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Let Us Give Thanks

by Gary Knuckles

   I grew up in a home, and family, where prayer was a regular practice. Both of my parents believed in prayer and it was a rare day that went by without a prayer being said. Most of the time, it would be at the dinner table where Dad would wait until everything was ready and say, “Let’s pray.” His prayers were always simple, but sincere in thanking God for our food and for God’s watchful care over us. It was common to visit family members around southern Indiana and to arrive at the table knowing that a prayer of thanksgiving would precede the meal. And, it was common to hear the older men begin by saying, “Let us give thanks.” It was a simple acknowledgement that not only had God had provided the blessings we were about to enjoy, but that there were many other such gifts we might have overlooked throughout the day and it was time to be gracious for what we had received.

     I believe in prayer and I believe that God hears us when we come to Him with open and sincere hearts seeking His help or guidance. I also believe we can ask blessings from Him and He will provide according to His will. (Phil. 4:6; 1 Jn. 3:22) While selfishness, covetousness, rebellion against God, and the such like may keep God from answering our prayers, I still believe that He has the benefit of the human race at heart and does what He can to make sure His creation is safe and secure.

     But, what about a prayer of thanksgiving that asks nothing of God, but is comprised of counting our blessings and thanking Him for all He has done for us? Several years ago, the thought came to my mind that, even though I had thanked God for “the blessings of life,” I spent the bulk of my prayers asking God for more blessings and favors rather than simply giving thanks for what He had given me through life. I decided, then and there, to offer prayers totally given over to thanksgiving…to literally spend my time in thanking God for everything and asking nothing. I found that such prayers cannot be finished! First, because His blessings are too numerous to be counted. Second, because He grants more blessings even as I pray. Third, because I cannot begin to comprehend the vastness of His blessings and the love that provides them.

     I still offer prayers in which I make my “requests known unto God” (Phil. 4:6), but there must also be the discipline of thanksgiving. A friend of mine, now deceased, taught me the value of such prayers as we talked about the blessings of life. He said, “You will find out how many blessings you have.” I said, “But, don’t you ever get tired of naming those blessings over and over, again?” His reply was classic, “It never hurts to thank God, again, for the same blessing.” I believe he was right. Sometime soon, spend your time in prayer just giving thanks. Let me recommend some knee pads and something nearby to hold onto as you get up from that prayer. You’ll need them.

 

            Gary Knuckles lives in Benton, KY and preaches for the Briensburg Church of Christ.

 




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10