Recently I was asked to give the invocation at a public gathering for a Christmas event. I had time to reflect on what I might say for this Christmas prayer. As I considered the words and thoughts most commonly expressed in public prayers, I began to realize that our public prayers are often uttered so as to offend no one in the gathering.
But, this non-threatening approach to public prayer stands in stark contrast to the public prayers spoken by the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles of the Old and New Testaments and even Jesus Himself. Their public prayers were often uttered so as to offend everyone in the gathering!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for public prayer. I’m for acknowledging the sovereignty of God over the events and occasions of our public and private lives. Unfortunately, there’s often no fervency to our public prayers because we don’t want to offend anyone and, consequently, our prayers are uttered to no avail according to James!
Let our public prayers become public outcries for God’s righteousness and holiness to reign in our personal and collective lives!
Let our public prayers become entreaties for the power of God to sear and transform our hearts to cause us to renew and rededicate our lives to His plans and purposes in this world!
Let our public invocations be intended to actually invoke the presence of God into the event that we are praying over!
So, here’s the fervent, and I hope effective, Christmas prayer that I gave at this holiday gathering:
As we enter yet again into another Christmas season, let us again be reminded of the real story of Christmas–the God/child born in a manger, the Word that became flesh, revealing the love, joy and peace of God’s salvation to all the people of the earth.
And, as we gather today to celebrate this Christmas season with one another through food and fellowship, let the true Spirit of Christmas overcome us and commission and empower us to share this real Christmas story with others, this “good news of great joy which will be for all the people, that there has been born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
May these holidays become holy days in which we receive and experience anew the love, joy and peace of God’s great salvation in Christ and rededicate our lives to your work on this earth.
May Christ and His great gift of salvation be honored in this gathering today and in all our gatherings during this Christmas season.
In Christ’s name we pray and beseech your Presence to prevail in these proceedings today.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be… holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. (2 Timothy 3:1,5; NASB)