Pastoral Prayer - Thanksgiving

Father of Blessings,
As we gather this morning, and as we look forward to Thanksgiving here in a few days, we can't help but pause for a minute and give you thanks.

We often think as if we are independent creatures. As if what we have is a result of our own strength. As if we are owed things. But in truth we are deeply dependent. Our simple existence is gifted. The air we breathe, the crops that provide our food, the sun in the sky, the earth beneath our feet – we made none of this. We uphold none of it. All of it is from you who created and sustain all things.

We did not knit ourselves together in our mothers' wombs – you did. We do not keep our hearts beating and our bodies working – you do. We take the things you have made and with our hands that you have designed and our minds that you have formed we make of them objects and hold them up to heaven and say “Look at how great we are.” And in your fatherly grace, you forgive us for even this presumption, although in truth they are all from you.

Even more than all of this, we do not deserve salvation. We do not deserve to be Your sons and daughters. We rebelled against You, and by all rights we should have been consumed. But You spare us, You paid the price we cannot pay, and You offer us life that we cannot earn. Every physical blessing and every spiritual blessing flows from You.

Forgive us for our ungratefulness, Father. Hear our gratitude: thank You for all that You provide.

Even though after all of that we might be chastened, we thank You and still come with our requests. We come believing that You are so unbelievably generous that, even with all You have done, You might give us still more. So, Lord, hear our prayers for those on our minds and hearts this morning.

Bring healing to those who are sick or in pain. Comfort and uphold them in the face of life's challenges. Carry them through this broken world and bind up the ways this brokenness has affected their lives.

Protect those in dangerous places: those in situations made dark by sin, those who work to serve and protect others, and those who are far away. Make Yourself known to them and wrap Your Spirit around them to keep them safe.

Provide for us our daily bread. Give us confidence in life's hard times, a confidence that flows from the knowledge that You are in control. Not a sparrow falls without Your care, and we are no sparrows, we are Your children. Teach us to give thanks, to look at this world not out of fear or out of possessiveness but out of the security that rests in knowing that all of this is from You. We give You praise, for from You and for You and to You are all things.

We pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom and in whom we have true blessing.