By Beth Ann Baus, Crosswalk.com
The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and wonderment. For many, however, the holidays are lonely, stressful, and depressing. Even while finding joy in the Lord, deep feelings of loss can overshadow the hope and thanksgiving we express this time of year.
The absence of a loved one can leave a person feeling alone in a crowded room. Celebrating with blood relatives or church family, while wonderful, doesn’t fill the empty seat of the person that is missing. The feeling of loss can take its toll at any time, but it often feels more prevalent this time of year.
If you are facing the holidays alone, please know the Lord sees you, cares for you, and desires to be your focus amid your pain. While many circumstances aren’t covered in the prayers below, I hope they will help guide you in your own prayers as you navigate this holiday season.
A prayer for the newly divorced:
Father God, I feel so confused. So hurt. So lonely. Our marriage ending wasn’t my plan. Facing the holidays alone wasn’t my plan. I don’t understand why this has happened to me. And if I’m being honest, I wish I could wake up tomorrow, and it be the New Year. I would rather skip the holidays altogether than feel this way.
I know that my focus should be on you, Lord. I know my heart should be singing your praise. But right now, I feel so broken and alone; I don’t know how to focus on you. I see friends making lists of all they’re thankful for. The stores are full of people buying gifts. I have no one to buy gifts for, and so I’m not sure how to be thankful. I need you, God, to shift my thinking. Please remind me of your goodness and faithfulness. Remind me that you will never leave me. That in you, I am never alone. Remind me that even though my heart hurts, I have you to be thankful for. The gift of faith that you have given me outweighs all the pain, all the loneliness.
Draw near to me this holiday season. Help me to find joy and contentment even in these terrible circumstances. Comfort me. Surround me with brothers and sisters in Christ who will point me to you and keep me focused on your love for me.
In Jesus name
A prayer for the newly widowed:
Lord God, my heart is broken. The pain I feel is so deep and intense that I wonder how I’m still alive. How is my heart still beating when it hurts so bad? I wasn’t prepared for this feeling. This emptiness. This dissection of my other half. I never knew I could feel so alone.
How am I to face the holidays? How can I join in celebration when all I want to do is sit and cry or sleep the day away? Why would anyone want me to join in their festivities when I am such a mess? Everyone else will be happy and joyful; what if I can’t hide my tears? Lord, I need you. I need the comfort that only you can give. Wrap your arms around me and strengthen me. Help me to see the beauty in this season. Please remind me of all I have to be thankful for and that you are the source of my joy. Mend my broken heart, Father.
Fill my heart with sweet memories so that I can face the coming days and not be overcome with sadness. Help me to find solace in the excitement of others. Remind me that I grieve with hope and that I can face the holidays with joy by the work of your Holy Spirit. Remind me that I can experience both joy and pain and that you are with me every through every emotion.
In Jesus name
A prayer for those with estranged family:
Father, I never thought I would face the holidays without my family. We were once so close. I hate that we’ve had such terrible fights. I regret so many things that I’ve said, and I still hurt over things that were said to me. I just never thought it would be this way.
As the holidays draw near, I find myself so sad. So confused. So angry. I want to celebrate with my family. I want to be thankful for them. I want to gather together the way other families do. I want there not to be conflict. I want to unsay and unhear so many things. I want us to be the way we once were. I want us to love one another.
Lord, we need you. We need your Holy Spirit to soften our hearts. Please give us all a desire to offer and accept forgiveness. Reconcile us, Lord. Remind us of the hope we have in you. That nothing is impossible with you. Help us each focus on bringing you glory rather than pleasing ourselves and giving in to our pride. Father, you parted the Red Sea. You kept Jonah alive in the belly of the great fish. I know you can restore our broken relationship. If it is your will, Lord, please do it. If not, please give me joy in you. Give me peace, comfort, and contentment. Allow me to face the holidays with thanksgiving. Allow me to praise you even though I’m hurting.
In Jesus name
A prayer for the military spouse:
Lord God, I didn’t realize how lonely I would be this holiday season. I’m so proud of being married to someone willing to sacrifice their life for our country, but I wasn’t expecting the sacrifice I would be making. I wasn’t expecting to feel so alone and unmotivated as everyone around me prepares to celebrate.
I confess while I am so proud of my spouse, I’m disappointed in myself for feeling lonely. I’m afraid others will be disappointed in me too, so it seems easier to fake being happy or to avoid holiday celebrations altogether. But if I’m being honest, I don’t know how to fake being happy. I haven’t figured out how to live this life with my other half so far away.
Father, protect my spouse and all those who are serving our country. Keep them from being distracted by the loneliness they feel while being so far from home. I ask the same for myself. Keep me from being distracted by my loneliness. Keep me focused on you. Keep me focused on your goodness and mercy. Lord, I need you. I need you to remind me that while I may feel lonely, you are always with me. Remind me of all I have to be thankful for and all that I have to celebrate. Remind me that you are the source of my joy and that you are worthy of celebration each and every day.
In Jesus name
A prayer for the refugee:
Father God, I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have entered into a new land and have a new home. You have given me freedom in this life and in the next, and I am eternally grateful for that. Yet, I confess I feel an emptiness as I watch those around me prepare to celebrate the holidays.
This country is new to me. I realize that some traditions here are very similar to my own, while others are foreign. I expected to feel out of place, but I did not expect the depth of loneliness I would feel being so far from all I’ve ever known. There is excitement and fear wrapped up in the new gifts you have given me. Without many of my family members here, I feel homesick even though I desperately wanted a new home. I know this season brings great joy, hope, and celebration. Please give me a heart for these things. I ask that you would direct my heart towards yourself and towards giving you the honor you deserve. Be thou my vision.
You are the King of Kings, and you have proven to me that what seems impossible is possible through you. You have shown me great kindness and mercy. Comfort me in this season and fill my heart with the joy that only comes from following you. Please show me how to make my home wherever I am because wherever I am, you are also. Show me how to celebrate amid my loneliness because, in you, I am never alone.
In Jesus name
If the holidays are a source of sadness for you, please reach out to someone if you feel lonely and overwhelmed by the thought of celebrating. While your Heavenly Father is always with you, one way he provides for us is through the local church. Reach out to someone in your church family and let them know how you’re feeling. Even during deep pain, there is still joy to be had in the holiday season. We weren’t meant to walk through this life alone. Allow the Lord to work through the local church in providing you with love, kindness, and support.
Remember that your Heavenly Father hears your prayers and never grows tired of listening to you. Tell him what’s on your heart, including the pain and suffering you are experiencing. He is faithful to his children and reminds us in Psalm 147:3 that he heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Halfpoint
Beth Ann Baus is a wife and homeschooling mom of two boys. She is a freelance writer and author of novels, Sister Sunday and My So Much More. In her writing, Beth often pulls from her own experiences of abuse, anxiety, depression and OCD. Beth has a heart for homeschooling, women’s ministry, and is an ACBC-certified Biblical Counselor. She loves serving alongside her husband and pointing couples to the Word for strengthening their marriages and home life. You can find more from her at www.bethannbaus.com.