In the USA this week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I have always treasured this holiday because its intention is so clear and so right. It is not so cluttered with commercialism and busyness. It recalls the harvest of fields, and invites us to look for a harvest of God’s goodness in our own lives. In the book of Philippians the apostle Paul gives us a powerful invitation to pray.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. –Philippians 4:6
You have invited us to give you thanks, and this is what we wish to do. We are living in a time of great anxiety, but you have offered us a way out of anxiety. We long to know your loving care.
We pray to you because there is no one so good, so high, so holy, and so merciful as you. Thank you that you have invited us to bring our petitions and our requests to you. Who else can we go to for wisdom, or for hope, or for guidance?
We pray for the victims of violence wherever they may be found. We pray for those in authority, that they would seek and find the wisdom that comes from above. We pray for peace in the world.
We pray that you would help us live in obedience, with integrity, based on the dignity you have given. And we pray for peace in our own hearts, a peace that proceeds from your forgiveness, the wholeness that comes from your restorative touch.
We thank you for creating a world you called “good.” We thank you that despite the evil that has entered the world and still wages war in our own souls, your own goodness is undiminished. We thank you that we have seen
honor that is bolder than shame;
mercy that is wider than cruelty;
truth that is straighter than deception;
faith that is stronger than treachery;
hope that is deeper than desperation.
We thank you for the ordinary things: the bread we receive today, the breath by which we live today. And we thank you for the extraordinary things: the strength we didn’t know was possible, and the discovery of truths we didn’t know we didn’t know. We thank you for the immeasurable grace shown to us in the coming of Jesus Christ, the hope of the world.
In his name, Amen.
(From Prayers for Our Lives by Mel Lawrenz. Permission granted to reproduce and distribute with attribution.)
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Mel Lawrenz (@MelLawrenz) trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a PhD in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, including How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.