Parish Advent Program
Wrap your Gifts in Prayer
Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. In the midst of Advent and Christmas busyness, we offer you a way to pray and to discover our God who is with us. Each season the preparation for gift giving can be a source of stress. This year can be different. Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your gift in prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.
Wrap Your Gift in Prayer
As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.
Prayer Method Choices
- Imagine – visualize the person for whom you pray. Picture the Lord blessing them.
- Speak – pray out loud, “Lord surround (name) with your light; fill him/her with your peace.”
- Sing – a Christmas carol.
- Gesture – dedicate the use of your hand motions in wrapping as your prayer.
- Hear – simply repeat the person’s name knowing that the Lord hears our every word.
- Recite – a pre-written prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Rosary …
- Act – reach out to someone in need of the gift of your care.
- Bless – difficult relationships with prayer: Lord bless (name) and transform me to set me free.
Sharing your Prayer with a Gift Tag
After wrapping your gift in prayer attach a gift tag that will be provided for you.
Witnessing to your prayer by means of a Gift Tag is like giving an additional gift because it may lead the receiver to become more aware of God’s presence in her or his own life.
This weekend Gift Prayer Tags will be available at the doors of the church. Attach the Gift Prayer Tag to a gift, group of gifts or gift bag. You may also wish to duplicate the gift tag sheets on your own computer by visiting our website www.stphilip.org.
Reflection On Prayer
God desires to be in a close and personal relationship with us. Prayer unwraps God who is always with us. Prayer directs our attention to God who can be found in all things. The Spirit of God dwells within us; prayer is the inner journey to discover the gift of God within. St. Paul challenges us to rejoice in God’s presence in all circumstances, (1Thessalonians5:16). William S. Barry S. J. in his book Praying the Truth (2012) gives a simple definition of prayer:
“By prayer I mean what occurs when I am conscious in some way of God’s presence. Ignatius of Loyola is known for wanting to find God in all things – that is, to be able to do all things while, at the same time, being conscious of God’s presence. In other words, he wanted to be prayerful at all times. A tall order, you might say, but Ignatius believe that a person could come close to this with the help of God and by the regular practice of paying attention to what happens in daily life. He could hope for such a state because of his Christian belief that God, the Creator of the universe, is never absent from any part of this universe. Hence, whether we are aware of it or not, we are always in God’s presence no matter what we are doing. All that is required (for prayer) is that I am conscious of God’s presence and whatever activity I engage.”
Our Advent Program, Your Gift is Wrapped in Prayer is an opportunity for us to encounter God in our daily lives.
Reflection Questions and Activity
- When have I felt closest to God?
- What does God’s desire to be in a personal relationship with me mean. What does this invite me to do?
- What people, places or things awaken my awareness of God?
- The gifts in my life for which I am grateful are….Share your thoughts and feelings about these gifts with God.
- One way that I will share the gifts that God has given to me with another person this week is….