Prayers of Thanksgiving

Group of Christians praying in the cave at Yeo...

Group of Christians praying in the cave at Yeoju Pyungkang Jeil Conference Center near Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier his year, we began a series to help us develop our praying habits, with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this post. There is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the aspect of thanksgiving. Giving thanks to God for the things in our lives that we are blessed with is a very important part of prayer. We all should, of course, thank God for our food at meal time. And we often remember to thank Him for many other things. One way to “step up” the thanksgiving portion of our payers is by examining ourselves and our lives with respect not only to all that we have, but also by considering those who do not have many of the things that we are blessed with in our lives.

As with all prayer, a healthy reading of God’s word on a regular basis will sharpen our perspective by virtue of the personal growth that His wisdom imparts. But more powerful than anything else is a prayer that comes from within the heart. No matter what is going on in our lives, when we take the time to truly contemplate how blessed we are by God’s grace, it is impossible not to be grateful. Based on that assurance, I offer this simple prayer:

Our Holy Father in heaven
Creator of all that is and ever has been
I thank you for the love and sacrifice
of your son and our Savior, Jesus Christ
the author and perfecter of our faith,
And that because of that sacrifice,
we can come to you in prayer and bring our petitions.
I thank you, Father, for the life you have given me
and for the world that you spoke into existence
which holds so many great blessings for me.
Somewhere else, though another is hungry
yet because of your mercy, I am fed.
Though somewhere else, someone has no home
yet I am blessed with a warm and safe shelter daily.
And still you bless me further with good health
and with many dear friends and loved ones
and with brothers and sisters who care about me.
For these and for many other blessings, I thank you with all my heart
In Jesus name, Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Growing Daily By Prayer

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

By making daily Bible reading a part of our lives, we hear from God each day, and our lives are enriched. The other half of that communication occurs when we talk to Him in prayer. This year, we have committed to developing our prayer life so that we can pray more effective prayers that are pleasing to our Lord. To begin that effort this month, we have decided to dust off the old prayer box and pull out one of the oldest outlines for prayer method we know about – the ACTS method.

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is unknown where this originated, but it has been repeated countless times by innumerable evangelists. While it is true that there is no set of rules or structure for prayer that God wants us to use or has mandated, this method contains very good key elements to prayer that are easily remembered. No, we are not referring to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. People love acronyms because when they are not too complex, they help us remember things.  With that in mind, the elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

The element of adoration is to recognize the greatness of our Creator and that He is worthy of our praise, our worship, and our love for His majesty, His holiness, and His omnipotence. By loving acknowledgement of His awesome power, His boundless goodness and loving care, and the majesty of all that He has created, we give Him the glory of which He is worthy, and we focus our minds and hearts in the right frame of mind for the rest of our prayer.

Through confession in our prayers, we acknowledge our weaknesses to God, admitting that we are in need of His forgiveness to keep our hearts pure. And as Christians, this helps us to stay focused on the reason that we even have the privilege of being able to obtain forgiveness in prayer. We have a “High Priest,” who gave His life so that we could have that forgiveness, and by whom we can approach our heavenly Father in prayer.

Thanksgiving is so integral and important to prayer that we cannot emphasize it enough. We must recognize the love and care that God has shown for us – and continuously does so in all that He does for us. God has given us so many material and spiritual blessings in this world that He has created – not because we deserve any of it, but because He loves us even though we are not worthy of that love.

By making supplication to God, we recognize our dependence on Him for all things. We give Him our petitions, acknowledging and addressing not only our own needs, but the needs of others as well – a key component of prayer. Expressing our love and concern for others to God in prayer builds our faith, and helps us to grow as His children, reflecting the love that His Son had for all people and which He charged us to have as well.

There are many ways to pray, and this method is not the only one that will work.  Also, there is no prescribed order to these elements, nor are they all required in every prayer. But they can serve as a great frame of reference for planning our prayer. That planning – the preparation for prayer is an important aspect that we plan to focus more upon in our study of prayer this year.

We will more closely examine the first element in this method (adoration) next month, as we continue our study in prayer life.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Psalm 99, 100, 101

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh (painting by Be...

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh (painting by Benjamin West) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psalm 99 celebrates the supremacy of God over His creation, enthroned upon the cherubim. Note that the text says that although He is great in Zion, He is exalted over all the peoples of the earth. The verses refer to Jacob, Moses, Aaron and Samuel by name – reminding the reader of the pillar of the cloud (Exodus 13:21),  the holy priesthood, God’s own holiness, his forgiving nature, and the promise of Him avenging wrongs. Psalm 100 is another hymn for giving thanks to God for His faithfulness to all generations, and His shepherding of us, the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 101 is another royal hymn of David, making music to Lord, declaring his love to the Father for His holy justice, and pledging his faithfulness to Him. David promises to serve the people with integrity of heart and the expectation – yes even the requirement – that they respect one another as well as the Lord Himself.

No one who practices deceit
shall dwell in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue before my eyes.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.