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Prayers of Thankfulness

By Gerry Straker, 29 Mar 2020

Prayers of Thankfulness
We’ve been thinking about the first thing we should do in response to the coronavirus. In a time of crisis, we should pray. That’s what Jesus does. In a time of judgement, we should pray prayers of repentance. That’s what God’s people do.
 
We’ve also seen that we should be more concerned for our hearts than our hands. Imagine if we were all as passionate about avoiding sin as we are the virus! One way we can be sure God is using this coronavirus is to expose our sin and grow us in Christlikeness (Romans 8:28-29). We should be praying for our holiness.
 
Another way we should be praying is, with thankfulness.
 
Paul writes: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ (Philippians 4:6 NIV 1984). All our prayers should be with thanksgiving! And notice too that the answer to anxiety is this: prayer with thanksgiving. So, if you’re feeling anxious, start thanking God. And if you’re not feeling anxious? Also start thanking God!

Here are some ideas for prayers of thankfulness...

  • Thank God for his unchanging character in these changing times.  
    • ‘God is…not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?’ (Numbers 23:19 NIV 1984).
    • ‘God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change’ (Psalm 55:19 NIV 1984).
    • Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17 NIV 1984).
It is good to know that God is unchanging when all of our situations have changed in so many ways in recent days.

  • Thank God for the once-for-all work of the cross by Jesus our high priest forever
 
We can always be thanking God for the cross of Christ. John Newton wrote: ‘Behold the Beloved of God, perfectly spotless and holy, yet made an example of the severest vengeance; prostrate and agonising in the garden, enduring the vilest insults from wicked men; torn with whips, and nails, and thorns, suspended, naked, wounded, and bleeding upon the cross, and there heavily complaining, that God had for a season forsaken him. Sin was the cause of all his anguish. He stood in the place of sinners, and therefore was not spared. Not any, or all, the evils which the world has known, afford such proof of the dreadful effects and detestable nature of sin, as the knowledge of Christ crucified.’
 
We are like Barabbas, condemned to judgement because of our sins. But Christ Jesus in our stead, steps in, takes the judgement of God, and drains the cup to the very dregs, that we might be set free.
 
The shock is not that our hearts are unclean and we cannot disinfect them, that when we insist on being in charge and want Jesus dead, and that every sin shouts ‘Crucify him.’ No, the shock is this: that Jesus would die, not in the place of worthy people, unfortunate people, weak or struggling people, but people who wanted him dead.
 
This means that however wicked your public dirty laundry and whatever only you know in the dark recesses of your unclean heart, God knows all about it and still Jesus offers to take your judgement.
 
And so, whatever is going on at the moment for you, Christians always have something to thank God for!

  • Thank God for his providence
 
God always provides for his children, but sometimes we notice it! We’ve been thanking God that our work together in our C3 teams is paying off and that some of the decisions we made have turned out, by God’s grace to have been good ones.
 
Other things to thank God for include:

  • That this is only a taste of judgement, and God gives us many good things both to his people and to the world.
  • The hard work of NHS workers and other key workers.
  • Opportunities for rest for some.
  • New baby in the Church family!
  • Birthdays!
  • The loss of control and the opportunity to repent and grow in holiness.
  • The wake up call to the world.
  • The internet: even 20 years ago we couldn’t have communicated like this.
  • A pledge for £15,000 for Ben as our Assistant Pastor.

Please join us in thanking God for these things and for any way you have seen his blessings. 

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.