when I expect someone to read my mind and do and say exactly as I was thinking they would do or say.
My favorite Scripture that helps me balance my best-laid plans and the reality of the moment…
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.”Psalm 62:5 (NKJV)
Father, I give you all my hopes and dreams for the holidays. Please grant the ones that glorify you most and which grow me best into Your likeness. May I allow You to be in control. And when things don’t turn out exactly as I thought they might, may I let it go and rest in You. Thank You and Amen.
PRAYER FOR COMMUNICATION
Whether or not your family is a talkie-bunch, how we communicate can make or break a holiday event. I was anxious about how I might talk with an almost-relative who I knew I would be seeing soon. A friend counseled me: “Brag on her son when you see her.” That was great advice and smoothed over any awkwardness. You don’t need to make things up to be nice, but you can always be kind with your words.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Lord God, I want to use my words for blessing (not cursing!) this holiday season. I will see some people I don’t know well nor see very often, and only You know what’s going on in their lives. May I look for ways to say kind things and believe the best about another even if they say something offensive to me. Help me respond rather than react, and if I know I’m getting impatient, may I give myself a time-out until I spend time communicating with You. Thank You and Amen.
PRAYER FOR PEACE
God’s presence brings peace so I wonder, “Why don’t I always feel peaceful?” It’s a matter of the mind. Preparations for the holidays can fill my mind so much so I leave God on the perimeter and start wringing my hands in worry instead of folded in prayer to the One Who can actually do something about my anxieties. Jesus understood our proclivities to stew in the details of how much stew to make for how many guests as He recalls His Father’s loving care…
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”Matthew 6:31–33 (NLT)
Father God, I’m so glad you are in the details. Remind me every day that You’ve got it all under control even if I don’t have it on the list or, God forbid, I lose those precious lists. Thank you that You know what I need and what my guests and family needs. Teach me how to seek Your kingdom above all else. As I set each table may I set my mind on things above. Thank You and Amen.
PRAYER FOR FORBEARANCE
I love that old-fashioned word. Think: patience. My sister heard this great definition: “Forbearance is putting up with more than you are due (or that you THINK you are due!)” The funny thing about forbearance is that we want everyone else to “forbear” with us but forget to forbear with everyone else, depending on how much coffee we’ve had or how little sleep we’ve managed. It can be tricky to rub shoulders and hips in close proximity in a kitchen meant for one and now there are five, and you just wish everyone would go away for thirty minutes so you could get yourself together. Instead, we are called to forbear…
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Dear Father, I have no excuse for not exercising patience with others. After all, You are amazingly patient with me. Grant me the grace to forgive, the cognizance to hold my tongue, and the humility to keep my huffiness at bay. May I love lavishly and find You at every turn of the shopping aisle and what space is left at the kitchen island. Thank You and Amen.
PRAYER FOR CELEBRATING
Holidays are for celebrating! I love a great tradition that brings joy and sweetness to friends and family. However, my love for Christ and my purpose to make all my life all about Him gets lost in the trappings of tradition and wrappings of “we-must-do-it-this-way-again-because-that-is-what-we’ve-always-done.” I’m fairly certain flexibility–not cleanliness–is next to godliness.
When I remember Who I treasure and surrender each event to God–no matter how small, commit each task to His favor–no matter how simple, I can celebrate with abandon: my family and friends, the music, food, decor, the dark nights and special lights, the fire in the fireplace or a simple candle.
I want my heart’s cry to be like the Psalmist’s…
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”Psalm 73:25–26 (ESV)
Oh, God, I love You so! I celebrate You and what You purpose through my life. May I not be trapped by my traditions. I offer them all to You. Show me how to celebrate You best and foremost. May your love and sacrifice sink deep into my bones so that when people come into my home they know that they have been with Jesus. Now that’s something to celebrate! Thank You and Amen.
Sue Donaldson and her husband, Mark, live in San Luis Obispo, California. Sue taught high school English, part of the time in Brazil with Wycliffe Bible Translators. She and her husband, Mark, have raised 3 semi-adult daughters who keep them at the bank and on their knees. Sue loves connecting people to one another, to God, and to His Word, and has been speaking for the last 20 years or so with long pauses for babies, diapers and soccer pasta parties. She blogs at Welcome Heart.com – Ordinary Hospitality, Extraordinary God.
Sue’s books include:
Come to My Table: God’s Hospitality and Yours
Hospitality, 101: Lessons from the Ultimate Host, a 12-Week Bible Study
Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside
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