Christmastime can be extremely difficult for those who have suffered a death or loss. Rather than bringing tidings of great joy, Christmas ushers in reminders and painful memories.
What if you could see grief on a map? I have a feeling all across the globe, we would see millions of tiny specks representing those who are dealing with some kind of loss.
In our continent alone—from Texas to Florida to Puerto Rico to Las Vegas to California and to Mexico— the hurt would expand with each person affected to the people they’re connected with, leaving none untouched by the events of 2017.
The loss we have suffered in 2017 means there is a great need for prayer.
What does prayer do? Who should we pray for? How can we pray?
What Does Prayer Do?
In order to understand more about what prayer can do, we must understand more about God. Biblically speaking, God is a personal being. When we pray, we are reaching out and communicating with God. Not only is God personal, He is all loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy, and wise. He knows what’s best for us.
This means that no prayer is too great for God, but also that no prayer is too small for Him.
“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
James 5: 13-16
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18
Who Should We Pray for and How
The correct answer is anyone and everyone. But all of us know someone who is dealing with something difficult and is in need of specific prayers.
Scripture is the perfect way to pray.
- Pray for those who have experienced loss or tragedy (Matthew 5:4).
- Pray for those who are lonely (Psalm 25).
- Pray for those who are incarcerated or a loved one is incarcerated (Ephesians 1:7).
- Pray for those who do not have a personal relationship with God’s son, Jesus Christ. (John 3:17)
- Pray for food pantries and local homeless shelters (Proverbs 22:9).
- Pray for our churches and godly leaders and their families, for much is expected of them (Galatians 6:9).
- Pray for those who are suffering from illness (Psalm 6:2,3).
Prayer can make a profound difference in our world. But it is up to us to humbly and regularly seek the face of God.
Who is the Spirit leading you to pray for?
Please feel free to put your prayer requests in the comments below. Do you have something to add to the list of those we should pray for?
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Beckie — this is so true and difficult too!
I just received a note from a person who read my Christmas Tradition post and said Christmas is a difficult time because Her son died on Christmas. There are so many hurting people and we need to be able to recognize and respond in love and try to present the Lord. Thanks for your post. Del
Del, I wrote this post after attending the funeral yesterday of a friend from our couple’s small group Bible study. She was only fifty and fought valiantly against breast cancer.
I’m glad you found this post helpful. My hope and prayer is for some peace and comfort that only Christ can bring for those experiencing loss the holiday season.
Great post, Beckie. That’s a good and needed prayer list for the church. What an eye-opening thought: “What if you could see grief on a map? I have a feeling all across the globe, we would see millions of tiny specks representing those who are dealing with some kind of loss.”
Karen, as a Pastor’s wife, you may be able to think of a few more to add to this list.
Blessings to you and yours this Christmas!
Thanks for bringing awareness to this. I know those struggling with depression can also find the close succession of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years particularly difficult.
Brian, yes, thanks for bringing up those with depression. We need to pray for them as well.
Blessings to you!
Christmas isn’t a happy time for so many. It is especially hard for us as Christmas Day was my father’s birthday. Yes, I can certainly rise above it with the help of family and little ones all around, but it will always be a bittersweet time for me.
Let us pray for all who are alone and lonely this season.
Thanks for this reminder, Beckie! Blessings!
Martha, I understand feeling the loss and grieving that “open” seat at the dinner table during the holidays. I miss my sweet mom. I pray that God fills your heart with only loving memories and joy this Christmas.
Great post Beckie! I know a lot of people who have suffered personal loss, but I didn’t even realize how large scale of loss our country has suffered in 2017, and how much mourning this nation is going through this season. I will screenshot your list of prayer ideas and scriptures. If you have time, please pray for my friend Rob who has cancer and only several months to live. We are still hoping for a miracle! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thank you for this reminder to pray for those who are hurting!
Thanks, Heather. Merry Christmas to you and yours.