Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Giving Thanks Always for Everything

One of my favorites parts of our weekly worship service is something we call "The Prayer of Thanksgiving." It's a prayer that is composed and prayed by one of our men to lead the congregation in expressing our thanks to God for His gracious provision and kind mercies.

During this prayer I am invariably prompted to thank God for things which I have either forgotten or neglected to thank Him for; including and perhaps even especially hard providences. Here is a wonderful example of the well-written prayers that our men offer up in the Lord's Service:

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for adopting us into your kingdom and putting us to work in the business of the impossible, the business where you call us to believe like Job when our lives seem to crumble. We know your power but forget our place. You speak to the void and it takes shape, you speak to dirt and it takes on your image, you speak to tiny crawling ants and they lift twenty times their body weight, you speak to the lost who hate you and they take up their crosses and follow you. Lord, we do not understand your ways, your readiness to forgive, your endless grace, your mercy, and your promises to bless us, but we are grateful. We thank you for making us your sons and daughters and for promising to sanctify us, to change us, to mold us. We are so thankful that you choose to use the broken, the weak and the unlovely to further your gospel in ways that seem impossible to us.

Thank you, Father, for not always giving us what we want, but always what we need. We confess that even though you give us our daily bread, our manna from heaven that satisfies our needs, we still grumble in discontent and catalog our wants. Please teach us to love our manna especially as you bring us through the wilderness. Thank you that when we bow down to our golden calf's you knock them down and make us taste the bitterness of sin, and then forgive us, knowing full well we will sin against you again.

Lord, thank you for margaritas and cold beer to gladden our sun-bathed hearts, with each sip we taste the joy that runs rampant in your kingdom. Thank you for gardens that give us tomatoes and beets and carrots and basil. Thank you for summer heat and for houses and cars with air-conditioning so we hardly break a sweat as we run from one to the other. Thank you for swimming pools, and lakes and rivers to cool and refresh our bodies.

As stock prices rise and fall we remember that we come empty handed into your kingdom, and that you give us all that we have. Please take back our tithes and offerings here, they have always been yours.

Lastly, Father, thank you for hearing the prayers of your stiff necked people, and thank you for hearing your son as he mediates for us.

All these things we pray in Jesus’ name, amen. (Jason Helsel)