A Thanksgiving Prayer

There are so many reasons for us to give thanks.

For most reading this blog, we can consider our national blessings. Yes, despite the dysfunction in the United States of America, there is no nation in which most of us would rather dwell.

Then there are our material blessings. Almost all of us have food, clothing, and physical necessities in abundance. Some have cars, boats, and houses in abundance. Yes, the Lord makes rich, the Lord makes poor, and the Lord has seen fit to make us rich. Therefore, let us give thanks and take none of our material blessings for granted. All wealth and trinkets are gifts from the Lord, and he owes us none of these things.

We should also give thanks for our relational blessings. Loneliness is horrible. Let us be grateful for our immediate family, extended family, church family, community ties, and even our Facebook friends.

However, for all of us who know Jesus Christ, nothing can compare to the spiritual blessings we enjoy. Listen to the Apostle Paul:

… Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.     (2 Thessalonians 1:1-4)

We are graced. Instead of receiving that which we have merited, we are currently and perpetually in the process of receiving that which Jesus merited for us. Because we are always clothed in Christ’s righteousness, and because we are always filled with his Holy Spirit, we are immutably pleasing to our Heavenly Father. (Sure, he sees our sins and hates our sins, but he treats us not according to our sins.) Christian friends, we are always treated as holy, blameless and pure, and none of this is that which we earn and deserve. Let us give thanks afresh for the unfair justice of God shown to us in Christ Jesus.

We are peaced. The Father is now at peace with us, the Son is our Prince of Peace, and the Holy Spirit fruits us with his experiential peace as we keep step with him. Yes, perfect peace is ours to enjoy as we fix our minds and hearts on Christ Jesus. Today we can relax. Today we can Sabbath. Today we can cast our cares on him and let him care for us. We can strive no more with God and neighbor. We can have peace and extend the peace. Therefore, let us give thanks for this spiritual benefit.

We are faithed. (Sorry … I had to make up that word.) Instead of disbelieving God and being hardened in our foolish rebellion, the Holy Spirit has granted us power to hear, believe, and trust. Yes, because of God’s good work, faith is his gift to us. Therefore, since we have faith, let us give thanks for his sweet, manipulative work in our hearts and heads. Humbly and joyfully, let us give thanksgiving for the irresistible and effective work of our Wonderful Counselor.

We are transformed. All babies come into this world thinking of themselves and their needs. As they mature, they grow in looking out for “Number One.” Narcisim is the natural condition of all left in their depraved condition. However, because we have been loved by the Lover, we find ourselves being transformed from the inside out. Scripture says he pours love into our hearts, and now we find it leaking from our spiritual pores. The Bible also tell us the Holy Spirit fruits us with love, and we are starting to bloom. Friends, this self-sacrificing, other-person-centered affection is totally against our fallen DNA; it is evidence of our new birth. Therefore, let us give thanks for God’s glorious transformation of our self-serving character.

We are being preserved. Sure, there are times when we play the part of David and sin greatly against Christ. In addition, there are sadly times when we play the part of Peter and turn away from even admitting him; we disown him. However, like David and Peter, we always come running back. And why do we find ourselves repenting and persevering in the faith? It is only because nothing can separate us from the love of God. It is because He promises to lose none of his elect. Yes, we persevere because we are being preserved. Therefore, let us give thanks that when we are faithless, he is faithful. Let us give thanks for the eternal security we enjoy, despite our everyday inconsistency.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Happy Thanksgiving! Use this holiday well and be grateful worshipers of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sure, tomorrow, you can enjoy Black Friday and focus a bit on God’s earthly, temporary, and perishing benefits. However, for today, we have much greater things for which to give thanks. Let us not take for granted his spiritual benefits that rust not and cannot be taken away.

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