Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Dear God, I was thinking about Thanksgiving this morning, and I’ve always had this thought about Lincoln, but I hadn’t necessarily had it about the first Pilgrims and their Thanksgiving. Of course, Lincoln’s proclamation of the first national day of thanksgiving was done in the middle of the Civil War, when hundreds of thousands of Americans were dying. But the first thanksgiving by Pilgrims was in the midst of pretty difficult times as well. Many of them ha died. Everyone had lost someone. Life was hard and uncomfortable, and yet they took time to celebrate you and your love. They decided to look beyond what their selfish hearts desired and embrace the path you had for them to walk.
As I type these words now, we are in the midst of a pandemic, political and social unrest, and economic challenges. Do we have the courage to still raise our voices to you and say thank you? We have unrest in our families–I have unrest in my family. Do I have the depth of faith to look at you and express my gratitude for all that you have done and are doing regardless of how it impacts my life personally? Can I see beyond the struggles and count the significant blessings you’ve given to me? How much do I take my wife, children, and parents for granted? How much do I take you for granted?
Father, I come this morning to enter your gates with thanksgiving in my heart and your courts with praise. As I pray about the place where I work and for your provision and protection, my overarching prayer is that you will give us exactly what we need–as individuals and as an organization. Help us to feel your love and then share that love. Help us to help those who need us. Help us to somehow communicate who you are through our work. Please show us the way, but before we get going I want to tell you that I really am grateful for everything you’ve done this year. You are an awesome, awesome God, and I trust you completely.
In Jesus’s name I pray,