I, like most parents, have allowed my kids to pray before meals, and they, like most children, offer up an endless string of short sentences beginning with the words “God, thank you for” and ending with every item and every person they can think of. Children learn by example, and prayer is no exception. If they are merely listing off the things in front of them, it’s probably because they are emulating similar prayers we’ve offered at the table.
In reality, however, most of our “real” prayers are anything but thankful. Private, silent prayers are more often confessions of sin and requests for blessing than they are an outpouring of thankfulness.
But, if God is sovereign, and if all that He does is for the good of His people, shouldn’t we, as Christians, be able to apply the same mealtime formula to all of our other prayers?
“God, thank you for this red light. It’s helped me to slow down and focus on you.”
“God, thank you for this trial. I know you use all things to conform me to the image of your Son.”
“God, thank you for the wisdom that you offer to those who ask. I need it to make this upcoming decision.”
“God, thank you for the forgiveness that’s available because of your Son. I need it because I am a sinner.”
So, tomorrow, whether you’re asked to pray or to endure a child’s lengthy list of food and people, remember that we have much more to be thankful for than napkins and turkey. And as the season shifts from food to gifts, fight to maintain a heart of Thanksgiving.
photo credit: https://inatrin.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/happy-thanksgiving-a-childs-prayer/