The season of Advent culminates in the great feast of Christmas. This 5 week season is marked as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the ‘advent’ of Jesus Christ—literally, his ‘coming’. When reflecting on Christ’s ‘coming’ we look back to his first coming as the baby of Bethlehem and we look forward to his final coming as the Lord of all creation.
Our prayers this month are therefore aimed at preparing ourselves for the Return of Jesus Christ. Below are 7 prayers for you to use throughout this Advent Season.
Advent Week 1 - Prayer for Hope Father God, every word in scripture points to the gift of hope that we have in Christ Jesus. The old testament is full of glimpses of your plan to redeem your people and restore them into a relationship with you. Help us o truly begin to see and understand just how great your love for us is when we read the story of Jesus’ birth. Help us to see that you are with us. Nothing is too difficult, too messy, or too dirty for you. Thank you that Jesus came to give us the gift of eternal life that only you, our Heavenly Father, can give. Kindle that hope in us. Grow its roots deep in the first coming of Jesus that we would be ready for this second coming. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen.
Advent Week 2 - Prayer for Peace Lord, in a season when every heart seems to be happy and light, many of us are struggling with the heaviness of life. We know that tragedy arrives as innocent victims suffer, and an inner voice whispers, “Be afraid!” We need your peace, Jesus. We confess that our hearts are too often filled with wonder of a different kind: wondering when the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up hope in the gospel again. This Advent, make it real in our hearts. Your name is still called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” You are no longer a babe in the manger. You are Lord of lords and King of kings. And we still celebrate You as Lord—this Christmas and always.
Advent Week 3 - Prayer for Joy This third week of Advent, we remember that the good news of Jesus’ birth has the power to bring us great joy this Christmas season. Our joy isn’t dependent on what is going on in our life, in our world, or the people that we are with. Lord, we know that no earthly thing can ever give us complete joy. Our joy comes from you. That joy that flooded the hearts of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the hosts of heaven, and Mary and Joseph is the joy that still has the power to overwhelm our hearts with rejoicing. Father, you offer that same joy to us now as we know you and recognize Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. You gave us a reason to celebrate when you gave us the unspeakable gift of Jesus Christ. In him, you came to dwell among us. He went to Calvary’s cross for us. He overcame death and rose from the dead for us. He forgives our sins and gives us eternal life. Hallelujah! We know that enduring and substantial joy doesn’t come from our jobs, our family, our relationships, our finances, or our success. Our joy doesn’t come from what we have on earth or who we are with. Our joy is only found in the gift that you gave us that first Christmas in Jesus Christ. Please nurture our joy, encompassed in our Saviour, King Jesus. Flood our heart with joy this Advent season as we reflect on the good news of Jesus’ birth. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.
Advent Week 4 - Prayer for Love Heavenly Father, Christmas is founded upon your love. You sent your gift of pure love to us that first Christmas. Love descended from heaven to be born of a virgin. Love lay in the scratchy hay of a manger in a meagre barn in Bethlehem. All of your love, God, was robed in the delicate skin of a baby and wrapped in swaddling clothes. During this final week of Advent, help us to reflect on the magnitude of love that was made manifest in Jesus. We remember that Paul prayed for the Ephesians, that they, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,” so be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Eph 3:14-21). May this be also true for us. Thank you, Lord, for loving us enough to send Jesus. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.
An Advent Prayer for The Lord to Come This Advent, Lord, come to the manger of my heart. Fill me with Your presence from the very start. As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given, Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven. The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever. You came as a baby born in a manger. Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree, Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me. Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus' birth, When He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth. Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night. And angels announced, "Into your darkness, God brings His Light." "Do not be afraid," they said, to shepherds in the field. Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield. Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call. Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all. Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice. Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise. Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush. In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush. This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart. Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part. Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day. Keep me close to You, Lord. It's in Your wonderful Name I pray.
~Renee Swope, “The Manger of My Heart”
Want to grow further in prayer?
Eugene Peterson, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”.
Since Eugene Peterson wrote this spiritual formation classic more than forty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been inspired by its call to deeper discipleship. Our society is still obsessed with quick fixes. But Peterson's time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same-a long obedience in the same direction.