Christmas Makes Prayer Possible

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” -1 John 5:13-15

It’s not uncommon in our culture to hear words like “thoughts and prayers.” Related sentiments are often expressed with the best intentions and genuine care, especially following personal crisis or major catastrophe. But at times a sense of helplessness and hopelessness may lead to frustration with such words. When desires are not soon fulfilled the question may arise: What good does prayer really do?

The celebration of the birth of Jesus can also bring the birth of hope for such a question. The entire trajectory of this tiny baby’s life, ultimately leading to His death and astounding resurrection, was to show us who God is and make it possible to know Him very personally. That knowing includes being able to talk with Him anytime, expressing both fears and joys, needs and thanks.

In Jesus we see God act on our behalf, proving we can trust Him to act for us today. While we should take action when possible—either for ourselves or in the lives of others as God may even use us to respond to a request—prayer now becomes an extraordinary act in itself. This is communication with our very real God who has actually lived among us, experienced pain like us and can affect all the things we cannot. While the Lord makes very clear that His ways are not our ways, and He may not respond precisely when and how we expect, He does hear those who believe in Him and we can trust Him in any circumstance.

This year I’ve had the privilege to participate in some big prayer events in and around St. Louis, and I’ve clearly seen God respond to the prayers of His people in amazing ways. But we can also see this in simple, everyday communication as we trust the Lord and watch for His responses. We can begin to see He truly is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

While I am glad to pray for you anytime, my prayer for you this season is that you do trust in the name of Jesus, the Son of God who makes prayer possible, and experience the true comfort and joy of knowing and speaking with Him each day.

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