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7 Christmas Prayers everyone should pray

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  Did you know that many of the key characters in the Christmas story left  prayers for us to read ? They were overwhelmed, amazed, frightened, and thankful. They were like us, really. They witnessed Emmanuel "God with us," just like we do. They had to stop in their stress and anxiety and notice God's wonder. And let that experience change them. Below are 7 prayers from that first Christmas.  Plus one from me.  They all address the issues we feel on a regular basis. The first 7 prayers are by the Christmas story characters themselves. Read their stories. Pray the prayers. Then watch and wait--God will fill you with wonder. I just know it! He really does wonder well. Prayer #1:  Mary--"How is this possible?"--a request for understanding ( Lk. 1:21-28 ) Prayer #2:  Mary--"Glory to God!"--a song of praise ( Lk. 1:21-55 ) Prayer #3:  Joseph--"What should I do?"--a prayer of grief and confusion ( Mtt. 1:18-20 ) Prayer #4:  Wisemen--"Where is

Praying over the Michigan shooting tragedy

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  Heavenly Father, My heart is grieved at the loss of life in this recent school shooting.  I pray for your Spirit to comfort the families of the four high school students who needlessly lost their lives this week in Oxford, Michigan. I ask for your power of conviction and repentance to fall on Ethan Crumbly, whose soul and mind must surely be under evil influence. I pray for him to find you. I pray for his mental health and the mental health of America's children. I pray for school authorities to make mental health a priority in dealing with students, parents, and teachers. I pray for Ethan's parents , who have also been arrested. Lord, speak to them during this time about who you are and how they need you. I pray that the truth of their involvement will be discovered.  While the country and the town of Oxford is grieving and angry, Lord, I pray that hatred and retaliation don't take over. Give justice to these grief-stricken families and wisdom to the authorities. I ask t

Praying for a change in abortion laws

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  Lord God, You are not surprised by the case before the Supreme Court or the people on either side of the issue of abortion and the right to life . You love all of us equally. You don't condemn the woman who aborts her child or the lobbyist who fights for a woman's right to choose; you don't condemn the conservative who shouts hateful remarks about Planned Parenthood or people who shout back.  But you love them equally. You grieve over the hate and the misrepresentation of your love and your law. You weep over the loss of life. You grieve with those who will experience the trauma of taking another person's life, even if that life cannot survive on its own. So Lord, without judgment of either side, I lift up this issue of life and love. I pray for our country to value what you value over political leanings and policies. We are not conservatives or liberals--we are children of God, created in your image. We are on this earth to bring people to Jesus, not list all their

Peace and getting closer to God

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Oh, Lord, I pray and ask for your presence . Draw near to me, to be with me in my troubles, to comfort me in my sadness. Is that a silly prayer? It's helpful to me, but I guess it's not accurate. You never leave me. You're always present. I'm the one who wanders, who gets lost , who struggles to find my way back to you. I feel the unrest, anxiety , and turmoil of being a soul out of sync with your Spirit. When I feel tossed about, it's not because you're not here. It's because I've taken my eyes off you; I'm looking at the storms all around me; I'm asking for peace while I welcome chaos. Lord, I fix my eyes on you. There is peace in your presence because you are faithful . Everything else is a wicked and pointless pursuit of self. Forgive me and change me, O God. I'm yours. Heal me,  use me, guide me, restore me, change me. In Jesus' name, Amen. "I have sen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to h