Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thanksgiving Eve


The prayer for Thanksgiving is more than our feeble attempt at communication with God. It is a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to teach us the lessons of Thanksgiving. As we speak to the Lord He speaks back to us. This evening as we pray to the Lord may He speak to us through this powerful prayer:

Almighty God, whose mercies are new every morning and whose goodness though undeserved still abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge your merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

I. Almighty God. In thanksgiving, we address the Lord, the author of all life. What is it that we can say about the Lord? Our prayer suggests three important realities.

A. Whose mercies are new every morning. The Psalmist reminds us “His mercy endures forever.”[2] Yet they come to us each day.

Every day is a new day. Every day is an opportunity to serve the Lord in this generation. Every day is the Lord supplies us with everything we need to support our body and life.

In the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, the question is asked: What is meant by daily bread? Luther sums it up with these words. “Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rules, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.[3]

B. Whose goodness though undeserved. The Lord’s goodness has nothing to do with you. Notice that we must acknowledge the complete opposite. The Lord’s goodness is completely undeserved. We daily sin much and deserve nothing but punishment. Yet, in spite of our sinfulness, in spite of our pettiness, in spite of our haughtiness, in spite of our meanness and condescension the Lord chooses to bless us. And we don’t deserve it!

C. Still [He] abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul. So also with you – without your Heavenly Father you could not survive. The Lord not only provides but He does it abundantly for every want of body and soul. We used this evening the explanation of the 1st Petition of the Apostles’ Creed as our confession of faith.

During this Thanksgiving Holiday read it again. It’s quite a list. It explains so well, how our Lord chooses to provide for you - everything you need not just physically but spiritually as well.

II. Grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit

A. That we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us. We need the Holy Spirit for the things of God are spiritually considered. We need the Holy Spirit so that we can come to understand the things of God. We need the Holy Spirit so that we can come to a greater understanding of everything the Lord has done for us.

B. Give thanks for all Your benefits. In thanksgiving, we offer to Him our worship and praise. In thanksgiving, we offer our praises in worship. In thanks living, we praise God as we serve our neighbor.

C. And serve You in willing obedience. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to want to serve God faithfully. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to follow His statutes with a willing heart. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to follow His commandments obediently.

III. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord,

A. Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are involved in the blessings I receive. Each person of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost are active in my life. As we have just celebrated Christ the King Sunday, we worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who lives and reigns through all eternity.

B. One God. He is one true God, the only true God. He is without beginning and without end. Yet, He has broken into time and space to be our Redeemer, Savior, Shepherd and friend.

C. Now and forever. This is not a simple phrase. It reminds us that the truths of God will never cease. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. The praises we offer Him tonight we last into eternity. The blessings He bestows on us today will continue once time ceases. We worship an eternal God whose mercies cannot be counted.

The only thing left to say after any good prayer is simply the word Amen. What is meant by the word “Amen”? This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means, “yes, yes, it shall be so.”[4] And it shall be so – in Jesus’ Name! A blessed Thanksgiving!

Passive Sentences –4%
Readability – 73/4%
Reading Level – 6.1

[1] The Crucifixion, Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
[2] Psalm 118
[3] Explanation to the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer
[4] Luther’s Small Catechism Conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer

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