This is a little unusual for me to do, so I must explain myself. I went to the annual Thanksgiving service at our church—it is always a wonderful, joyful time—and one of the men who prayed offered this prayer. In our denomination, we don’t usually have prayers written out, and never recited, but this was so thoughtful (and long) that I thought there might be some notes. And there were! My brother, Duncan, prayed this prayer and very kindly sent me a copy of his notes which he filled in at my request. I share it with you not to honor Duncan (though I highly esteem him) but to share the richness of thought that it represents. I do wish you could have heard his slow, thoughtful, quiet voice as he spoke to God. As we move from the “Thanksgiving Season” to the “Christmas Season” I encourage us all to continue in the spirit of giving thanks.
Lord God, we come to You in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Creator and Sustainer of life and all we know. We thank You for creating us in Your image, providing us with worth and meaning. We thank You that You saw creation, and it was good, and even though now marred by sin, it is still good. Thank You for satisfying all of our earthly needs, which are a reflection of our real need of You.
Thank You for the family of mankind, for those who sacrifice for our physical safety and well-being - armed service, police, fire, volunteers, donors, contributors - for those who protect and enrich our lives we give thanks to You.
Lord, thank You for our earthly family and those who sacrifice for our human development - for those who live with us and bear the burden of our attitudes, anger, frustration, and wrong choices, and do so graciously with love and acceptance and loyalty, we thank You. Thank You that Your heart is for families, to "... turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the children to the fathers." Father, thank you for this glimpse of our relationship with You.
Holy God, we thank You for the family of God - those who sacrifice for our spiritual life - for shepherds, teachers, those who encourage, counsel, and support. Lord, thank You for those who pray! And Lord, we miss those too infirm to be with us today, and ask You to please grant them a special measure of grace and Your Spirit and closeness to You. For such a cloud of witnesses, Lord, we offer thanksgiving.
And thank You for the even greater witness of Your Word and Spirit, for Your Word is Truth, and Your Spirit guides us into all Truth. Thank You for Scripture that leads us to You.
Father, thank You for the indescribable Gift of Your Beloved Son, in Whom You are well pleased. Yours was the consummate sacrifice. Thank You for His utter obedience and devotion to fulfilling Scripture and carrying out Your will. And thank You that this was Your kind intention, crafted before time, carried out at Calvary, and that Your commitment to our best good is as life-giving today as it has always been.
Lord, thank You for the promises in Your Word that give us a future and a hope, and we eagerly anticipate being together with You. Thank You for including us in what You are doing, for indeed "... our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ."
Father, thank You for Who You are: Faithful and True, Righteous, Just, Compassionate, Merciful, Changeless, Sovereign Judge, Caring for the needy - thank You that You are not vengeful toward Your creation who rejected You, but holding out loving arms to embrace any who turn to You.
Lord, thank You for teaching us to be thankful. We offer thanksgiving in the Name of Your Beloved Son, our only Savior and King, Jesus Christ. Amen.