3 Ways to Pray for Children This Christmas
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14 ESV
The small TV studio is a buzz of activity as they near the end of their Christmas Eve 11:00 PM newscast. They’ve already covered a shooting in a mall, the threat of war in the Middle East, and a sordid scandal involving a well-known politician. The weatherman has not helped raise their viewers’ spirits as he forecasts a grey, rainy Christmas Day.
But the last item of the evening involves a touching scene of some underprivileged children receiving some beautifully wrapped gifts from a well-known social agency. The absolute delight on the kids’ faces is captivating as a very plump Santa empties his bag of toys. And as the instrumental strains of “Frosty the Snowman” fade away, the news anchor poignantly says, “And that’s what Christmas is all about. Kids are the true meaning of Christmas!”
the Gift of all gifts – forgiveness and complete reconciliation with God – salvation in its fullest!
But we know that this is just a worldly point of view, don’t we. The true meaning of Christmas is vastly superior to merely joyous smiles on children’s faces, however endearing. It is about the Almighty God, creator of the entire universe and every individual’s life, inserting Himself into human history in the form of a vulnerable, newborn child and bringing the Gift of all gifts – forgiveness and complete reconciliation with God – salvation in its fullest!
Virtually all children love Christmas; its excitement, anticipation, family traditions like decorating the tree, and the exquisite smells that emerge from the kitchen for at least a week in advance. Whether we have children, grandchildren or simply are aware of the kids at our church or in our neighbourhood, I believe that the Lord has called us to pray for them, even (or, perhaps, especially) at Christmas. Let me share just a few important ways that we can pray for them.
1. Pray that Jesus will be at the very centre of their Christmas celebration. Public schools, the media, and even their neighbourhood friends will tell them repeatedly another narrative. Pray for their parents that they will be able to demonstrate to their sons and daughters by their own example the centrality of Christ in all that they do this season.
2. Pray that the Lord will help children deal with the potential confusion over what’s real and what’s just pretend at Christmas time. Santa, elves, talking reindeer and snowmen, and a baby lying in a manger thousands of years ago can all be mere fantasy unless there is someone to guide them into understanding the truth. Pray that they will realize that the love of Jesus for each of them personally is demonstrated both in the manger scene and ultimately on Calvary.
3. At the risk of offending some readers, I am compelled to point out the anti-Gospel message of the Santa Claus narrative as our culture presents it. It’s all about being good girls and boys or else. In fact, it bribes kids to be good. “Better not cry, better not pout. Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s gonna find out who’s been naughty and nice. He knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake!”
The law shows us our sin, but it doesn’t and cannot deliver us from it. Only a sinless Messiah could do that!
The obvious implication of this song is that if you’ve been naughty, there are no toys for you! You get what you deserve, it’s too late to change, and that’s not the Gospel of Grace. Using fear of punishment and guilt over our poor track record as a means of producing obedience and good behavior haunts most adults, even many Christian adults, but it just doesn’t work. The experience of Israel in the Old Testament certainly proved that. The law shows us our sin, but it doesn’t and cannot deliver us from it. Only a sinless Messiah could do that!
there is complete forgiveness, acceptance and approval, not based on what we do but based totally on the finished work of Jesus on the Cross.
So, how then should we pray for our children? Pray that they may see that, for those who are in Christ, there is complete forgiveness, acceptance and approval, not based on what we do but based totally on the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. Pray that their parents and Sunday School teachers will illuminate for them the joy and freedom of a transforming relationship with the Father who delights in His kids, however old. Pray that their love for Him will grow deeper and deeper as they mature in Christ. Amen!
Canon Garth V. Hunt
Canon for Prayer Support
First Friday - Dec 1
We urge you to set aside the first Friday, December 1st, as a day to pray and fast for our diocese (ANiC), the Anglican Church of North America, and the Anglican Communion worldwide. We live in an age of immense pressure against the Gospel. It is critical that we unite together in prayer.
Notable Prayer Quotes
We should go into His presence as a child goes to his father. We do it with reverence and godly fear, of course, but we should go with a childlike confidence and simplicity.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899 – 1981)