Soon these little stockings will be filled—and then, in a blink of an eye they will be removed from their hooks, contents excitedly spilled out on the floor at the hands of our 5 sweet grands.
These stockings have been hanging off the fireplace mantel in our family room for over a month now. Alan and I often mentioned how the mere sight of them stirs up our anticipation of Christmas Day when we get to hang out all together as a family.
They also serve as a reminder to pray because when I look at these stockings, I immediately think of the grandchildren each one represents.
Before we go further, take a moment to look around your home right now. Are there items within your Christmas decor that remind you of certain members of your family?
Here are a few ideas:
- a homemade ornament
- a Christmas card
- a gift from Christmas’ past
- a picture
- a manger scene
- a candle
It doesn’t matter what it is as much as it matters that it is an item that can help to remind you–or prompt you–to breath a prayer for your family every time you see it.
Here are 4 pointers that I hope will encourage you as you pray for your family.
1. Remember to pray.
Go ahead and choose an item that will serve as your prayer reminder.
That item for me this year are the name tags on these stockings. Each tag represents the precious soul of the grandchildren God has entrusted to us as grandparents. When I see the name, I pray for that child.
2. Pray in the noise.
Sometimes we get it in our minds that prayer is for, well, “quiet prayer times”. For most of us, those quiet prayer times tend to diminish as Christmas draws closer. Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk who’s spiritual journey is captured in the book The Practice of the Presence of God, is quoted as saying this:
His primary job in the monastery was working in the kitchen. Probably most of us can relate to that, especially over the Christmas season.
More importantly, we both need to be reminded that our busy and sometimes chaotic time of Christmas preparation need not differ from our time “quiet time of pray.”
Pray while you are doing what you are doing. The Lord is always with you and always listening!
3. Pray simple, short, and specific.
Last week I wrote a post here about simple prayer in a busy season. As we pray in the noise of our Christmas preparation, it really helps to keep our prayer simple, short and specific to the needs and situations of our loved ones. You know what those things are, but here are a few more suggestions:
- pray for practical needs like safety, health, and financial needs during this season
- pray for any needed healing and/or restoration within family relationships
- pray for the salvation of those who have not yet put their faith and trust in Jesus as their Saviour
- pray that you will exude the love and patience of Christ in all circumstances and interactions
4. Pray Always.
Christmas is not the only time of the year that we can use ordinary items in our home to prompt us to pray simple, short, and specific prayers for our family and loved ones amidst the noise of our everyday life.
Paul reminds us to:
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Once the Christmas tree is boxed up (or taken to the curb side), choose another ordinary little thing(s) around your home to remind you to prayer for your loved ones. Place it/them in strategic places that will serve you best as a reminder.
Then pray. Each time you see it. In fact, as Paul said, never stop praying!
May this next year be one of increased praying always for those closest to our heart.
Oh–and leave a comment below to let us know what you chose to remind you to pray for your family!