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Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

A Prayer of Preparation

Father, my heart longs to focus on you this Christmas season, to be fully yours as we remember the amazing gift of your son Jesus Christ. Search me. Know me. Find everything in me that is fighting against fully surrendering to you.

Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2

I have sinned. against you so often, in so many ways. It’s so easy to get distracted, to lose my focus on what’s important. My heart longs to be perfectly devoted to you, to have you at the forefront of my mind every moment of every day. I long to be in constant communication with you, praying without ceasing.

But I don’t. In this world of chaos and trouble, I’m quick to get lost in my life, in the circumstances swirling around me. I easily exchange your perfect peace for the anxiety and worry of this life.

I want to seek your face, to hear your voice, to walk in complete obedience. And yet how often I miss your voice directing my steps…or even hear your voice and fail to obey.

Forgive me.

For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:3-7

I need you. I need your cleansing, your forgiveness. I need your presence and your love. I need your mercy and compassion. I need you to purify me, to wipe my slate clean, to throw my sins as far as the east is from the west.

Wash me with the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice given for my sins. Wash me so you see His righteousness when you look at me, instead of the stain of my sin and guilt.

Give me a fresh start, making me whole and pure so I can come into your presence, be in fellowship with you.

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Psalm 51:8

In the midst of all the busyness and commercialism of the season, it’s easy to lose my joy. As I struggle with illness and grief and loss and uncertainty, I so often lose sight of the reason for this season. I lose sight of the baby born that Christmas morn, a gift from heaven sent to bring the greatest joy ever offered to man.

I focus on my brokenness instead of the healer. I focus on the pain instead of the redemption. I focus on the loss instead of the hope. Turn my heart. Turn my eyes. Turn my mind. Help me focus on the gift of that precious baby boy given for us, to bring us into relationship with you, to give us hope for our future. May we find the ultimate joy in your great love for us.

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:10-12

Wherever my heart is, change it. Make it pure, right with you. Fill my heart with your Holy Spirit. Prepare me, prepare my heart to celebrate the greatest gift ever given.

Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. Psalm 51:15

May your praise ever be on my lips. As I rejoice in you, in your mercy and grace, in your forgiveness and love, fill my mouth with praise for you. May my words point the world back to you as I remember your perfect faithfulness, your love, your provisions.

May I sing songs of adoration for Immanuel, God with us, the Prince of Peace, the perfect sacrifice given for me.

Lord, I long to make this Christmas special, a Christmas season in which I know you in new ways. I long to enter this season with my heart and mind prepared to celebrate you. I long to be fully yours, fully known by you, fully surrendered so my heart can be changed, molded, made into your image. I long to be clothed in your holiness, righteousness, tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Above all, may I put on love…love for you and love for others. Love for the world around me that desperately needs to know you. Love for the season that is all about you. Love for the gifts you so freely lavish on me.

Prepare me for this season, a season that represents more than goodness and love than I could ever express. Prepare me to celebrate the light of the world given for me. Prepare me to find peace in the midst of this chaotic world, to set aside the craziness of this life for the beauty of a silent night.

Draw me into your presence so I can sit, soak, enjoy every moment of knowing I am secure in you.

In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.