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A Scripture for Giving Thanks

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we thine unworthy servants
do give thee most humble and hearty thanks
for all thy goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all men.
We bless thee for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for thine inestimable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we beseech thee,
give us that due sense of all thy mercies,
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful;
and that we show forth thy praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to thy service,
and by walking before thee
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Spirit,
be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

“The General Thanksgiving,” Book of Common Prayer

I pray, O God, that I may know you and love you,
so that I may rejoice in you.

And if I cannot do so fully in this life
may I progress gradually until it comes to fullness.

Let the knowledge of you grow in me here,
and there be made complete;
Let your love grow in me here
and there be made complete,
so that here my joy may be great in hope,
and there be complete in reality.

Lord, by your Son, you command,
or rather, counsel us to ask
and you promise that we shall receive so that our “joy may be complete.”
I ask, Lord, as you counsel through our admirable Counselor.
May I receive what you promise through your truth so that my “joy may be complete.”

Until then let my mind meditate on it,
let my tongue speak of it,
let my heart love it,
let my mouth preach it.
Let my soul hunger for it,
let my flesh thirst for it,
my whole being desire it,
until I enter into the “joy of the Lord,”
who is God, Three in One, “blessed forever. Amen.”

Anselm, Proslogion

 

My Morning Prayer

Greg Strand – July 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Lord God,

Almighty and everlasting Father,

You have brought me in safety to this new day:

Preserve me with your mighty power,

That I may not fall into sin,

Nor be overcome by adversity;

And in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose;

Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Prayer in the Body of Christ

Greg Strand – March 25, 2013 2 Comments

Last week there were two posts on lessons learned on the need for prayer as pastors.

Michael Strand, associate pastor at the Free Church in Cheyenne, WY, and my son!, wrote of some lessons he is learning about life and ministry as a pastor in the local church, and the need for prayer, not only for the church, i.e. people that make up the church, but also for the pastors: “Praying for Your Church”.

Michael notes, “We should all be praying for the church.” Paul and his prayers in his epistles are used as the model for this sort of praying. He also lists specific things for which to pray, also listed from the Bible. Michael concludes with the following reminder/exhortation:

Pray for the pastors, elders and deacons who are in your church that we may faithfully lead the people that God has entrusted to us. May all of us remember to pray for our churches that God’s name may be made great and He would get all the glory.

Often the perception is that pastors are the ones doing the praying for others, but they are just as needy, just as desperate for prayer as others. This is a lesson Kevin DeYoung has relearned. Recently Kevin and his wife experienced a medical problem that caused pain to body and soul. As they walked through this, one of the elders at the church encouraged Kevin to let the people of God know so that they could join them in prayer. Kevin shared what he learned with an encouragement to others, “Pastors, Ask for Prayer:”

Here is one of the main lessons:

Every Christian needs the care and compassion of the body of Christ. Pastors knows this better than anyone. But we can be slow to accept it for ourselves. Obviously, I’m not suggesting we embrace a martyr’s complex or take advantage of our people’s kindness. But there is something deeply biblical, fundamentally wise, and particularly powerful about the shepherd acknowledging he is first of all a sheep. Pastors are real people-real fallen, hurting, human beings-and we need the church like everyone else.

What are the lessons you are learning about prayer . . .

  • in both doctrine and practice?
  • in both praying for others and requesting prayer for yourself?

Killing of Christians in Nigeria

Greg Strand – December 7, 2012 Leave a comment

It is not news to anyone, but we are now living in a post-Christian culture. One of the implications of this is that any individual or group that experiences unfair treatment (sometimes only perceived or based on feelings) report their experiences as victimization and “hate crimes” and the perpetrators are punished. This is not to deny that hate-crimes exist and people and groups are hurt by them. I acknowledge it happens, it is hurtful, it is wrong and offenders ought to be punished.

However, I also find there is an often and obvious exception. When this happens to Christians, rather than providing a consistent response, the Christian or Christians are accused of bringing this on themselves. There is little sympathy or protection for them. And what we experience here is nothing in comparison to what Christians in other parts of the world experience, where persecution, suffering and death is the all-too-common experience of these dear brothers and sisters.

Recently I read a statement (HT: World) made by Emmanuel Ogebe, Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, responding to the media reports that Christians were retaliating against radical Muslim attacks.

It’s very difficult to look at churches being blown up and say this is tit-for-tat. One side is doing the killing, and one side is doing the dying.

These are the sorts of unfair accusations that are being made, and more regularly. As unfair and frustrating as this is, if this is the way our Lord and Savior was treated, we ought to expect nothing different (Jn. 15:18-20). The preacher of Hebrews reminds his readers to “remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you are in one body” (Heb. 13:3). Though our experiences have not reached this point, we are to remember them.

At the local Free Church where I am a member, we pray specifically and explicitly for some member(s) of the persecuted church every Sunday. It is our attempt to affirm that we are “one body” and that this is an important way in which we are relating to them as though we are “with them.”

What are you doing? What more can you do?