Hello, this is Matt Slick from the Matt Slick Live Podcast, where I defend the Christian faith and lay out our foundations of the truth of God's Word. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds.
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And now, here's James. Oh, I am excited about today's Encouraging Prayer and where we are going in the days to come. You know, we're talking about Christmas prayers today. And if that sounds familiar to you, it's because we've done it before.
A couple of years ago, we had a whole series called The Five Christmas Prayers that was very popular. And today, well, guess what? There's more.
But wait, there's more. That's funny because we do hear a lot of marketing this time of year, but oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, that's where we have to stop, right? I mean, this is about getting our heads above all that. And I and I absolutely love this time of year, Robbie, because of the reminder it gives us of all that Jesus is.
God himself come down to us. So for the rest of the days leading up to Christmas, we're going to look at three more Christmas prayers out of God's Word. And here's the first and I have a drum roll, please. Oh, so you're the little drummer boy.
Christmas prayer number one. Here we go. No, wait, wait. I got ahead of myself.
We have to work up to this, Robbie, to set a little background. Oh, I see what you did there, James. It sounds to me like you were one of those families that made everyone wait to open their Christmas presents, right?
Oh, man, that was the worst. But here's where we're going. This is what Matthew says about the Christmas story as it unfolds. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means God with us.
Wow, that really is the Christmas story in a nutshell. So, you know, where does that prayer part come in? Well, it all has to do with one of the names of Jesus, the one here, of course, Immanuel, God with us. And it starts by just thanking him for being that. Thank you, Jesus, for being with me, for being with us.
Thank you for your promise that you always will be. But that isn't the Christmas prayer yet. It just kind of builds up to it.
And it's a really good place to go. Because if you just start by thinking about how God didn't have to do what he did when he came to us, it helps you get your heart right. You know, I like what John wrote. This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son, right?
Yeah, that's it. And there's also the thought behind all of this of his Spirit with us. Because Jesus did tell us that he would be with us always.
We really need to look at what that means. And when he talked about his Spirit, he said that he wouldn't leave us, he'd come to us. So now he isn't just beside us, he's within us when we receive him through his Spirit, closer than we know. And we need to realize this isn't just some theological construct that has little application to our lives.
This is everything. I think we need to take it to heart in the most practical way to rest in him, to accept the truth that he really is there, because, oh, we can take comfort in that. We really do, because the most challenging thing about this time of year is distraction. It's almost like the devil plays this bait and switch on us. It's all supposed to be about Jesus. But presence, ho ho ho, in mistletoe, right?
Yeah, yeah, that's exactly it. I mean, it's the classic case of, look over here, just think about all of these shiny objects. And if we're not careful, we can be so distracted, and we just get stressed out. And let's face it, Christmas is a stressful time of year for a lot of people, because they lose their hope.
And it was never meant to be that way. And that's why we need so much to come back to that place of prayer, that place where we, as one Christmas hymn put it, rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing, you know, where we really let God in. Because even in a world like this, he's here. He is Emmanuel God with us. He's near. And so we come to the first Christmas prayer. You were wondering when I'd get there. Which is simply, Lord Jesus, help me to be with you.
Darrell Bock Oh, I really like that. Because just think about, you know, what we so often—oh, I didn't say any of that right, so I'll try it again. I really like that, because just think about what we see so often, or maybe do sometimes. Have you ever gone to a restaurant and you see a family sitting nearby, and they're all sitting together and having dinner, but no one is looking at each other? They're just all looking at their cell phones?
So the truth is, they're not really with each other. And we do that to God sometimes, don't we? I know I do. We get so busy. We want him to come into our lives and bless us. But we're not present with him.
David Zilber Yeah, right. I mean, help me to be with you works really well, that prayer, not just at this time of year, but all the year around. And, you know, I like putting that together with a prayer that we mentioned earlier. Thank you for being with me, Jesus.
Help me to be with you. Because if we're with him, it's always going to make things better. If we have a tough time during the season, it will be better.
If we enjoy it, we're going to celebrate it all the more. Darrell Bock Oh, that's so true. We really need to pray this way, because, you know, we need him so deeply, and he's there for us.
David Zilber Yeah, yeah. And that reminds me of something from the Christmas hymn of Little Town of Bethlehem that Phillips Brooks wrote. And we've talked about this many times before. He had this real sense of Jesus being with him. And the older he got, the more real this became to him. And, of course, he writes in that hymn, Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in. So it's good to, you know, come down to that place where we humble ourselves and say, Jesus, help me to be less filled with myself. Please fill me with more of you.
Help me to be, just be, with you. Darrell Bock You know, I think that leaves us for the great question as we wrap up today, James. David Zilber What's that? Darrell Bock We think about the first Christmas and how there was really no room for him at the end. But is there room in my heart for him this Christmas?
David Zilber Yeah, that's what being with him is all about, isn't it? Making room to let him in, making room for him. So, Robbie, would you wrap us up with a prayer that we could all do that?
Darrell Bock Gladly. Lord Jesus, it's so hard during this time of year to not be distracted. Lord, it is our prayer that you would help us to follow these instructions, to realize your presence and make room, to prepare room in our hearts, that we're ready and wanting you to take part in all that is the celebration of your life, of your sacrifice, of your coming to earth for us. Help us to truly enter into this season like none we had before to make more room for you than ever before. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Darrell Bock Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray.
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