“Keeping His Presence Among the Presents” will be a series of posts about ways to keep Christ in Christmas.  I’d love to hear your ideas and traditions for keeping His presence among the presents, too!   You can respond at this site with a comment, or reach me by email at ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com  

Well, it’s the Monday before Thanksgiving, and since the local schools are out on Wednesday, this just gives us two days to get ready for Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season!  Let the busyness begin!  

With only two days and much to do, our weekly prayer group opted to pray at home on our own instead of gathering like we usually do on Monday mornings.  With schools out on Wednesday, our Bible study is canceled, too.  Already the busyness of the holidays is affecting our usual schedules and routines as we excitedly prepare for the holiday season to come.  And this is just the beginning!!

Sooooo…..Before we get too far into the holiday craziness, let’s stop for a moment to gather ourselves and put things in proper perspective by taking a moment to pray.  The first thing to do to keep Christ’s presence among the presents, is to seek His presence through prayer.  Before hurriedness overcomes helpfulness; cleanliness becomes more important than godliness; and we go from being people of grace to acting more like runners of a race –  let’s pause to pray. 

Slowly close your eyes – start taking slower, deeper breaths –  and allow yourself to push all distractions, worries, mental to-do lists, stresses and anxieties from your mind.  Let the thoughts of your heart take over the thoughts of your mind, and lift your heart to the Lord.  Years ago I was taught to pray by ACTS.  I’ll share that way of praying with you, too.

A:  Adore    Begin by giving adoration to God, exalting the Lord, praising Him!   “Dear God, You are so awesome!”

C: Confess    Confess your thoughts, worries, admissions of guilt or wrong-doing   “Lord, forgive me.  I try to do too much on my own (sometimes I simply try to do too much!), and put my will before Your will.   I get distracted and lose focus of what really matters.  I get frustrated and act more of my ‘self” than of  ‘the Spirit’.  I love my family, but find myself getting impatient and taking my frustrations out on them.”

T: Thanks     Give thanks to God for your blessings, His provisions, His presence in your life, for being a forgiving and loving God    “Thank You for being there for me.  Thank You for hearing my prayers, tending to my needs, helping me through my days, and most of all for being so merciful, gracious, loving and forgiving.  Thank You for Your provisions.  May we learn to be content knowing You give us just enough, and not strive for things that are beyond Your will for us to have or do.  Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Lord and Savior, that above all else we can be forgiven of our sins, and through Him be welcomed into a glorious eternity with You. 

S: Supplication    After humbling yourself before the Lord in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving – go before Him with your hopes, needs and desires, confident in knowing the Lord hears and answers our prayers, and confident in knowing you can put your trust in Him.   “Oh, Lord, You know I have a crazy day ahead of me with much that needs to be done.  Please be with me in all that I do.  Help me to follow Your lead, even when Your way takes me away from what I had planned.  Help me see the beauty in the blessings all around me and not get hung up on people and things that frustrate me. Help me to just let it go when drivers are rude and inconsiderate.  Help me make situations better when I can.  And please be with my family, loved ones, church family and friends.  Protect us from harm and evil.  Be with my husband in his tasks and my children in their schools and personal lives.  Help me to be a woman of grace; and please be with me that I might bless You by blessing others. In Jesus precious and holy name I pray.  Amen.”

 “Amen” is not fancy prayer-speak for “the end”…like I used to think.  lol.   It means, “I agree” or “It should be so.”   It’s a way of verbally sealing the prayerful letter you just mentally penned to God. 

And speaking of prayer-speak…there is no such thing!  Just speak from your heart.  Some people are eloquent in their prayers, others are more ‘ordinary’.   Some people pray endlessly.  Others accomplish their prayers in brief, succint, to-the-point ways.  Some pray out loud.  Others are silent.  It doesn’t matter how.  There is no right or best way!  God just wants you to pray! 

An added note on that, though…if you find yourself praying while you drive, please pray with your eyes open!  

Whatever your situation, whatever your day, take care of first things first by taking time to pray.  – Renee  (hey, even my name rhymed!) 

And don’t let busyness be an excuse or distraction to keep you from prayer.  I think it was Martin Luther who said something like this:  When I am busy, then I pray two hours instead of one.   

God bless you!