In Deuteronomy, Moses teaches the Children of Israel one last time. They will be entering the Promised Land without him, and he wants to make sure that they remember all that God has done for them. In Deuteronomy 8:11-36, he reminds them of how the Lord freed them from slavery in Egypt, led them through the wilderness, providing them with food and water and making them God’s people through the giving of the Law, cautioning them about becoming complacent once they have settled in the abundant land God is giving them. He says: Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth." But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today (vs. 17-18).
It’s a good reminder for us as well. We live an abundant land and are blessed by God in so many ways. How easy it is to forget that everything we have, God has given us. How easy it is to forget that God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2, 2 Corinthians 8:12-15).
This Thanksgiving, I offer a prayer of grateful thanks to God:
Gracious and generous God, thank you for all the blessings you have given us.
We thank you for the blessing of homes to shelter us against the storm.We pray for those who have no place to lay their heads, whose homes offer only minimal shelter, whose homes are damaged.
We thank you for the blessing of a variety of clothing appropriate for the seasons.We pray for those who are clothed in rags, or are clothed inadequately.
We thank you for the blessing of the many and varied possessions surrounding us.We pray that our possessions do not hold us, that we may find joy in giving.
We thank you for the blessing of food in abundance.We pray for those who are hungry this day, for those who do not know where their next meal is coming from, for those who do not have reliable access to food.
We thank you for the blessing of clean water to drink, to wash with, easily at hand.We pray for those whose access to water is limited or who don’t have enough water.
We thank you for the blessing of health and for access to effective medicines and adequate medical care when illness strikes.We pray for those who are battling illness and addiction, who lack adequate medical care, who cannot afford medicine or treatment.
We thank you for the blessing of meaningful work, and income that provides for our families.We pray for those who are unemployed and those who are underemployed, for those who work long hours yet barely make ends meet.
We thank you for the blessing of the love of family, for the joy of friends.We pray for those who are lonely, who are far from home, who are mourning loved ones, who are estranged from their loved ones.
We thank you for the blessing of this country where we are free to travel, to gather, to speak whatever and whenever we want.We pray for those who are restricted in their movement across boundaries, limited in their assemblies, and whose speech is silenced.
We thank you for the blessing of our government, by the people, for the people; for the freedom to vote, for the wonder of peaceful transfer of power.We pray for those whose governments are oppressive, where transfer of power is taken by force, where war threatens peace and safety. We pray for our nation, heal the wounds of hatred and distrust, give our leaders wisdom and guidance, that we may all work together for the common good.
We thank you for the blessing of freedom to worship as we want.We pray for those who worship in secret, for those who suffer persecution for professing faith in you.
We thank you for the blessing of a faithful community of believers who share each other's joys and bear each other's sorrows.We pray for your church throughout the world, that the unity of Christ binds us together in love, and empowers us to work for your kingdom.
We thank you for the blessing of your love which surrounds us, for your amazing grace which saves us.We pray for the day when everyone knows the warmth of your love and the peace of your grace.
O Lord, you truly have blessed us abundantly. Make us a blessing to others. Give us hearts that are grateful and generous, as you are gracious and generous to us. In Jesus name, Amen.