Pray Your Way to Christmas Peace

How to let go of fear, panic and doubt this Advent season and turn over control to God.

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Close up of a silver Christmas ornament hanging on a branch of a Christmas tree.

The Advent season is upon us, the period after Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas in which we anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus, our Lord.

It’s a special time of year, a sacred time, a simple time. But these days, it usually ends up being a time of busyness and stress and chaos—even panic.

If that’s true for us, I bet it was even truer for the central figures in the first Christmas. Especially THE central figure, at least until the baby Jesus arrived. Mary.

After all, the angel Gabriel appeared to her with the news that her life was about to be turned upside down—irrevocably—and yet her response was, I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me as you have said. (Luke 1:38, NIV)

Wow. Somehow, she found a way to let go of fear. And doubt. And control. She surrendered herself, her plans, her future, her hopes and dreams, to God.

Though much has changed since that fateful annunciation, that is still the way to Christmas peace—letting go of fear, doubt and control. And the only way I know how to do that is through prayer. Perhaps repeated prayer. Maybe even unceasing prayer.

So let me suggest a method of prayer that might just lead you into Christmas peace. It involves doing something with your hands. Just as when kneeling, you bow your heart, this is a way to reflect with your hands what you pray in your heart.

Start by holding your hands in your lap with your palms up, open, to symbolize that you’re presenting your requests to God. You’re bringing to Him the things you’re afraid of, things you’re worried about. In your mind’s eye, put those things in your hands. Then pray something like this:

Father, I come to You today in Jesus’ name,
with these things,
these cares and worries in my hands.
I hold them here before you.
My fear. My future. My success and my failure. My hopes and my dreams. My... [fill in the blank].

Take your time. Name it. Name your worry, your fear. Name the person, name the situation. Tell God what you’ve been holding onto.

Then take a deep breath and turn your hands over. Picture all of those things you were holding now falling out of your hands. Then pray something like this:

Father, I release all these things into Your lap.
I surrender these things to You.
I let go of them.
I pray, Lord, let Your will be done.
I trust You, Lord, that You know what’s best, that You’ll do what’s best.
I let it go.
I let it go.

Finally, when you have a sense in your spirit that your hands are empty, turn your palms up again and pray something like this in your heart:

Father, I now have empty hands.
I am ready to receive whatever You want to give me today.
Strength for my weaknesses.
Peace for my fears.
Hope for my future.
Forgiveness for my sins.
Grace to forgive those who’ve sinned against me.
Lord, I look to You today to meet all of my needs,
to fill my hands and my life with only those things you choose or allow.
Guide my steps into the future You’ve designed for me.
Bring me to the celebration of Your Son’s nativity in peace.
Use me to bring glory to Your name, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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