Redemptive Prayers Celebrating Christ’s Birth
By Kim Butts
One of the most wondrous of all miracles is how God sent His only Son into the world to redeem us. The literal meaning of "redeem" is "to obtain release by means of payment." Other meanings of redeem are: to compensate for, save, exchange, buy back, release, liberate, free, deliver and rescue. Jesus came to redeem us from the bondage of sinful lives. He came to bring deliverance from evil and injustice. By His birth, life and ultimate sacrifice upon the cross, Jesus Christ became our Kinsman-Redeemer. Take some time to read the book of Ruth with your family in order to understand the beauty of what God made possible for us.
According to the book of Ruth, four things are necessary in order for a kinsman to be a redeemer:
He must be the closest of kin (relatives) (Ruth 3:12). Jesus is our closest of kin through the incarnation (Rom. 8:3, Heb. 2:17, Phil. 2:7-8, Heb. 4:15).
He must beable to redeem (Ruth 4:4-6). Only Jesus has the power to redeem us from the death we deserve (2 Cor. 8:9, Heb. 1:2-3).
He must bewilling to redeem (Ruth 3:13). Jesus willingly went to the cross to redeem us (Mark 10:45, John 10:17-18).
Redemption is completed only when the price is paid completely (Ruth 4:7-11). Jesus has paid the full price to redeem us, but we must receive the gift of our redemption as God’s gift of grace to us (John 3:16).
God has redeemed us through our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus Christ. In the prophecies and the story of the birth of Jesus, we can see His hand at work to deliver us from sinful lives so that we might live forever with Him. Consider spending time praying with your family whenever you recognize God at work in you and in others. Consider how God desires to redeem men, women and children, and be open to the voice of the Spirit as He shows your family how to be a part of His continuing plan of redemption in the world. The Father has redeemed us for a purpose! Prayer is key to this plan, as is our willingness to be the answer to the prayers we pray. He wants intimacy with His people, and desires to use us to point lost people to the Kinsman-Redeemer. His plan includes equipping His people to minister to the lost, and also to those who are poor, orphaned, oppressed, widowed, imprisoned and marginalized so that the miracle of Christ’s birth can be made manifest in every life.
Consider these Scriptures as you pray together, and listen as the Spirit directs you to be part of God’s redemptive plan for all people. With each prayer, seek the heart of God and consider what He would have you do. Listen carefully with a willing heart. Is He calling you and/or your family to be the answer for someone, for another family, or in a situation? If so, ask Him how He wants you to respond and then quickly obey. Keep a family journal as God uses you in redemptive ways for the sake of other people. Do everything for His glory alone. If you are tempted to receive credit or thanks, try to do as much as you possibly can anonymously.
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned" (Isa. 9:2).
Pray that those who are living apart from Jesus Christ will be drawn to His light. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:22-24).
Pray that God might use you and your family to bring lost people into the kingdom of God. For example, take a prayerwalk through your neighborhood. If you see a need and God is moving in and through you, equipping you to meet that need, obey. Then, talk about the experience together.
"For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).
Pray that the Christ Child born in a manger will live in the reality of those who have lost hope.
Pray for people in nations who face persecution from the government for believing in Jesus. "The Lord redeems His servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him" (Psa. 34:22).
Pray for those who need counsel and wisdom from God.
Pray for those who need a powerful move of God in their lives.
Pray for those who need to know that the Father’s love endures forever.
Pray for those for whom peace seems far off or unattainable.
Pray that God will allow your family to demonstrate God’s hope to someone. Perhaps you could visit a nursing home, or a shut-in from your church.
"‘She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with Child and give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ – which means, ‘God with us’" (Matt. 1:21-23).
Pray for those who feel that God is far away right now to sense His nearness.
Pray for those who have turned away from God’s love so that they will turn their hearts back toward Him.
Pray for those who are lost in sin to recognize it and repentantly turn their hearts to Jesus. "Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey Your precepts" (Psa. 119:133-134).
Pray that God will show you a lonely person who needs a touch from Him.
"…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).
Pray for those who are homeless or without adequate housing.
Pray for those for whom there is no room – who feel alone and friendless.
Pray for women who must give birth in places without proper medical care or sanitary conditions.
Pray that every child will be wanted and cherished.
Pray for the unborn who have no place in the hearts of their earthly mothers and fathers: "This is what the LORD says – your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things…" (Isa. 44:24a).
Pray for adoptive parents to raise their children in a Christ-filled home.
Pray for those who minister to women considering abortion so that they will keep their children or give them to loving adoptive parents.
Pray for orphaned, abandoned or abused children to be placed into Christian homes where they will be treasured. "I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel" (Jer. 15:21).
Pray for God to use you in one of these situations. Perhaps He will call you to minister to the homeless, or in a women’s shelter or Crisis Pregnancy Center. He may show you something completely different. Pay attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified" (Luke 2:8-9).
Pray that those who are afraid will be comforted by the Holy Spirit.
Pray for those who have been marginalized or ignored by society. "Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love" (Psa. 44:26).
Pray for those who serve God in lowly and/or lonely places.
Pray that God will give you an opportunity to minister in a place that might make you uncomfortable. The people might seem strange or different, but God will equip you to allow the glory of the Lord to be shown through your lives.
"But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’" (Luke 2:10).
Pray for those who do not know the Good News – so that they will hear and receive it with great joy! "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to You – I, whom You have redeemed" (Psa. 71:23).
Pray that those who are afraid or angry because of injustice will have the opportunity to rejoice.
Pray for those who are suffering or in pain.
Pray for the sick people you know, or those you have heard about. "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s" (Psa. 103:2-5).
Pray that God will show you how to bring the joy of the Lord to someone who is sick or even dying. Sometimes God will ask you to do things that are uncomfortable, but remember to think not of yourselves, but of others.
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a Baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:11-12).
Pray that many will recognize that Jesus is Christ the Lord and their redeeming Savior. Ask the Father to open eyes to see the truth of Scripture and to open hearts to receive this Child as their Kinsman-Redeemer.
Pray for those who are abused and mistreated to be rescued and kept safe, wrapped in the arms of Jesus. "Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten Your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to Your promise" (Psa. 119:153-154).
Pray for those who are physically imprisoned to receive visitors who will minister the love of Jesus to them.
Pray for those who are spiritually imprisoned to be set free from the grip of the enemy.
Pray that God will show you how to minister to someone who is in jail or prison. Perhaps it will be through a visit, or a letter, or a Bible. Remember to allow this to be God’s direction rather than your own. He may call you to take a more difficult road than the easy ones you have in mind. Become willing vessels through which He can work to redeem those who need a touch from Him.
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests’" (Luke 2:13-14).
Pray that God will be praised and glorified throughout the earth! "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth" (Job 19:25).
Pray for God’s peace to rest upon those who do not have peace in their lives.
Pray for those who are hungry and thirsty – physically and spiritually.
Pray that God will show you how to help hungry people in your community. Ask Him to help you give not only physical food, but also spiritual food.
"When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them" (Luke 2:17-18).
Pray that once again, God’s people will be amazed at what God has done for them through His Son, Jesus!
Pray that you will see Jesus with new eyes, so that you will be compelled to tell others about Him. "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and myRedeemer" (Psa. 19:14).
Pray that God will give you an opportunity to share the story of Christ.
May the birth of the Christ Child, our Kinsman-Redeemer, bring you a renewed sense of joy and peace. Remember that no one is closer to us than the One who created us! He is able and willing to redeem us, and He has paid the price completely! Keith and Melody Green wrote a song with words that describe Jesus as our Redeemer: "There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son. Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One. Jesus, my Redeemer, Name above all names. Precious Lamb of God, Messiah; oh, for sinners slain. Thank You, oh my Father, for giving us Your Son…."