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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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When we listen to God...

Turning our Advent prayer life into a life of prayer

With bells, bright lights, TV specials and Christmas music on the radio, our culture bombards us with the secular American version of Advent—urging us to focus on the material side of Christmas preparations.

Encouraged on all sides to leave God out of Christmas preparations, we as Christians seek to go deeper in our relationship with God. So it’s not surprising that many of us have healthier prayer lives during Advent. We use daily devotionals provided by our congregations to guide us through the season.

In our homes we may start with an empty crèche and weekly unwrap figurines from tissue paper—first the cow and bull, then the sheep, then the shepherds—setting the stage for the remembrance of Christ’s birth.

Perhaps we read a portion of the Christmas story each day, starting with the Annunciation. Or we take time out from baking, decorating and shopping for midweek services.

As we write Christmas cards to our closest family and friends—and to those with whom we’ve fallen out of touch in the past year—we may think of them fondly and pray for them as we address the envelopes.

But what do we do after Christmas when the devotional runs out, life returns to “normal” and we’re on our own to continue our prayers?

How do we turn our Advent “prayer life” into a “life of prayer?” The first step is to stop thinking about prayer as a noun and begin thinking of it as a relationship with the Christ who came into the world at Christmas.

Our relationships with God—and our prayer—can be as varied as those we have with each of the friends to whom we send Christmas cards.


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