Messenger November 2017 - Pause for prayer
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
As an American, November means Thanksgiving. It means roast turkey and stuffing, gravy, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Okay, I might have lost some of you with that last one. It means spending time with family and loved ones. It means reflecting on the things I ought to be thankful for.
Setting my mind on Thanksgiving is a helpful reminder to include thanksgiving in my prayers. Some may be very good at this: always remembering to give thanks to God for the many blessings he has given us before also petitioning God for our requests. I’m not so good at this. I often find myself jumping straight into my requests for God to protect, guide, bless, give. There is an obvious selfishness to this kind of prayer, as if God only exists to meet our needs. Lord, forgive us when we act in this way.
We need the healthy perspective of recognising our gracious position of receiving God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. We need the reminder that God is perfectly holy and that it is his name that is hallowed, not ours. We need the humility of admitting that every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of light. So it is a good way to start our prayers by giving thanks to God for who he is and what he has done for us.
Beyond this, the things we list in our ‘thankful’ column are so telling about our priorities. I have used this exercise with young people before: take a few minutes and write down all the things you are thankful for. *****You might even want to do this now, before you read the rest of this article. Go ahead; I’ll be here when you finish.***** Then look back at your list, and reflect on how your ‘thankful’ list reflects your priorities. If there is more ‘stuff’ on your list (homes, finances, etc.) than people, what does that mean for you?
This same exercise is essentially what the author of Psalm 136 is undertaking. The author lists action after action that God has taken on behalf of his people, and recognises that each of those actions reflects God’s love for his people.
Let us give thanks for the geographical position God has granted our church. We sit on one of the busiest main roads in city centre, and as a result have people walking past and coming in and out of our building all week long. Give thanks for all the things Eileen and Livingstones Cafe do to welcome and minister God’s love to people during the week.
Let us give thanks for the many new faces in our congregation in recent weeks.
Let us continue to pray for the leadership team. There is much to do, and each member of the leadership is seeking to carry out their responsibility faithfully and prayerfully. Please join us in seeking God’s will by praying.
Remember those who are grieving now and in the recent past. Do also remember those who are mentioned weekly in our church up-date: those experiencing long-term health issues, those abroad for various reasons, and others. Please also remember those in our congregation who are not able to make it to church, either for short or long-term reasons.