Christmas is coming up. How can you and I prepare our hearts to freshly encounter Jesus this Christmas and help others in our world who have yet to for themselves?
When it comes to preparing for anything, as believers, prayer is our essential starting place. This Christmas season, I want to encourage you to reserve some extra space in your week for prayer.
I have been increasingly exercised by God to be growing in my prayer life. Which means carving out more time than I normally would give to prayer. And I have to be honest with you, it's been hard. Everything else seems to become more important, or become more interesting, or become more distracting when I want to press in a go the 'extra mile' in prayer.
Luke tells us that Jesus "often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16). The word "often" is the kicker - He took time out to get time alone with the Father. On the even of preparing to make the big decision of choosing his closest followers, Jesus took all night in prayerful preparation (Luke 6:12). Prayer was not something that Jesus took for granted, or treated as secondary to His life and mission. Oh, how He inspires me and challenges me to pray more intentionally.
Plan it in
How can we move forward here and prepare our hearts well to rejoice in the birth of Christ this Christmas and better help our family and friends discover the hope of Jesus?
Plan an amount of time in a certain place with a clear sense of purpose.
Plan an amount of time - Maybe it's 15 minutes a week. Maybe it's 30 minutes. Perhaps even longer. But set-aside a specific amount of time to seek Jesus in prayer.
In a certain place - Where in your calendar week will you do this? Where will you go to be alone with Jesus? Where can you most comfortably, without distraction, seek Jesus?
With a clear sense of purpose - Do you want to wait upon Jesus with a specific question in mind? E.g. "who do you want me to focus on in prayer this Christmas Lord?" Or, "where do I need to be captivated by a fresh sense of wonder this Christmas?" Without focus, our prayers may wonder into time-filling niceties.
Let's make the most of the opportunity this Christmas affords us to encounter our King and help others around us do likewise - and I pray we'd help others around us encounter Him for their very first time.
Joining with you in prayer!
Much love, Rob.