Well, Christmas is once again upon us. Hey! It’s time for some yuletide cheer! There is no better time of the year to celebrate our Lord Jesus and share Him with others than during the Christmas season. And I hope you conscientiously are doing just that as we speak.
Yes, Christmas time is here! As such, this is the perfect time to get back into God’s Holy Word, the Bible, if you have gotten out of the habit of doing so, to hear from Him (see the October blog “Communicating with God” on the church website or the October Main Blast article to help with this), to prepare well to celebrate our Savior’s birth, and to ready yourself for the challenges of the approaching New Year. And additionally, there is no better time than during the holiday season to establish or reestablish regularly speaking to the God of Christmas on a daily basis in prayer.
But how do we do that? Glad you asked!
Last month we began talking about the issue of prayer (see the November blog “Talking to God” found on the church website or last month’s Main Blast article) and how we can use the Lord’s Prayer found in Matt. 6:9-13 (NKJV) as a guide to help us pray. Because the noted prayer naturally divides into seven parts, we can employ it to pray at least seven times throughout the course of each day.
We looked at the first step of the seven-step process of prayer last month. To repeat, start your morning by praying the first segment of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father in heaven.” Use the acrostic CATS (i.e., confession, adoration, thanksgiving, specific requests) as a part of your “good morning” prayer to God. And then, using both hands as reminders of for whom to pray and for what you pray, ask specific requests of God for which you have need.
Then, as you eat breakfast, pray the second segment of the Lord’s Prayer, “Hallowed be Your name.” To hallow God’s name means we praise Him for who He is and express our desire to represent His holiness in our lives throughout the day. God has numerous names in Scripture by which He reveals His unique person. You should praise God for who He is, using His names in prayer.
The following are some of the names for God: Lord – The English word Lord translates the sacred name for God expressed by the four consonants YHWH (or Jehovah) in Hebrew. To this day, Orthodox Jews consider YHWH so sacred they will not even pronounce it. It is the title given Israel’s covenant-keeping God. The New Testament writers—recognizing the deity of God’s precious Son—applied the title to Jesus. Elohim – Almighty, majestic. Adonai – Lord, Master. El Elyon –God most high, strongest of all. El Roi – the strong one who sees. El Shaddai – almighty God. El Olam – eternal God. Jehovah Jireh – the Lord will provide. Jehovah Shalom – the Lord is peace. Jehovah Nissi – the Lord my banner [leader/protector & one we follow]. Jehovah Sabaoth – the Lord of hosts [angel army]. Jehovah Maccaddeshcem – the Lord my sanctifier/the one who makes me holy. Jehovah Raah -the Lord is my Shepherd. Jehovah Tsidkenu – the Lord our righteousness. Jehovah El Gmolah – the Lord God of retribution/payback. Jehovah Nakeh – the Lord that strikes with a firm blow. Jehovah Shamma – the Lord who is present.
At mid-morning, pray the third segment: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is praying for accomplishing God’s will in your life throughout the day. “Lord, your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else – I want your agenda, not mine.”
At lunch time and in keeping with the occasion, pray the fourth segment “Give us this day our daily bread.” Here you express your dependence upon God by asking Him to meet your needs—physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual. And during the mid-afternoon period, pray the fifth segment “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Ask God to help you to deal with the people around you who disappoint, irritate, or wrong you by choosing to love and standing ready to forgive them just as God does you when you fail Him.
Because most household arguments occur when you return home from work or you are fatigued at the end of the day, on your way home from work or wherever you may be in the late afternoon, pray the sixth segment “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Temptation occurs not only when we are tired but is ever present, so this is the time when you ask God to reveal any weaknesses you have to enable you to stay clear of all evil, all the time, and to be patient with those you love.
Before you fall asleep at night, spend time in God’s Word and then close your day with the final segment of the Lord’s Prayer, expressing your devotion & praise to Him, “For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”
I hope you will begin applying the seven parts of the Lord’s Prayer in prayer each day. It will help you get into the regular practice of prayer not only during this Christmas season but each day beyond.
Blessings and Merry Christmas to you all!