The end-of-year holidays are upon us; it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Unless it’s not…
For some, the holidays are something to look forward to all year. But to others, it is a time of sadness. Whether the holidays bring stress, painful memories, or fills your heart with the joy of the season, it is certainly an emotional time of year.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 reads, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” For those of us who are filled with the joy of the season, it can be easy to praise God. But for our neighbors who are struggling through this time of year, it can be hard to find a reason to give thanks during a time that reminds them of loved ones lost, financial issues, or broken relationships.
At the Mission, the men, women and children are usually the latter. They are grateful to have a place to stay, but negative feelings can be brought to the surface as they wish for a ‘normal’ holiday spent with friends and loved ones. Please keep these individuals and families in your prayers this holiday season. If you are unsure exactly how to lift them up to the Lord, the prayer below can be a good place to start.
When Holidays Hurt
For those who are grieving, Lord, we pray that you would comfort them and provide a peace that passes all understanding during the holiday season. When they feel the pangs of loss in their heart, may you show them that they are never alone and that you are the great provider.
For those who are lonely, Lord, we ask that you wrap your comforting arms around them and that they would feel your warm, loving presence. Help them to reach out to you, O God, when they feel abandoned by things of this world, that they would find your everlasting peace.
For those who are sick or recovering, Lord, we ask that you, as the Great Healer, touch them and take away their pain and sickness. Put your hands into the hands of medical professionals and guide them according to your will, Father. Please quiet the hearts of family who sit by their loved ones who are sick and hurting; may you comfort them with the knowledge that you are in control and are the God of miracles.
For those battling addiction, Lord, we pray that you curb their desire for destructive substances and redirect that energy into a healthy relationship with you. We also lift up all of the family members and friends of those whose lives are being upturned because of the opiate and heroin epidemic. Please heal those who are hurting because of these drugs and bring help to all who need it, Lord.
For those who are struggling with financial hardship, Lord, we ask that you provide for all their needs. Please put generosity on the hearts of those with the opportunity to give to those in need. If there are people who need help that are afraid to speak up, please give them the courage to ask for help and put someone in their path to provide the resources that they need, Father.
For those plagued by family tension and broken relationships, Lord, we pray that your grace and understanding would abound in these homes. Please heal the hearts of those who have been hurt by the words and actions of others and replace negative feelings with the peace and joy that only you can bring.
For those that are just plain exhausted by the season, Lord, that they would not be plagued with worry and unrealistic expectations for themselves and their families. I ask that you would give them rest and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all your children are perfect in your eyes, Father.
For those in unsafe living conditions, Lord, please provide a hedge of your heavenly protection around them. For children in these conditions we ask that you pull them close to you and guard their minds and bodies from the damage that can be done in these situations. For those living outside we pray that they will be safe and make wise decisions as the weather gets colder and colder throughout the next few months.
For those with insufficient or unreliable access to food, Lord, I lift them to you. Provide them with the resources they need to survive along with the food of the spirit.
For the spiritually destitute, Lord, make yourself known to them. You are the Great Provider and without you we would have nothing. Please be a light in the lives of those who do not know you as their personal Savior and put people in their path that can witness to them. You are the God of love and hope; let us all be witnesses to everyone we meet today and during the whole holiday season.
For those carrying guilt, shame, and other destructive emotions in their hearts, Lord, I ask that you mend their wounds and heal them. For, no matter what we have done or ever will do, you made the ultimate sacrifice for us all starting with your son’s birth on the very first Christmas. Please let this time of year bring hope to those who are hurting.
I pray for all your children during the holidays, Lord. Help me to be your hands and feet on earth. To you be all the glory.