Psalm 107:8 "Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever."
A Christmas Prayer of Gratitude
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for the opportunity and ability to Christmas-shop.
I love this season, and I love choosing gifts for people I love.
This is a luxury not enjoyed by most people in the world.
Keep me mindful of my blessings and thankful for the wealth you've given me.
Help me to share generously and remember that everything I have is yours!
Most of all, I want to be always cognizant that you are the perfect GIFT. You're all I need. May you be all I want.
I recognize that I celebrate this amazing holiday because of your humility--
your decision to enter the world as a helpless baby,
to live your life for other people,
and then to die a cruel, unjust death so that I could enjoy your presence forever.
How shocking and horrific that we often make the Christmas holiday
about what we get and what we do.
How blasphemous that we make it about snow, winter, and baking cookies.
If we're not remembering you, sharing you, and honoring you, then what's the point?
Thank you for your overflowing kindness and blessing.
And Happy Birthday!
In Jesus' name,
Thank you for the hard things
Thank you for rescuing my friendDear Father in Heaven,
Thank you for working powerfully in my friend's life.
You have rescued yet one more person from self-destruction and certain derailment.
You showed yourself powerful, just, and loving.
I never doubted you would,
but I wasn't sure how you would do it.
I am always amazed by your love and grace.
Your timing is marvelous.
You remind me that you are sovereign--
your will is perfect--
and you are not rushed by human anxiety or human deadlines.
And why would you be?
You are God Almighty.
Thank you for that, also.
Psalm 44:6--Rise up and help us; us because of your unfailing love.
You make me shake my headOh, Lord,
You astound me and make me feel grateful.
When I look around my world--my house and work and family--or when I behold your natural creation of mountains and oceans and fields, I just shake my head with wonder.
Thank you for my family, my home, my church, all which sometimes frustrate me.
Thank you for my freedom, which I take for granted.
Thank you for life and health, which I really take for granted.
Thank you for my mind, which isn't as quick as it used to be, but it's a blessing nevertheless.
Thank you for the beauty of the world, for all its variety:
for the marvelous expanse of nature
and also for the cities and countries filled with people, who I misunderstand or don't think about at all.
Thank you for your living Word, which I don't read as much as I should, although it inspires and changes me.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you through the church, which I often make about fulfilling me instead of about honoring you.
Thank you for your love, grace, patience, and encouragement while I wrestle with my humanity, my self-centeredness, and my fear.
You make me shake my head.
Why do you love me?
Why do you even bother?
I must be so aggravating to watch.
I keep struggling with the same lessons, the same problems, the same habits.
And yet you wait, you love, you remind, you cheer.
"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep . . . How priceless is your unfailing love!" (Psalm 36:5-7)
Thank you for the rain
and especially for not flooding my basement.
Your mercies never fail.
And apparently, the rain doesn't, either.
But you know best.
Thankful for AmericaDear Lord God,
I am blessed to live in America,
a free country,
even though I chafe under the ambition and corruption so often present in public officials.
I am proud of our soldiers and civil servants,
even though I read stories of their brutality and injustice in the news.
I appreciate the protection I have to believe, write, live, and worship,
even though I recognize our country's moral decline.
We are a sinful people and a sinful nation,
and yet you choose to love us and use us.
You have blessed us with opportunity and responsibility,
and so much good has been accomplished in the world through our nation.
Because of your love and mercy.
Thank you for the men and women who have served our country,
missed loved ones,
fought to recover,
and came home.
Thank you for the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives
so we could enjoy freedom.
Bless their families and cover them with your loving care.
Thank you for trusting us with your message of hope
and the resources to help other people.
May America be a country that reflects your love and compassion to the world!
In Jesus' name,
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.--Psalm 33:12
Thank you for the blessings I understand and the ones I don't
Thank you for my children's struggles
Praise and thanks for using me
Why do you bless me so much?
I am in awe of your perfect ways and the grace you give when you let us become involved in the work you're doing around the world.
Today you let me meet a child I've sponsored for 15 years, halfway around the world.
We share love and appreciation for one another, even though we had never met or talked before today.
You have knit our hearts together in the Lord.
Even though we don't share race,
this relationship has enriched and changed our lives.
Your Spirit accomplished that.
Thank you for using me and blessing me in the process.
How awesome are your ways, O Lord!
I want YouDear Lord,
I want so much.
I want happiness and success and impact.
I want friends and family.
I need to stop a second and thank you, because your generosity has exceeded my wants.
Thank you for using me.
Thank you for saving me and filling me and hanging with me even when I stop hanging with you.
Thank you for gifting me, even though I don't always appreciate the gifts you choose for me.
Thank you for my family, for our home, for our opportunities,
for all the things I grumble about that are incredible blessings.
May I complain less, argue less, pout less, despair less, give up less.
Because all things are possible in Christ.
I want your will.
I want what you want, in the way that you want it for me.
I just want You.
Counting my blessings
Thank you for all the beautiful, ordinary blessings that are not so ordinary.
Thank you for my home (which has issues),
my vehicles (even when they don't work),
my food (even when I complain about cooking),
my family (even though I take them for granted).
I am so blessed.
Thank you for my country (even though it angers me),
my freedoms (even though I complain about not having more),
my work (even though I want more and want to be more).
You have blessed me beyond measure.
My world is gorgeous, and I live in it.
My home is loving, and I live in it.
My dreams are attainable, and I live them.
Why do I forget how blessed I am?
Everything I have is yours,
and it's all extra.
Lord, teach me to number my blessings, as well as my days.
A Prayer to a Good FatherDear Father in Heaven,
That's a strange concept to me. A heavenly father. Who are you, and how can you love me like a father loves his child when there are 7.5 billion people in the world today? People you want as your children?
You require holiness, but I am so unholy.
You created me, yet I complain about this creation. (Why did you design bodies to change with age???)
You have compassion and patience with me, even though I fail the same faith tests repeatedly.
You are probably annoyed with my whining and entitlement, yet you don't lose your temper or say things you shouldn't.
You don't work too much or fall asleep in your chair or forget birthdays or feel helpless when I'm despairing. (I don't know if earthly fathers do those things, but I've heard that some do.)
This is why Father's Day is hard,
why the concept of a Heavenly Father is hard:
I don't know what good fathering feels like.
But I know what love feels like.
I know what the Holy Spirit feels like when He's speaking through me.
I know what peace feels like when the world is hammering me hard,
what hope feels like when there's no logical reason to hope.
I know what confidence feels like, even when I am painfully unqualified.
Perhaps that's fathering at its best, on earth and in heaven.
Good fathering covers you, protects you, accepts you, directs you, loves you.
So thank you.
Thank you for being a Father to the fatherless.
Thank you for fathering the fathered.
Thank you for being whatever kind of father all 7.5 billion of us need.
We just need to talk to you, to find out Who you are,
what kind of Father you are.
We have to decide not to be afraid to know you.
Because you won't disappoint, leave, die, or hurt us.
And you only do good things.
I love you, God. You are my Father.
image by axelle b
Thanksgiving for the Cross
Thank You for spring
How do You do it?
Year after year, spring astounds me.
Thank you for the beauty of the flowers, the budding trees,
the singing of birds as they flitter through the branches,
gathering twigs for their nests.
Thank you for creating such incredible details
and weaving the world together in a tapestry of majesty.
Your love is boundless,
and I am awed by You.
image by Bobby Mikul
A prayer for ThanksgivingDear Lord,
Thank you for the harvest. I get to live in a plentiful land.
Thank you for family. I get to live with people I love, who love me.
Thank you for my church. I get to worship You without opposition.
Thank you for my country. I get to pursue anything I want.
Thank you for my faith. I get to grow in a relationship with You.
Thank you for everything. You made it all and shared it with me.
image by Petr Kratochvil
Thank You for my heritage
Dear Lord, Jehovah Jireh,
the God who provides--
Thank you for providing me a heritage.
No background is perfect,
and no family is without pain and suffering.
Yet regardless of present circumstances,
my heritage is a provision from You
to shape me and direct my attention
and toward Your never-failing, no-strings-attached love.
Thank you for providing me a life,
imperfect and filled with pain,
yet bursting with opportunities for growth.
You stretch me and challenge me
because You love me.
You have plans for me.
These are just some aspects of Your unimaginable provision.
Thank You, Jehovah-Jireh.
Let me never forget or minimize the depth of your care,
even when I don't understand it.
image by K Whiteford
Why should I thank God when I'm grieving?Dear God of all comfort,
I'm grieving, but I thank You for everything.
Thank you for creating the church, which functions like a family. I can't explain how people I've never met or hardly know can send me a prayer or encouragement, and I instantly feel loved and no longer alone.
Thank you for making prayer a way to express grief, joy, fear, and frustration. I don't know why it works, but it does.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve You by serving other people. I don't know why loving someone else when I need to be loved fills an emotional hole, but it does.
Thank you for growing my faith through trials. I don't completely understand how suffering can produce joy in my life, but I see it happen all the time.
Thank you for asking me to be generous. I can't explain how we can give away so much and still pay our bills, but remarkably, it's true.
Thank you for a million other blessings--for every sunset, for every flower, for every smile, for every laugh. For exquisite tastes and smells. For the bliss of cuddling a child and kissing a spouse. I am astounded by the richness of life.
You are truly remarkable. There is no other explanation for the joy of life, except to say that You are God. You are holy, righteous, just, wise, fierce, and tender. I am in awe of You.
Thank you for that, too.
image by MALIZ ONG
Thank you for my children
Lord of mercy and love,
Thank you for my children.
Thank you for their successes.
Thank you even for their hardships
because it builds the character that I want them to have
and the character you want me to have.
(Because parenting always leads me back to you.)
I can't love them without your love
or lead them without following you.
I need you more than they need me or I need them.
Help me to trust you with their lives,
through joys and sorrows,
triumphs and pain.
You have already shown yourself to be trustworthy--
They are your love language to me.
Your whispers of hope, healing, and heaven.
They are my greatest blessings.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I love you.
And loving them gives me a glimpse of who you are.
Why am I afraid?
Why am I afraid of the things I can't control, when You are all-powerful?
Why am I afraid of failure, when You've promised give me a future?
Why am I afraid to defend the truth--when You have called Yourself the Truth?
Why am I afraid I won't be happy submitting to Your will, when lasting joy can only be found in You?
Why am I afraid to share the gospel, when Your good news has the power to set everyone free?
Why am I afraid to worship You, when I know that pursuit of success will never satisfy me?
Why am I afraid to forgive others, when You let me live in grace?
Why do You even put up with me?
It makes no sense. But You are patience and mercy and love. Thank you!
Thank You for power, purpose, joy, salvation, intimacy, forgiveness, and grace. You amaze me!
I love You!! In Jesus' name, Amen.
Psalm 56:11--"In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?"
image by Piotr Wojtkowski
A Lack of Thanksgiving
"The real problem of life is never a lack of time. The real problem of life--in my life--is lack of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks--take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks--and He miraculously makes it more than enough."--Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p. 72.
What areas of lack frustrate you?
Could the struggle associated with your area of frustration be a deficiency of thanksgiving, rather than a deficiency in God's provision?
Could prosperity be a decision of the heart rather than a product of the will?
image from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/hledej.php?hleda=loaf+of+bread&x=0&y=0
A Thankful HeartYou can't fake a thankful heart, even if you say "thank you" or send a "thank you" note, (which, by the way, is still an excellent idea, even in the age of technology). Thankfulness permeates why you do things and how you do them. It emanates from a spirit of contentment rather than entitlement.
Thankfulness makes statements like--
"You are so thoughtful!"
"I can't believe you did that!"
"You make me feel so special!"
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world!"
Thankfulness and humility go hand-in-hand. They expect nothing, appreciate everything, and value everyone. Thankfulness comes from the heart, creating pure joy.