Christmas delight may not come readily, naturally or automatically for all people. But, award-winning writer, editor, and speaker Bob Hostetler said he believes everyone can "pray their way" to Christmas joy. He was the co-founding pastor of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He shared via Guideposts his three suggestive prayer types for this holiday season.
Prayer of Faith:
"The Gospel of Luke says that a whole bunch of angels appeared to a group of shepherds and promised 'good news of great joy' (Luke 2:10, KJV). But the joy was fulfilled only in those who believed the angels' words. We aren't told of any shepherd who was unimpressed or unbelieving. We just know of those who believed.
So pray for faith this holiday season-faith to believe in 'good news of great joy.'"
Prayer of Focus:
"Christmas joy is not so much a product of what you see, as it is where you look.
The Bible says after the angel announcement, the shepherds "hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger" (Luke 2:16, NIV). They looked in the right place. They found Jesus. And they found joy.
Where are you looking for joy this holiday season? From a nice Christmas bonus? A thoughtful gift? A visit? There's nothing wrong with any of those things, but they aren't likely to bring you joy.
But if you pray the prayer of focus, your prospects will improve. Pray something like, 'God, show me where to look, what to see. Let my focus be on You and on the joy You want for me.'"
Prayer of Praise:
"The story of the shepherds concludes with these words: 'The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.' (Luke 2:20, NIV).
Sounds like joy. And praise. Because they are related.
When you pour out your thanks and praise to God, something amazing happens. Your prayer for faith is answered. Your prayer for focus is answered. And you realize that the more you praise God the more joy you feel."
Hostetler was ordained to the ministry in 1980 by The Salvation Army.