Lord God, we thank you for Christmas and its message of how, in Jesus Christ, you came to live with us and die for us.
This Christmas, we pray for those people who, having once known what Christmas means, have forgotten it. May they recover its truth.
This Christmas, we pray for those people who have never known what Christmas means. May they discover its truth.
This Christmas, we pray for those of us who know Jesus, that we would, by our living and speaking, uncover its truth for others.
Rev Canon J John
The number of homeless families living in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation is at its highest in nearly ten years, according to government figures published in September 2013. Housing and homelessness charity Shelter has askedChristianity readers to pray for those in the UK without a home this winter, 80,000 of whom are children.
Lord, do something about your Church. It is so awful, it’s hard not to feel ashamed of belonging to it. Most of the time it seems to be all the things you condemned: hierarchical, conventional, judgemental, hypocritical, respectable, comfortable, moralising, compromising, clinging to its privileges and worldly securities, and when not being objectionable, just absurd.
Lord, come in power and sort us out. Judge us and cleanse us, challenge us and change us. Help us to make you real down here, and to feed your people bread instead of stones. And start with me. Amen.
Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Alban’s Cathedral
Lord God, it’s hard to know how to pray for Syria ? except to plead for you to intervene. We pray for the diplomats, and those in positions of influence trying to bring about an end to conflict, and for the ‘little people’ ? children in schools, people who’ve been displaced, those who seemingly aren’t involved in either side of this bloody war, but whose lives will never be the same again.
We know this is a battle where the lines between justice and evil are particularly blurred, and so we pray not only for peace, but also for mercy. Lord, let your kingdom come.
Lucinda Borkett-Jones, deputy editor, Christianity magazine
The Rock Church, York, recently opened its Narnia Christmas Grotto ? a magical 360 degree experience held every December. The church expects to see around 2,500 visitors during the course of the month. Chris Chapman, one of the church’s leaders, says, ‘It’s a gift we give back to our city at Christmas. When people come in, they see a church that is not dull, dark and empty, as they may be expecting. The story of Narnia is that “the spell is broken” ? winter comes to an end and there is light, spring and everything comes to life. It can be “Always Spring, Forever Christmas”. That is the message of Christianity. Our prayer is that our visitors receive that message.’ Pray for The Rock Church, and for all churches across the UK running special outreach events for Christmas.
Pray for Gary Thompson from Newmilns, Ayrshire, who has been diagnosed with gut cancer. This dedicated Christian lives a full life as a 999 call handler and father. He also plays in our Townhead Church praise band. I have known Gary for a number ofyears and this has come as a shock to all of us. Pray for God’s will to be done in Gary’s life.
Chris Arkley, Ayreshire
Dear Father, we ask that your love would surround those who have been trafficked into slavery for sexual or labour exploitation or domestic servitude. Please bring them rescue and restoration. Stir the minds and hearts of our communities to help us become more aware of the signs of trafficking; to educate others in source and destination countries. Strengthen, support and guide those who work with victims. We pray those who seek help through the Salvation Army’s victim support programme will find freedom, healing, empowerment and hope for the future.
Major Anne Read, Salvation Army salvationarmy.org.uk
Almighty God, you have brought light to the world through the birth of your son. As we prepare to celebrate the dawn of that light, we cry out for those places where the darkness still seems overwhelming. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, we pray for our brothers and sisters, that your light and life might be seen in all our lands, and to the ends of the earth. Through him who is the light of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Most Rev and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Every year, university Christian Unions hold Christmas carol services ? or festive events at which they share the gospel message ? on campuses around the UK, usually in early December. It’s one of the easiest times of year to invite non-believing friends to a CU evangelistic event. Pray that God would work through those events to reach non-believers and that he’d give courage to Christian students to invite their friends and to follow up sensitively with subsequent questions.
Joel Murray, Leeds
Lord, thank you that in Jesus Christ we find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Thank you that through our relationship with Jesus we can know God and the purpose of our lives. Help us to develop this relationship more and more, to grow into maturity in our knowledge of him and to hear the words of Jesus speaking to us clearly. Help us to proclaim Jesus with authority and power, so that many will put their faith in Christ and find the purpose of their lives. Amen.
Rev Nicky and Pippa Gumbel, leaders of Holy Trinity Brompton, London
Dear God, please help teachers have a nice Christmas holiday. I pray that they have a relaxing time with their friends and family. Thank you for all their hard work teaching children all year long. Amen.
Noah Brierley, aged 8
Lord God, we’re so thankful for the people, stories and ideas you’ve brought to the Christianity team this year. Please inspire the team in the year to come. Please bind us together. Give us greater wisdom and discernment about what to cover, and growin us a desire for excellence. Forgive us when we make mistakes ? stumbling around, not listening, and putting our agendas ahead of yours. We long to please you with what we do, to grow your kingdom and make a difference. Amen.
Ruth Mawhinney, editor, Christianity magazine
Teddington Baptist Church has joined forces with local businesses to run the Christmas Doors of Teddington this Advent. Displayed in shop windows around the town are 25 miniature doors, donated by a local toy company. Each door concealsa picture associated with the Christmas story; the 24th door can be found in Teddington Baptist Church. Pray that this would cause people to reflect on the Christmas story and do mutual good for the church and local businesses.
Rev Richard Littledale, Teddington Baptist Church
Lord, thank you that you see everyone in our society. No one is missed by you and you care for every one of us. We ask you to hold closely those young people in our country who are on the margins of society and struggling with everyday life. Teach us how best to bring your love to these young people and how to show them how much value they really have. Amen.
Patrick Regan OBE, founder and CEO of youth charity XLP
Creator God, we thank you for the beauty of this world you crafted so intricately. Forgive us for the way we have misused our resources, abused the weakest and wrecked the land and waters. Give us the courage to live differently, sustainably and within our means. Teach us to be content and extravagantly generous with everything we have been given. Restore our hearts and the earth. Bring your kingdom. Amen.
Katherine Maxwell-Cook, London
Dear Lord Jesus, please help families to be kind and loving to each other at Christmas because you love us. Help us to get along with others and not argue and get cross. Please help me to share with my brother and for us to have a nice time celebrating your birthday. Amen.
Lucy Rose, age 7
‘Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out…to defend the needy and the poor’ (Proverbs 31:8-9). Lord, we ask that the voiceless throughout the world will know your comfort, protection and affirmation as beloved sons and daughters of God. Cause your Church not to merely defend its own rights, but to stand up for the rights of all who are oppressed and marginalised. Amen.
Malky Currie, designer, Christianity magazine
Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for the godly community at my church, and those across the Shetland Isles who know you. We pray today for the great youth work that goes on here, particularly for the youth groups and camps. May you reveal yourselfto people young and old this Christmas and beyond. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Matthew Laurenson, Burra Baptist Church, Shetland
Last year two of my friends were diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Within a few weeks of giving birth they were experiencing symptoms such as delusional beliefs, hallucinations, rapid mood swings and difficulty in communicating.PP affects 1 in 500 UK women post-delivery and is the biggest cause of maternal death in this country. Around four women will be battling the illness today; pray for them to know God’s love and healing power.
Lucinda van der Hart, journalist, Christianity magazine
Heavenly father, we thank you for all your wonderful blessings upon the United Kingdom. We pray today for your church.We pray for unity in the body of Christ. We pray for boldness and courage for our church leaders. Make our churches a house of prayer for all nations; help us to be filled with your spirit and to reach out with the love and compassion of Christ.
Pastor Agu Irukwu, Jesus House, London
O Dayspring from on high, who raised up your servant John Newton to enlighten your people with the message of amazing grace; grant us the courage to work for the freedom of all who live in unjust captivity and slavery and to scatter the darkness of those who live in self-condemnation and fear by the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Rt Rev Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Ruler of rulers, King of kings and Lord of lords, we ask that you would impart your wisdom to our Prime Minister, David Cameron, and to his cabinet. We pray for righteousness and justice to be the hallmarks of politics in this country, fuelled by compassion for all in need and conducted with integrity for the common good. Prince of peace, in your name we pray. Amen.
Sara Hyde, London
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, I am mindful before you, God, that many people will be struggling to gather enough pennies together for a celebratory meal. We pray today for the half a million people in the UK reliant on food assistance last year. Bless the work of those running food banks; move us to give to them generously this year. Amen.
Maria Rodrigues, producer and presenter, Premier Christian Radio
Lord Jesus, On this night we remember that, for love of us, you came in utter helplessness to share our lives so that we might have your life. Give us courage to live the life you offer us, And hope through the light you shine in our lives, Bless the people of Bethlehem, and all who live in the lands In which you lived and walked. Bring them peace. We ask for these gifts in your wonderful nameAmen.
Most Rev Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury