PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE, Sunday October 8, 2017 THANKSGIVING DAY
Happy Thanksgiving Day and Harvest Festival Friends and Family! It was my turn to do “Prayers of the People” when we came together at Church on Sunday to give thanks to God for all his gifts – especially the miracle of life seen in what can be harvested from a single seed or bulb.
Today or tomorrow, our tables will be laden with bounteous food which we will share with our families and friends in peace in the comfort of our homes.
We thank God truly for these blessings.But I have had trouble writing the prayers of the people this week.
Where was God during these past weeks of madness, hate, mental illness and violence, of massacres, floods and hurricanes, of ethnic cleansing of one people and their religion by another, of so much devastation in so many countries, of so many threatening words and provocative actions from world leaders that could lead to the end of our wonderful planet.
I didn’t know how to pray. Where was God? What could we be thankful for?
It was near midnight. The phone rang. I swivelled sharply in my chair to pick it up and something cracked in my knee, and the worst pain, the worst cramps I have ever felt in my life made me immobile. I could not move, put any weight on my left foot, bend my leg. For half an hour, my caller listened to my squeals of pain and suggested what I could do. I could do nothing. I had never experienced such pain and immobility before. So at midnight with his job waiting, my caller started the long drive to my house to help me.
I forgot to talk to God. Another half hour of agony and immobility passed.
But God didn’t forget to talk to me. Realizing I would have to open the front door for my Good Samaritan, I tried to crawl. I managed to bend over at my waist, put my hands on the floor and my knees bent forward too. Suddenly, the pain had gone. I realized I was kneeling. And with kneeling comes healing. Thank you God for a lesson learnt.
Thank you, God, for the good in this world, for the nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, policemen, bystanders, Good Samaritans from all walks of life who came together in community to help those made homeless from the terrible times of these past weeks.
Thank you, God, for the leaders in our world who speak out bravely against the evils in this world, to defend democracy, freedom of religion, human rights, refugees. Thank you God for aid workers in dangerous countries that risk their lives to bring food, clothing, medicines and shelter to people with nothing. Thank you God for the inspiration and example of our new Governor General of Canada, veteran astronaut, Julie Payette, and give her the strength and guidance to realize her dreams, and fulfil her plans and promises for a better world.
Thank you God that despite the terrible events in our world today, we can still find moments in our lives to give thanks – for family and friends, for our church community, for our missionaries and ministers in the field, for a surprise gift from a stranger, for a sudden smile, a warm hug, a dog’s tail wagging, a cat purring, a flower blooming, a rainbow, a sunrise, a sunset.
We each have our own reasons for thanking God. Let us pause for a MINUTE and tell him WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU this Thanksgiving Day – either silently or aloud.
These are Cindy’s words of gratitude which I think speak for all of us:
Thank you God for the times you have said ‘no’. They have helped me depend on You so much more.
Thank you God for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me even when my opinion differs from Yours.
Thank you Lord for the things You have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.
Thank you God for the doors you have closed. They have prevented me from going where you would rather not have me go.
Thank you Lord for the physical pain You’ve allowed into my life. It has helped me relate to Your sufferings on my behalf.
Thank you Lord for the alone times in my life. Those times have forced me to lean closer to You.
Thank you God for the uncertainties I’ve experienced. They have deepened my trust in you.
Thank you Lord for the times You came through for me when I didn’t even know I needed a rescue.
Thank you Lord for the losses I have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are my greatest gain.
Thank you God for the tears I have shed. They have kept my heart soft and mould-able.
Thank you God for the times I haven’t been able to control my circumstances. They have reminded me that You are sovereign and on the throne.
Thank you Lord for those people who You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth keeps me longing for Heaven.
Thank you God that I have an inheritance in the heavenly places, something that this world can never steal from me and I could never selfishly squander.
Thank you God for the greatest gift you could ever give me: forgiveness through your perfect Son’s death on the Cross on my behalf.
Thank you God for the righteousness You credited toward me;, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness that I could never attain or earn on my own.
Thank you, Father, that you know me, you hear me and you see my tears. Remind me through difficult times that You are God. You are on the throne and you are eternally good.
And thank you Lord, not only for my eternal salvation, but for the salvations You afford every day of my life as You save me from myself, my foolishness, my own limited insights, and my frailties in light of Your power and strength.
And above all, we thank you for Jesus Christ, for the truth of his word and the example of his life, for his death and resurrection and the promise of our own resurrection.