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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Prayer

Treasured Friend,

Caregiving is never easy. And in this Christmas season with all the celebration going on around us (perhaps even without us) and with its added responsiblities and the added reminder that normalcy for us may be a thing of the past, we may be tempted to be discouraged.

In those moments when I'm watching courage drain out of me faster than my bathroom sink empties, the temptation is great to give up on expecting anything from God, to give up on even asking Him for my daily supply. Despair oozes up as courage drains down. And instead of running TO God in those moments, I'm tragically tempted to push Him away.

In case that sounds familiar to you on this Christmas week, I want to encourage you not to give up on prayer. We may not get the answers we want, just when we want them. (I got a poignant reminder of that this week.) But the blessing and the beauty of prayer is that it isn't about us at all. It isn't about getting our answers. It isn't even about giving God our want-lists. Not one bit.

No, prayer is all about the one-on-one relationship Christmas made possible -- the one-on-one relationship between our Creator God and us. He is at once supreme over the universe and intimately concerned with the intricate happenings of your life and mine. He longs to hear from us and to talk to us. He gave us the unique gift of prayer just so that could happen. He wrapped it up in love, and His Son offered it to each of us when we accepted Him as our Savior. Prayer was His idea. And in the end, it truly is all about Him.

Here's what I wrote in my book, Praying Like Jesus:

[T]he nature of gifts [is this:] They do not just please the recipient, but they also express the personality and the joyful spirit of the giver. It is as much fun to choose a gift for a loved one as it is to see her joy in receiving it.

God's gifts are no exception. James writes, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights" (James 1:17). ... The gifts God gives to us are many. Salvation, of course, is the pinnacle of these. But He also gives us abundant life; enjoyment of beauty; love, joy, and peace. Sometimes He gives us items from our wish lists. Other times He gives gifts we didn't know we wanted. And some of His gifts come wrapped in the tissue of sorrow, pain, or disappointment. The child with Down's Syndrome who becomes a sweet blessing. The parent whose funeral celebrates a God-filled life. The loss of a job that challenges a believer to attend seminary.

Hear Jesus' words in His masterpiece of oratory, the Sermon on the Mount: "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11). God's gifts, like His character, are always good. They flow out of His loving heart. But they flow the most when we humble ourselves and ask of Him. Jesus invites His followers to "keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened" (Matthew 7:7 nlt).

So as you're opening a gift or two with your name on it this Christmas, remember the gift of prayer God offers to you with open hands. In this season of celebrating the coming of His Son as the Child Who would grow to be our Savior--remember to use and consider precious the gift He provided to each of us--the gift of anytime/anywhere access into His presence where we can keep on asking and know He will hear and answer.

That being said, my Christmas prayer for you this year is that you will be courageous and tenacious in lifting your heart's Christmas prayer to heaven's throneroom -- where it will be received personally and answered by Our Father Who is in heaven.

Blessings and prayers -- and Christmas Joy!


© 2011, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email:

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