In the United States and in many places around the world, it’s Christmas Eve – the day before we celebrate the birth of God’s Son in Bethlehem centuries ago. The day is often filled with last minute shopping, families traveling, and children eagerly anticipating tomorrow.
I suspect, though, that our busyness gets in the way of our taking time to pray today. May I challenge you to take at least 15 minutes today, step aside from the chaos, and pray? You might even invite your family to join you in these prayers:
- Thank God that the first Christmas Eve was, in fact, an “eve.” An “eve” is the day before a special day or event. On that first Christmas Eve, God knew that history was about to change. The world would never the same after the Savior was born.
- Pray for churches holding Christmas Eve services tonight. Many pastors and staff will be leading services around the world tonight. Pray that God will give them focus, clarity, and Holy Spirit unction as they tell the Christmas story. If your church has a service, pray especially for your pastor.
- Pray for non-believers attending Christmas Eve services. Some folks who don’t know Jesus personally, and who often don’t attend church at any other time during the year, will gather with believers tonight. Ask God to open their hearts to the truth.
- Pray for someone who knows the name of Jesus, but for whom this night has nothing to do with God. You probably know somebody that fits this description. A neighbor. A co-worker. A fellow student. Even a family member. He or she might celebrate this holiday, but it’s more a time to hang out with family and friends than a time to worship God.
- Pray for the billions of people around the world who’ve never heard of Jesus. With all the attention Americans give to Christmas (even beginning to think about it commercially as early as October), we forget that more than 2 billion people don’t even know that Jesus exists. Many of them will, in fact, die today and tomorrow, destined for eternal judgment. Pray today that somebody around the world will meet Jesus this Christmas.
- Pray for missionaries serving away from families this Christmas. They do so willingly so others might know Jesus, but the holidays are often still difficult. As you gather with your family, pray for those who are giving their lives so non-believers might join the family of God.
- Pray for military chaplains serving among those who strive to preserve our liberty so we can worship freely. Regardless of your thoughts about military force, men and women around the world are serving as Christian leaders among military personnel who put their lives on the line every day. Pray for all of them this Christmas Eve.
- Pray that this Christmas Eve might be a special “eve” in some other way in your life. Only God knows what He has planned for your life tomorrow. Perhaps someone you love will become a Christian tomorrow. Your wayward child might return home like the prodigal son of Luke 15. Reconciliation of your broken marriage might begin tomorrow. You might live a day of victory tomorrow over a sin that has haunted you for years. God may unexpectedly and powerfully answer a long-stated prayer in the next 24 hours. If God grants you life, it’s possible that He might be preparing you today for His mighty work tomorrow.
Thank Him now this Christmas Eve.