The Christmas season is filled with incredible opportunity for us, both individually, and as a church. Even in today's culture, the Christmas season still pulls at the hearts of people and creates a longing, a curiosity, and a receptivity to the gospel.
Individually, that means that opportunities exist for us to start conversations and engage people in a dialogue about Jesus in ways that may not exist at other times of the year. For my family, we take advantage of this by baking Christmas cookies for all of our neighbors and delivering them to each of their homes. Who can resist a good plate of Christmas cookies delivered by cute kids and a family who just wants to say Merry Christmas? This simple step has opened the door to so many gospel-centered conversations. The Christmas season provides a ton of these opportunities.
As a church, God has given us incredible opportunities in the Christmas season. Around 8,000 will attend our Christmas show, and another 8,000 will come to our Christmas Eve services. That means 16,000 people (not counting those who attend Sunday mornings) will have a chance to clearly hear the truth about Jesus and to respond to it. I can't even begin to articulate how incredible that is; that God has made it possible for us to share with so many people in this season. Many of those in attendance already know and follow Jesus, and will be here to celebrate! But many more will walk through our doors having no background of faith, simply to meet a desire for nostalgia, tradition, or just entertainment. In that moment, they will come face to face with the reality of who Jesus is.
So, with that season directly in front of us, I'd ask you to be praying! God is providing so much opportunity before us in this season and inviting us in!
The Bible reminds us of the importance of prayer in supporting the work that God has involved us in. Ephesians 6:18-19 says "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” John 14:13-14 says, "I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Here are some ways that you can be specifically praying for the season ahead:
1. Pray for your circle of influence
God has placed people in your life and wants to use you to impact them. You have friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family who need to hear the gospel and see it demonstrated. Would you pray for these people and for God to use you to impact them in this season?
- Ask God to reveal to you the people that He has placed in your path.
- Ask Him to give you opportunities to share Christ with them or begin a Christ-centered conversation and relationship with them.
- Ask God to soften their hearts and make them receptive to the gospel.
- Pray that God would give you the courage to share an invite this season, whether it be to the show or one of the Christmas Eve services.
- If opportunity arises, ask those in your circle if it would be ok for you to pray for them. This can sometimes open up great conversations and demonstrate love to them.
2. Pray for "Treasure of Heaven"
We know that there will be individuals attending our Christmas performance who don't know Jesus and our prayer is that God would begin to soften their hearts to hear what He wants to say to them. Would you pray along these lines?
- Ask God to use each presentation to clearly communicate the gospel.
- Pray for those who are a part of the presentation. Pray for health, for endurance, and for clarity of mind as they engage the audience.
- Pray for those who will attend, and for the people who will be bringing them.
3. Pray for Christmas Eve
On December 24, we'll have eight worship gatherings at The Chapel; four at the CrossPoint Campus and three at the Lockport Campus and one at our Cheektowaga Campus. In each of these, we'll have a chance to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the life He lived, the death He died, and the resurrection that means salvation and identity for us. Would you pray for these gatherings?
- Ask God to use each of the eight gatherings in an incredible way.
- Pray for those that will be leading and communicating in those gatherings; that God would protect them and use them to celebrate and share the truth.
- Pray that the people in attendance will be receptive and will respond to what they hear; that their lives would be transformed by Jesus.