Surprisingly, a number of professed Christians say that they do not know what or whom to pray for.

All one can assume is that they are fine within themselves and have no need to pray.

However, to those who are looking for special Christmas prayer ideas, may I offer the following special intentions:

For our servicemen abroad and at home, that God may preserve them and keep them safe. For those who have been released from service and find themselves homeless and at a loose end, may they find a roof over their heads as well as all His infinite mercy and grace.

For families who have lost a loved one, particularly in the past year — a spouse, a father, a sibling — may they find comfort during this time of happy family celebrations and a sense of reassurance in God’s love. May they not feel lonely or excluded.

For parents and children whom the State has separated, may they know God’s mercy in their affliction. May social workers, magistrates and family court judges see fit to reunite deserving families to bring them together as a loving, divinely-ordained unit of love.

For the homeless, many of whom have felt separated from loved ones and friends from an early age because of circumstances, may God enable charities to find a way to house them for longer than a fortnight between Christmas and Twelfth Night.

For those seeking work, may they find honest, suitable employment soon.

For employers, that they be godly stewards of men.

For our farmers, faithfully providing food for our shops, may they realise plentiful harvests and healthy, productive livestock.

For our heads of state as well as our regional and local governments, may they come to appreciate the will of God and do what is righteous and worthy of His name in a quiet, lawful and peaceful way.

For those who mock God, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that they may discover the meaning of truth in Holy Scripture which leads them to a renewal of life and a promise of salvation.

For our clergymen who view the Gospel message as an allegory or a metaphor for social justice, may they come to understand the true teachings of Jesus Christ.

For those who are alone on this day of rejoicing, may they have the comfort of the Light of the World and receive the hope which only He can give.

For those who have been victims of serious crime, may they experience a rapid healing and may they come to resume a sense of security.

For those who are trapped in serious sins of depravity — fornication, sexual deviance and substance abuse — may they come to know an understanding of the Gospel and the hope that the Christ Child brings, including His promise of eternal life.

For all of us who are aware of our innate sin and depravity — may we come to share in the joyous hope of salvation and eternal glory with Jesus Christ and God the Father.

For the world at large, that we may repent of our many and grievous sins, praying for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

For the faithful, that we find the fortitude to preach the Gospel and make followers of all men, wherever we are in the world.

O Lord, we thank you for sending us your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. Through your mercy, forgive us our sins, grant us Your divine mercy and keep us close to you through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, today and always. This we ask through the blessing of our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ, your only Son who lives and reigns forever and ever.  Amen.