QUESTION: What do prayers of thanksgiving include?
Prayers of thanksgiving are proclaimed throughout the Bible. In 1 Chronicles 16:7-36, we are shown through David’s song an excellent example of four elements included in true thanksgiving:
- Remembering what God has done for us.
- Telling other about it.
- Showing God’s glory to others.
- Offering gifts of ourselves, our time, and our resources.
Of the 150 psalms, David wrote 73 of them. This collection of prayers and songs express the heartfelt feelings from deep within his soul. In them, we can read prayers of thanks for answered prayer, deliverance from difficulties, God’s greatness, His protection, His enduring mercy, and never ending love. God provides all of those things for us still today.
Prayers of giving thanks are indeed important as we all have reasons to be thankful. In fact, we are reminded “Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will. . .” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We can be thankful for who God is and for the opportunity He gives us to turn to Him in all situations, good and bad. God is always there for us. Our sincere prayers let Him know that we are thankful for that. Prayers of thanksgiving should be a continuous part of our everyday lives.
Psalm 100 is a vow of thanksgiving. It says, “Shout with joy to the LORD, O earth! Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the LORD is good! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.”
The following song contains words stating what we should be most thankful for. Jesus came to pay the debt for sins of which we are all guilty; He was sacrificed and resurrected, paving the way for our forgiveness:
Lord I lift your name on high
And I come to sing your praises
You came from heaven to earth, to show the way
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky,
Lord I lift your name on high.
(Lord I Lift Your Name On High – Rick Founds, 1989)
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
– We have all
and deserve God’s judgment.
, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him.
, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He
for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was
rose from the dead
according to the
. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your
, declaring, “
Jesus is Lord
,” you will be saved from
and spend eternity with God in heaven.
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow JesusYes, I am already a follower of JesusI still have questions
As the weather grows colder and the leaves fall, and Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, it is natural that our thoughts turn to those whom we have loved who are no longer with us.
How appropriate, then, that the Catholic Church offers us November, which begins with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, as the Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory—those who have died in grace, yet who failed in this life to make satisfaction for all of their sins.
In recent years, perhaps no Catholic doctrine has been more misunderstood by Catholics themselves than the doctrine of Purgatory. Consequently, we tend to downplay it, even seem a little embarrassed by it, and it is the Holy Souls who suffer because of our discomfort with the doctrine.
Purgatory is not, as many people think, one last trial; all of those who make it to Purgatory will one day be in Heaven. Purgatory is where those who have died in grace, but who have not fully atoned for the temporal punishments resulting from their sins, go to finish their atonement before entering Heaven. A soul in Purgatory may suffer, but he has the assurance that he will ultimately enter Heaven when his punishment is complete. Catholics believe Purgatory is an expression of God’s love, His desire to cleanse our souls of all that might keep us from experiencing the fullness of joy in Heaven.
As Christians, we don’t travel through this world alone. Our salvation is wrapped up with the salvation of others, and charity requires us to come to their aid. The same is true of the Holy Souls. In their time in Purgatory, they can pray for us, and we should pray for the faithful departed that they may be freed from the punishment for their sins and enter into Heaven.
We should pray for the dead throughout the year, especially on the anniversary of their death, but in this Month of the Holy Souls, we should devote some time every day to prayer for the dead. We should start with those closest to us—our mother and father, for instance—but we should also offer prayers for all the souls, and especially for those most forsaken.
We believe that those Holy Souls for whom we pray will continue to pray for us after they have been released from Purgatory. If we live Christian lives, we too will likely find ourselves in Purgatory someday, and our acts of charity toward the Holy Souls there now will ensure that they remember us before the throne of God when we are most in need of prayers. It’s a comforting thought, and one that should encourage us, especially in this month of November, to offer our prayers for the Holy Souls.
I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast illuminated my face by Thy Covenant and Truth;
Day by day I seek Thee, and sure as the dawn, Thou appearest as perfect Light to me.
I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me by Thy strength; Thou hast shed Thy Holy Spirit upon me that I may not stumble.
Thou hast not permitted that fear should cause me to desert Thy Covenant; Thou hast made me like a strong tower, a high wall, and hast established my edifice upon a rock as an eternal foundation.
Thou hast placed me, O my God, among the branches of the Council of Holiness; Thou hast established me in Thy Covenant, and my tongue is like that of Thy disciples.
Thou hast established my heart on Thy teaching and truth, directing my steps into the paths of righteousness that I may walk before Thee.
I give Thee thanks, O Lord, for Thou hast enlightened me through Thy truth.
In Thy marvelous mysteries, and in Thy loving kindness, and in the greatness of Thy mercy, Thou hast granted me knowledge.
For Thou art an eternal God; all Thy ways are determined for ever, and there is none other beside Thee.
I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast placed me beside a fountain of streams in an arid land, and close to a spring of waters in a dry land (or desert), and beside a watered garden in a wilderness.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord, God of mercy and abundant grace, for Thou hast made known unto me Thy wisdom and Thy marvelous deeds; for I trust Thee in Thy grace and in Thy great goodness and in the multitude of Thy mercies; for I lean on Thy ETERNAL truth.
Delivered by the Right Reverend Gene Savoy, Jr. at the 24th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service in Reno, Nevada.
President George W. Bush prays with troops before sharing Thanksgiving dinner at Fort Campbell, KY, in November of 2001
We thank you for seeing us through once again to this Thanksgiving day. And for bestowing this gluttonous repast upon our detestable selves.
We thank you for having abstained from striking us down
With any of your hundreds of indescribably agonizing diseases
Or through some seemingly senseless accident
Like being trampled under the massive hooves of an enraged stagecoach Clydesdale.
We thank you for being the version of yourself that is worshipped at our local church
And not some other, similar version of yourself
That is revered as worthwhile by heathen hordes in far-off lands.
We thank you for smiling upon our family
So that the just sunlight of truth reflects off your enormous teeth
And warms and comforts us in our times of trial.
We thank you for escorting us to the wonderful world of America
And granting us the will and the resilience to commit genocide on its native peoples
Whose love of casinos and malt liquor tarnishes your greatness.
We thank you for presiding over our fledgling secular state.
And kindly permitting the use of your name on our currency.
Without demanding royalties.
We thank you for granting our family enormous wealth and power
And the genetic fortitude to endure prolonged and gratuitous exposure
To unwashed persons so distressingly lesser than ourselves.