A few years ago I got to thinking about how Thanksgiving could be more meaningful to my family – and not just a four-day weekend, a family get-together, and a day in which we eat more than we have all year.
I got to thinking about how our hearts might be moved if we thanked God for the things He rarely hears thanks for.
In First Thessalonians 5:18 we are instructed: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch that? In everything. In the good times, as well as the bad. In the pleasantries of life, as well as in the pain. During difficult times, trying times, and frustrating times, too.
So we began saying a prayer around our table each Thanksgiving that goes beyond thanking God for the food and His blessings over the past year. We began to thank Him for all the ways He has not performed according to our liking. For all the times He has said “no” and for all the ways He has worked in and through our lives, perhaps without us knowing it.
Will you try this Thanksgiving Prayer with me?
Thank God for all the unresolved issues and the ways you are still waiting for answers. Thank Him – regardless – and see how it moves the others who are around your table.
Consider praying this out-of-the-box bold prayer around your table on Thanksgiving Day:
Thank you, God, for this food we are about to eat. And thank You for Your many blessings on us this past year…the ones we’ve seen, as well as the ones we haven’t seen.
Thank you, God for the challenges that have come our way. They have helped us depend on You so much more.
Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds us that You know what’s best for us, even when our opinion differs.
Thank You for the things you have withheld and the doors You have closed. You have protected us from what we may never realize.
Thank you, Lord, for the physical pain You’ve allowed in our lives. It has helped us more closely relate to Your sufferings on our behalf.
Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in our lives. Those times have forced us to lean in closer to You.
Thank You, Lord, for the times You came through for us when we didn’t even know we needed a rescue.
Thank You, Lord, for the losses we have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are our greatest gain.
Thank You, God, for the tears we have shed. They have kept our hearts soft and moldable.
Thank You, God, for the times we haven’t been able to control our circumstances. They have reminded us that You are sovereign and on the throne.
Thank You, God, for those You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on heaven.
Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give us: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on our behalf.
And thank You not only for our eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford us every day of our lives as You save us from ourselves, our foolishness, our own limited insights, and our frailties in light of Your power and strength.
Thank You, God, for all that You have allowed and not allowed this past year. For we commit our lives anew to You this day and ask that You would continue to remind us, throughout this next year, that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.