Congregational Prayers

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holy Father,

With the approach of this week’s holiday our minds are turned to thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude – thoughts that should characterize our thinking at all times, but that nevertheless are focused more clearly at this time of year. We indeed have much for which to be thankful. We are children of the Heavenly King, the beloved of the Living God! We are prepared for glory and positioned for everlasting bliss in the Eternal Kingdom. Though trials and tribulations may afflict us in the short term, and needs physical and emotional may come and go, we lack nothing we need in the eternal realm. We are in Christ and in Christ are all the heavenly riches. Our gratitude pours forth on so many different fronts. We are grateful:

Such monumental themes can’t but elicit praise and thanksgiving! But the grandeur of these gifts should not preclude our thanksgiving and praise for the lesser blessings. There are countless gifts that You have, in Your Providence, provided that in light of those eternal riches might seem small, but nonetheless remind us of the intimacy and detail of Your love and blessings to us: We are grateful for our homes, our families, for our brothers and sisters in Christ, for the communion of Grace Evangelical Church and in the broader realm of the Kingdom. How delightful that You chose to engage us in the life of the Kingdom through the living community of the Church! We are also grateful and thank You for our governments and magisterial authorities that You have provided us to order and regulate our society, to mitigate the effects of human sin and depravity, and to provide an element of peace, safety and tranquility to our lives.

In all these things we give You thanks, and we extend once again new prayers for their continuance. We pray not out fear that You might revoke Your blessings, for Your promise is unbreakable, but out of gratitude and in obedience to Your call and example to pray without ceasing for our daily bread and for one another. We pray for the specific needs of our local body.

While we yet live in this fallen land, within our fallen nature, even our thanksgivings will be tainted with selfishness, greed, pride, envy and the like. Praise God that this too will pass! But until that day, and perhaps forever after, our prayers are made in the name of Him Whose love and gratitude for the Father knew no deceit or duplicity, our Lord Jesus Christ!