Christmas Prayer

This is from the Carol Service at which I preached on Sunday at St. Bart’s in Bath. I felt this prayer was very helpful:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Wonderful Counsellor, we pray that you would give your counsel and wisdom to our government this winter, and to the leaders of the unions and our essential services; that you would guide them in the pursuit of the resolution of disputes and the achieving of fair settlements in these economically challenging times. 

Mighty God, we pray for those in our country who will go hungry this Christmas, who will be cold this Christmas, who will be homeless this Christmas, who will be hopeless this Christmas; we pray for those trying desperately to reach this country at such great risk to themselves. May they know your mighty love as they seek to make hard choices; may they know your presence in their lives, not just as mighty God, but as the one who had nowhere to lay his head, one who knew what it is to be a refugee, and who is intimately close to them in all they experience. And as we pray for them we thank you for those who seek to reach out to them with your love and respond to their needs in your name: for those who run food banks, soup kitchens, crisis shelters, refugee centres, those who seek to make your love visible in your name. 

Mighty God, we pray for those who will be hungry, cold, homeless, stateless, hopeless, throughout the world this Christmas, and for those who seek to respond to their needs in your name. In particular, we thank you for the work of Tear Fund, as they seek to serve the poorest communities in the world in your name, to love them in practical ways as brothers and sisters, and to bring them the good news of hope that is the message of Christmas.  

Everlasting Father, Father of all compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, this Christmas time we pray for all who aresad: for the lonely, for those separated from those they love, for those for whom this will be the first Christmas following bereavement. You came to the world you love, to the people you created in your love, to redeem our lives from sadness and tears. May those for whom we pray know the wonder of your presence this Christmas as the everlasting Father who has upheld and carried them since they were born, and who, even to their old age and grey hairs is the Father who will sustain them and rescue them; may they know the strength of your everlasting arms upholding them. 

Prince of Peace, we pray for those who know no peace this Christmas time. We pray most fervently for an end to war in Ukraine, for peace in that land, for peace in the hearts of those who suffer in that land and far from their homeland.  

Prince of Peace, we pray for all those who know no peace: for the anxious,  

the fearful, those walking in the darkest of valleys where no light seems to shine. May your light, which no darkness can overcome, shine in their hearts as they hear the message of the good news of certain hope this Christmas time. 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.  

When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman,  

to redeem us, that we might be adopted into his family.  

Loving God, have mercy on us this evening;  

open our hearts that we might receive the gift you offer us  

of a place in your family. 

May we, and, all those for whom we have prayed,  

know the comfort and hope of Emmanuel this Christmas,  

God with us, God with them,  

as Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Amen.

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay