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    "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24, NIV). ...

     



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A Day at a Time: Christmas Prayers

By Scott Harrup
Dec. 16, 2012

What are the first prayers you remember praying?

“Now I lay me down to sleep … ”?

“For the food we are about to receive, we give You thanks … ”?

“Our Father, who art in heaven … ”?

How have your prayers changed with the years? Perhaps their length and frequency have waxed and waned. Perhaps you endured a season when God seemed less your Heavenly Father than your Judge, or worse, a disembodied “Man Upstairs.”

Christmas calls out to you and to me that Immanuel, “God with us,” lives at the core of prayer’s gift. Jesus Christ came to this world as a baby to show us God’s love in the most personal manner possible. His death and resurrection, though at the conclusion of His earthly life, are the fulfillment of Christmas and the bridge over which we are invited to cross from our sin-scarred lives to new identities in Him.

As we grow in our understanding of prayer and our embrace of its presence in our lives, “God with us” prayers become more intimate and effective — not just in addressing our own joys, needs and sorrows, but on behalf of loved ones and even strangers whose life burdens meld with our own at the Holy Spirit’s insistence.

Christmas and prayer form dual themes in this week’s features. In “Home for Christmas,” David Argue calls for a spiritual personal inventory and for compassionate prayer (as well as compassionate action following such prayer). Isaac Canales’ “A Christmas Angel” takes us back to his childhood when someone’s obedient prayer journey wonderfully transformed Christmas and sustained the Canales family. James Bradford calls us to participate in the 7:14 Prayer Initiative and to enjoy the blessings that are certain to ensue.

My own Christmas prayers run the gamut from pleas for peace in the midst of holiday stress to quiet offerings of thanks and praise and intercession as I am reminded yet again of Immanuel’s year-round presence.

May your prayers this Christmas draw you ever closer to Immanuel, and expand His loving reach through your life ever further in this hurting world.

Scott Harrup
Managing Editor

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