“Oh give thanks to the Lord…” First and foremost, before we attempt to ask or seek or knock down the door of heaven with a barrage of requests, we must begin by worshipping our Father, the source of every single ounce of everything. We are encouraged to bring basketfuls of praise, armloads of gratitude, gallons of adoration, and present it before our good and gracious God who deserves our genuine awe. What an easy assignment! The psalmist wisely instructs us to “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).
Lord, we bring you our thanksgiving as a suitable offering. We pause right where we are, in the middle of our regular routines, to express our gratefulness to you. Forgive us when we fail to say thank you; preoccupied with our own minutiae, we disregard you. Forgetful followers that we are, we have elevated our stuff and nonsense to center stage. Create in us a stronger sensitivity to your blessings, and prompt us to be people who practice the delightful art of gratitude.
“Call upon his name…” When our young children, and later our grandchildren, call our name, our immediate reaction is to respond, to turn our face toward them away from all other preoccupations. We do this instinctively, eagerly, lovingly. A powerful connection exists between us; the sound of our name on their lips brings us scurrying to respond. This simple picture may help us recognize the pleasure we bring our Father when we call to him using his incredible names.
Lord, we have experienced you as Comforter and Forgiver, Holy and Just, Immanuel, Savior, and King. As you suggest, we call on your name today not to ask for anything, but to thank you for being our Creator, our Sustainer, our Redeemer. We love you Lord and worship you as our Shepherd, our Light, and our Lord. Thank you for revealing yourself to us through each of your names, and thank you for responding to your children who call on your indescribable, all-sufficient names.
“Make known his deeds among the peoples…” One way we demonstrate the extent of our love for the Lord is to brag about him every chance we get – to share about his mighty acts, to talk about his incredible power, to speak out loud so many will hear the grand news that he is the Living God, supremely in charge of the universe and of our own little worlds as well.
Lord, we ask you for a boldness to impart our love for you to others, to never allow the fear of what they might think to squelch our passion for you. Allow us to affect our community by sharing the story of your work in our lives, to declare the truth that you are a God full of mercy who extends the gift of grace to all who call on him. Use our lives to make yourself known to peoples all over the world.
We pray in the powerful name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth…” (Philippians 2:9).
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell