Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
Psalm 102:1-2 NIV


It was just a paper star—one I had no idea would have such an impact on others … on me.

We’d purchased a new Christmas tree, and the best part was the revolving tree stand. I loved creeping down the steps in the a.m. hours to gaze at the dimly lit tree. The tree stand gently spun, allowing me to view every ornament. Since each ornament on our tree has a special meaning, it was a joy to reminisce their meanings. 

I’ve always been a pray-er, believing if someone asks for prayer it has to be something I take seriously. Some of my friends were under great trial. They needed prayer and assurance that they were being lifted before the Lord of the universe.

So when I awoke in the early morning hours and made my normal prayer walk down the hallway, the gently turning Christmas tree called me. Ornaments glided past, reflecting sweet memories. And that was when it hit me.

I grabbed a sheet of paper and scissors and cut out three stars. My purple sharpie didn’t exactly match the Christmas tree colors, but it would do. I wrote the names of my friends who’d asked me to pray, then bounded down the stairs and carefully placed the stars among the branches on the tree. Rotation after rotation brought the stars into view multiple times. I grabbed my phone and shot a photo of the star, texting it to my friends.

“I’ve begun a new tradition by adding my prayer requests as ornaments on my Christmas tree. Every times it turns, it brings into view your needs. And I pray.”

The response was wonderful. My friends were thrilled their needs were being lifted faithfully before God. As God sent answers to our prayers, I noted them on the back of the stars. All that was left was to praise Him.

David proved his worth as a man after God’s own heart. He found the more he deepened his relationship with God the more opportunity he had to praise God for the benefits of God’s faithfulness. Even when it was hard.

The holidays are difficult to muddle through when we face hardship. It should be a time of thanksgiving and joy. When it’s not, we sometimes grow bitter. David found joy in praising God, despite his situations. When we praise God “despite,” the result focuses us toward Him rather than our situation or circumstance. Our attitudes change, and even in the rough patches we can find peace.

God is faithful, and I’m learning daily to pray stronger for others. My benefit is not only a deeper relationship with God but also a personal peace when I face my own hardships.

My Christmas tree is put away now, and we anticipate the New Year. A year filled with new beginnings, new prayers, new answers, and a God who is faithful in His love.

Don’t waste time making New Year’s resolutions you cannot or will not keep. Instead, write your prayers on paper and pray faithfully. Praise Him into the New Year, and you will find strength and hope beyond imagination. 

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


Cindy Sproles

Cindy Sproles is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the Executive Editor of www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. Cindy is the acquisitions editor for SonRise Books and Straight Street Books, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She teaches at writers conferences and women’s conferences nationwide. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.