A prayer of thanksgiving

This morning I took my dog for a walk.  She has put on some weight over the winter and needs the exercise!  As I headed out I began to pray.  While this is nothing new, I often pray while I walk, I decided this morning, I would only offer prayers of thanksgiving.  You see we’ve been studying the book of Colossians and we’ve had an emphasis on thanksgiving.  I wanted to try applying some of what we’d been learning about thankfulness. To only pray prayers of thanksgiving  took a little discipline, as I was tempted to make requests as well, but it was a blessed time.  I thought a brief version of that prayer might encourage you…


     Thank You for my two good legs (I begin with the obvious, usually physical), thank You for the beautiful sun shining, thank You for the awesome path in my neighborhood to walk on.  I am not thankful for this wind, so I confess that sin to You, I know I should be thankful for it, please make me thankful (oops a request!).

     Thank You for the runner on the path, because human interaction is good.  How awful it would be to be all alone.  Thank You for my eye sight which allows me to see this beautiful creation.  Thank You for the beautiful black and red bird.  Thank You for all you have made.

     I now move to pray about the tasks I have today…being thankful for how I will accomplish them and the reasons behind why they must be done…

     Thank You for my in laws, who are coming today and how they love us and desire to be with us. Thank You for my car that will take me to my errands.  Thank You for my family and the opportunity we have to have a photo taken.  Thank You for the photographer.  Thank You for Nathan’s Court of Honor this weekend.  Thank You for all the things he has learned over the years as a boy scout.

     My thoughts now begin to lean to spiritual matters…

     Thank You for the ladies in the class (I thank Him for all of the ladies by name and the things I see Him doing in their lives).

      Thank You for our Bible study teacher, Kristie and how she brings us Your Word, and how she loves us.  Thank You for the teaching I have received lately on thankfulness (now I focus on what He has done in my life).  Thank You for my salvation.  Thank you for the work You’ve done in my heart.  Thank You for the areas where I still struggle, because they remind me that I need a Savior.   Thank You for the little victories in the areas that I struggle…

     As I round the corner to my house I see the white house belonging to Bob and Karen Atkins.  Thank You Lord for Bob and Karen, and how they minister to our church and to me personally. 

     As I approach my house…Thank You for this wind!  I am now hot and sweaty and this wind cools me off!!

     I am now ready for the day…

Not Quite Done with Thanksgiving

Although it is well past Thanksgiving Day, my heart is convicted of the need to meditate more on thankfulness.  Too often I find myself focused on the immediacy of life: the work, the need, the hardship, the disappointment, the busyness…and not focused on the accompanying blessings: the love, the care, the strength, the faithfulness, the comfort, the presence, and the provision of God (whether from Him directly, through providence, or though the ways He moves the hearts of His people).Today, God brought Psalm 23 to my remembrance. 

Whether or not your thoughts are still on Thanksgiving, may your heart be blessed by the way Issac Watts has poetically expressed the message of this well-loved psalm.  I highly recommend reading it aloud–and then choosing one thought to meditate on with thankfulness!

 My Shepherd will supply my need,
Jehovah is his name;
In pastures fresh he makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wand’ring spirit back
When I forsake his ways;
And leads me, for his mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.
When I walk through the shades of death,
Thy presence is my stay;
A word of thy supporting breath,
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.
The sure provisions of my God
Attend me all my days:
O may thy house be mine abode,
And all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come;
No more a stranger or a guest,
But like a child at home.

The Necessity of Trials

As I have lately been studying, meditating, and teaching on spiritual comfort, questions regarding the reasons for trials and troubles (whether big or small) have repeatedly surfaced.   As I have searched out answers, one question has occupied my thoughts more than others:

How much does our sinful pride necessitate trials and troubles in our pursuit of Christ-likeness?

In other words, how successful would we be in putting pride and self to death if we did not have trials and troubles to attack our pride, humble us, and drive us to God for help and comfort?Thomas Charles (a preacher in North Wales in the 1770’s) writes:

The cross, which we must expect to meet daily in the way, will hurt nothing but sin and self:  and surely we would not wish to spare them.  I hope it is our happiness to think, that God is against them, and has determined their destruction in his own way.  Blessed be the Lord, there is a world where righteousness only dwelleth, and where sin and self shall no more trouble us for ever!

I don’t know about you, but I do not often meditate on the necessity of trials in life.  But it does make sense.  If trials were not needful for His people, God would surely not cause or allow them.  He does nothing without reason and He does nothing that is not for the good of those who love Him.  So although they can be grievous and heart-rending, sometimes to the extreme, I am thankful for trials, not only because they do indeed “hurt” sin and self, but also because they drive us to God, who is the God of all comfort, and there is no better place to be than utterly and totally dependent upon Him! (2 Corinthians 1)