1. That you would be aware that the enemy wants to steal your joy and that you would focus on the Lord who is your joy and strength – The Scriptures tell us that we have an enemy. He is a hater of joy, one who is constantly fighting against God, and he makes it his business to unsettle our spirits. Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” True joy in the Lord and is our very strength.
2.That you would be aware that the enemy wants to distract you. The enemy wants to distract our attention from focusing on the incarnation – the coming of Jesus in the flesh as a baby. Although we should celebrate Christ every day, the holiday season is a time to emphasize and be grateful for the most valuable gift we have ever been given: the gift of God’s Son. The enemy will do all he can to distract our attention from the Messiah who has come and who is coming again. During this season, and in every season, we can intentionally focus on worshiping Him every time we sing, pray, read scripture or hear scripture read. Worship Him. Thank Him for coming to earth so that He could be the perfect sacrifice, and thank Him that He is coming again to “bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” (Hebrews 9:28)
3. That you would be careful not to get caught up in the pull of materialism during this season. Everywhere you look you see advertisements that are trying to sell you the “perfect gift” or show you something that is considered a “must have”. Although there is nothing wrong with the giving and receiving of gifts, we can enter into this season prayerfully and carefully, asking God to show us how to best steward the money he has given us, and that we would not be distracted by the pull of materialism.
4. That you would not neglect spending time with God as the season gets busier. Company parties, school parties, church get togethers, neighborhood parties, shopping — over scheduling can quickly and easily happen during the holiday season. God intended that we take time to get away and rest. It’s the only way we can live one day at a time, in a way that honors Him. We need to be sure that we remain consistent every day, and through the holiday season.
5. For spiritual refreshment – The past few years have been challenging for my family, and I know many people who have suffered losses of many kinds. We would do well to pray, not only prayers to be aware of how the enemy wants to invade our lives, but prayers asking for spiritual renewal and fresh growth. Pray that you will see the fruit in your life that has resulted from the trials you have faced this year.
6. That you would tune into the spirit and take time to pray before you spend time with friends and family. During the holidays, and in every season, you can make it a habit to take time to pray before you spend time with others. 1 Peter 1:8- 9 says: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” Pray that the filling of “inexpressible and glorious joy!” would shine through your words and all that you do, and that you might be a blessing to those you are with.
7. That you would remember to take the time to pray for those that you will be spending time with. Take time to think of those you will be spending time with, and mentally enter into their suffering, praying for each need whether it be spiritual or physical. This will prepare your heart before you spend time with them. Your prayer fueled visit will be one where you are tuned into the Holy Spirit and into those you spend time with.
8. That God would make you aware of those who may be lonely or suffering from depression during the holiday season. There are those who have lost family members this past year. There are older people who can’t get out to go to church or to visit family and friends. Be available to them. Invite them over or visit them. Pray for them and with them. Ask God to show you how you can encourage them.
9. That you will be an instrument of his love. That you would be a living example of God’s grace and sacrificial love to those that you come in contact with during the holiday season. That your words would be grace and love filled. Pray that your words and actions will be filled with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
10. That you will be instruments of his peace. I don’t know about you, but my family events aren’t picture perfect! Any time you get a group of people together (especially extended family) there is the potential for conflict, irritations, or unmet expectations to enter into our celebrations and ruin the time we have together. Ephesians 4:2-3 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Pray that God would enable you to love those we come in contact with in the way that Ephesians 4 suggests.
11. That you will be compassionate. Pray that God will give you the ears to hear and the eyes to see the needs of those around you, no matter where you are. Pray that you will be aware of anyone around you who may need to hear the gospel.
12. Pray for those family and friends who are not believers, that they will hear and receive the gospel during this season of celebrating the coming of the Savior of our souls. Pray that you will not be indifferent to their need for Christ because of familiarity that might be there. Pray for their eyes to be opened to their need for Christ. If you have experienced God’s grace in your life, then you know no one is too far gone that they cannot feel God’s drawing.
13. Pray that you will not forget that you have received the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us: “…All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God has given you the message of reconciliation for you to offer to those you come in contact with. We are His representatives.