It’s the holiday season – which comes with all sorts of feeling some positive, but also some that are pretty overwhelming when we think about being with our families. Perhaps even reading the word “family” brought a level of angst to you – I get it, families can be messy. Or maybe your family is AMAZING and you can’t wait to hang out.

Either way, here are three ways you can pray for your family before your big Christmas gathering:

  1. Surrender your family

As we approach the holiday season, let me offer a prayer that I learned from John Eldridge on the Pause App:

“Lord, I give everyone and everything to you.

As you think about your family, pause and consider – what or who are you carrying as you approach the holidays? How do you feel about them? What do you feel as you name these things? 

Now, one by one, release them to God. Acknowledge your emotions before a God who made you an emotional being (even though the emotions don’t drive) and release them to God. The Psalms show a beautiful picture of coming before God in a pretty raw fashion and bringing all we are and feel to Him. 

Within this prayer is an acknowledgement that we are not God and we can trust Him to carry what weighs us down within our families. We can surrender to His will and acknowledge that His ways are higher than ours. (Is 55:8-9) He may not always answer in the way we would like but we can trust that once we’ve surrendered it to God – His able hands will carry it and we don’t have to anymore. Even as I write this I feel a deep exhale – my soul needs to remember that – Perhaps daily.”

  1. Thank God for them

Once we surrender, we spend time thanking God for our family – acknowledging all the ways God has blessed you and what He has done over the last year. As you wrote those Christmas letters about your immediate family, there were moments to look back and remember. Perhaps you posted those a while ago, pull it up and go through each memory and milestone and thank God for them. If you have Christmas letters from other members of the family that you gather with, pull them out and pray over them. Acts 17:28 says in Him we live and move and have our being. If a kid did great at sport, God enabled that. If someone got to go on an epic trip, He provided and created the magnificence that was enjoyed. If someone pulled through a health crisis, you get the picture. God made all these things possible. So take a moment to thank God for all He’s done in and through your family.

  1. Put Jesus back in His place

With all the festivities, events, lights, gifts, and dinners, it’s easy to get distracted by what Christmas is really about. It’s about the Creator of the whole universe stepping into what He created as the most vulnerable form of human – a BABY! It’s about God saying, “I want to dwell among them. (John 1:14) I want to resolve that we can’t be together because of sin. (2 Cor 5:21)” Our God has been pursuing us since the beginning of this story, so ask Him to show you how He’s pursuing your family, whether they are following Him yet or not. And as you go through the Christmas season look out for those moments and honor Him for them. 

As you pray for your family, know that we’ve prayed for you (no really, I stopped typing and prayed for you) that somehow Christmas will be lighter this year and that what it’s about will be clearer as we look into the eyes of a Father who would chose to send His son for us. I also pray that you would enjoy the fullness of the relationship Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection affords us.

Merry Christmas! Peace!


Check out our website for more information. We always welcome new friends to worship with us. Find a location that’s close to you! You can learn more about our beliefs and visit our video library to explore more topics like this one. You can also check out our events page to find out what fun new things we’re doing this season.

About the Author: Mutheu Esilaba
Mutheu has loved Jesus since she was a little girl. Born and raised in a Christian family in Nairobi, Kenya, she felt a call to ministry as a teen and worked with students for many years. Mutheu has a deep passion for people to know God and see the world through God's heart for it. Mutheu holds a Master's Degree in Christian Educational Studies from Africa International University and has been ministering to students for 24 years. Mutheu and her husband, Albo, (our Ann Arbor Campus Pastor) have three boys. Mutheu, her husband, and three boys have been at 2|42 since 2019.

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