Parents’ prayer

As you prepare to lead your children through some of the activities suggested here, begin by meeting the Lord in prayer and asking Him to help you guide your children lovingly and wisely during this lesson. If you wish, you can use one of these sample prayers. Choose from the first, shorter version for busy days, or the second prayer for more relaxed days.

Sample prayer for a busy day

Lord Jesus, You say, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). I welcome Your invitation as I do need a rest! Let me be yoked to the tasks You have set out for me today instead of my Christmas “prep” list. I lay my self-imposed weariness and burdens at Your feet. Please replace them with the burdens You have for me – those that are light and easy. Jesus, I want to learn from You. May I be a student of Your gentle and humble heart so I can find the elusive soul rest I crave and truly celebrate the joy of this season.

I praise You Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You take pleasure in hiding things from the wise and learned, and instead reveal them to little children. In child-like faith I pray, asking that You will show Yourself to ________ and ________ (list all of your family members) this Christmas season (Matthew 11:25). Please send Your gift of Shalom to our home. We long for the “holy heart hush” that happens when we dwell closely with You and end up over-filled with Your Spirit such that Your “love-liness” spills out of us and onto others. Amen.

Alternative sample prayer

God of love, this is how You showed Your love among us: You sent Your one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9). You sent us Your love, wrapped up as a bundled baby in a manger. Thank you for loving us so much that You sent Your sinless Son, Jesus, to die in our place so that our sins are forgiven and we can look forward to spending eternity with You (John 3:16). Heaven must be so full of peace and joy and the power of Your presence! This season we want to practice singing with the seraphs, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3). Please grace our lives with the same closeness that Adam and Eve had with You in the Garden of Eden.

You alone are perfect and holy, yet You love me in all of my un-loveliness (Romans 5:6-8). You see my impatience and hear my terse replies that are actually rude. When I excuse my tendency to be easily angered by pointing to my lack of sleep or someone else’s behaviour, You are near. You are my uninvited guest when I have pity parties and make life all about me. In the privacy of my heart, You are aware of the way I keep track of the ways others have wronged me and ____________________ (list any other ways you know that you fall short of God’s perfect standard of love as defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5). I know this saddens You and I am sorry.

Trying to “live in love” on my own is a hopeless endeavour, but Your Word gives me hope from Christ’s promise, “If anyone loves Me he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). What an amazing promise and what an enormous calling! So yes, please, send Your Spirit to live in me and teach me to live in You and Your love (1 John 4:16).

You ask us to lay down our lives like Jesus did, and You tell us that this is the greatest kind of love there is (1 John 3:16, John 15:13). I pray for myself, my spouse and our children, _______, and _______. May we bring glory to You through living lives characterized by self-sacrificial love. Humanly this is impossible, but with You all things are possible (Mark 10:24). With Your Spirit in us, it may even be possible for us to live in such love that we can put up our Christmas tree or ____________________ (add your own ideas) this year without arguing or fighting.

Our hope is that others will be drawn to You because they see we are sincerely devoted to one another in brotherly love and that we honour others above ourselves (Romans 12:9-10). Let them see and understand that all that is lovely in us is from You! We invite the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to be in our home and in our hearts (2 Corinthians 13:14). Jesus, come in all of Your “love-liness” and fill us so full of Your love that we can’t help but share it. May Your Spirit dwell with us and in us today, filling us with peace and joy because You are near. Amen.