I woke up this morning to a few snowflakes falling, now they have multiplied and looking out the window in our living room I feel like I am inside one of those old snow globes you shake. This seals the deal, it finally feels like Christmas is coming :) I don't know what you have been experiencing this month as you prepare for Christmas time. Perhaps, stress with work or school, sadness over a loved one you miss being with you during this time of year, busyness with buying gifts and attending Christmas parties, or even numbness to it all, just-not-feeling-it this year. For me, I have been experiencing a few weeks of disappointment. A few "didn't see that coming" unexpected circumstances have made me distracted during what has always been my favorite time of the year. For any of you who may be feeling disappointed or distracted today, I encourage you to seek God in the midst of your experiences. I have found joy in long prayer times lately. Sharing with God all the questions I have, all the whys and whens and wheres. As much as these past few weeks have been a struggle at times, the times of peace I have found have been in focused prayer pouring out my heart to my Heavenly Father in tears, with smiles, in joy and confusion. God hears us when we pray.
In Romans 12:2, God tells us to be faithful in prayer - "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer."
In Ephesians 6:18, the Apostle Paul encourages the Ephesians to pray in every situation/cirumstance - "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. with this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the Lord's people."
In Philippians 4:6-7, we are encouraged to pray when we are anxious - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we should, "Pray continually..."
James 5:13 says we should prayer in trouble and joy - "Is anyone among you in trouble? Let him pray. Is anyone among you happy? Let them sing songs of praise."
In Psalm 17:6 David prays to God with faith that God hears and answers prayer - "I call on you, my God, for you will answer me, turn your ear to me and hear my prayer."
In Matthew 6:6 Jesus teaches us how to pray, not only continually throughout our day, (I pray in my car, the grocery store, anywhere as people come to mind and as I need God's wisdom/comfort) but also, in quiet moments where we can focus all our attention and affection on God - "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
There are many more verses about prayer in the Bible and if you want to look them up I encourage you to go to www.biblegateway.com and do a keyword search on "pray."
Bottom Line: God desires us to call out to Him. He desires our praise for who He is, what He has done & can do (Mark 10:27 "...with God all things are possible"). And to pray for our requests for others and ourselves.
Whatever you are facing this season, remember the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus, who came as a Savior for all who would believe in him, who demonstrated His great love for us by dying for us on the cross, who showed his great power to conquer sin and death by His resurrection, and for all these reasons deserves our praise and prayers.
Enjoy the snowflakes :)