A Holiday Prayer Challenge
During the holiday season, our schedules are filled to the brim with travel and traditions. As believers, we typically begin this season with every intention to make Christ the center of our gatherings, and most importantly, the center of our hearts. However, our relationship with the Lord—specifically our time in prayer—can quickly fall to the “bottom of the Christmas list” as other holiday demands commandeer our thoughts and time.
Along with busy schedules, the holidays can additionally invoke a plethora of emotions—some positive and others less than ideal. Some years, we may acutely feel the loss of a loved one. Other times, we are filled with thankfulness for God’s attentive provision and care. The holidays rarely come without emotional highs and lows.
“Tis the season to be jolly”, yet many believers still experience deep depression throughout this time for various reasons.
David’s heart, placed on full display before the Lord, was one that experienced both ups and downs—similar to the feelings we encounter throughout the holidays. David’s prayers throughout the Psalms give testimony to a man who centered his thoughts and feelings on the Lord despite emotional circumstances. David sought complete union with the Father and pursued steadfast intimacy through prayer. This ultimately focused both his thoughts and feelings on God, Himself.
As the holiday season incites various emotions, try to take some time to pause and express your thoughts to the Lord by praying a specific Psalm. Instead of praying David’s exact words (which is also an excellent spiritual discipline), choose a Psalm that most closely mirrors the status of your own heart and rewrite it personally to the Lord.
If your heart is filled with praise, you could consider Psalm 145. If you’re going through deep despair, take a look at Psalm 88 and rewrite it to the Father. If you simply need to be reminded who You are, rewrite Psalm 139 in your own words.
This holiday season, my challenge—first to myself and also to you—is to take some time to rewrite a Psalm and then send it upwards as a love offering to the Lord. Be personal. Be creative. Be bold. Below is an example of a Psalm 139 in my own words.
Psalm 139 (In My Own Words)
You consider my life and are aware of all my movements.
You know why I do what I do even when I don’t realize my own motivation.
When I leave for work, You keep an eye on me. When I sleep, You can count the beats of my resting heart rate.
You involve Yourself in every dimension of my life. You listen to all the words spilling out from my heart to Your throne—the intended words and those less planned.
Your guiding hand gently nudges me to the left and right. My human mind lacks the capacity to grasp Your extensive perspective on everything.
Where on earth can Your Spirit not find me?
Where on earth can I not breathe the oxygen flowing out from Your throne? Your breath revives the metaphysical parts of who I am.
If I were to go to heaven, I’d see You. If I were to go to Sheol, I’d see You there too.
If I could fly with wings through the morning light and end up on the other side of the sea, Your guiding hand would direct my steps. You’d hold me with Your gentle yet firm strength.
Even darkness can’t bind You, so when I fear evil will destroy me, You grab particles of light and cast them into darkness to illuminate the impending night.
You designed my heart.
You actually made my mind.
Inside my mom, You developed both the physical and metaphysical parts of me.
I lack words to describe Your works, so I’ll compromise and explain Your wonders as breath-taking.
You immediately knew everything about me and meticulously wove together every component of my being. When I was growing in that hidden place, You looked at me—probably similar to how a father looks at his daughter when she walks down the aisle before he gives her away in marriage. This is how You saw me inside mom. This is how You see me each and every day.
You spoke over my life with Your order about the days to come. You recorded my waking moments before I walked through the rhythms of a day.
I can’t even imagine how extensive Your thoughts are for me. You must think about me constantly because I can’t begin to count the number of Your thoughts. If I tried to count your thoughts, the number would be more than sand on the seashore.
Father, continue to consider me—whom You designed. Challenge my thoughts. Put me on trial and help me understand my anxious ideas. Check to see if I am worshiping or idolizing anything besides You.
Direct and lead me along Your eternal path!
Allow the prayers of the Psalms to become your prayers this holiday season, and experience the all-surpassing wonder of God’s comfort and joy.