Thanksgiving and Prayer

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My daughter was teaching Sunday School this morning. Since Thanksgiving is later this week, she asked the kids why they were thankful. One boy was quite adamant that he was thankful for his Legos. This is a very truthful response by this youngster. In fact, when adults are asked that same question, they also tend to be thankful for some particular possession.

However, if you have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you have so much more for which to be thankful. We can be thankful for being called into a relationship with God, for God revealing Himself through His word, for the way God meets our needs, and for the right to commune with God through prayer.

The First Thanksgiving

The first American Thanksgiving didn’t occur in 1621 when a group of Pilgrims shared a feast with a group of friendly Indians. The first recorded thanksgiving took place in Virginia more than 11 years earlier, and it wasn’t a feast. The winter of 1610 at Jamestown had reduced a group of 409 settlers to 60. The survivors prayed for help, without knowing when or how it might come. When help arrived, in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England, a prayer meeting was held to give thanks to God. Prayer is more than asking things from God.

Prayer is an exercise in the worship of God, to lift up His name and to offer thanks for all His benefits (Matt 6:9).

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, he first taught them to worship God in their prayer. In His model prayer, Jesus said, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” The Pharisees had turned prayer into a public display that focused on impressing others with their long and tedious prayers. Their prayers were not even directed toward God, but to other men. Jesus condemned this type of prayer. Jesus taught that our prayer should first be directed to God—in heaven. Worship is the essence of prayer. Only those who have true inner righteousness can address God in worship.

When we enter into this form of relationship with God, we can then show our love for God by revering His name. God’s name is to be hallowed—that is His name is to be revered above all others. Thus, prayer is our ultimate worship of God.

In prayer we boldly approach a throne of grace, not a throne of judgment (Heb 4:16)

Since Jesus is the High Priest, we—His followers—can come boldly before the throne of grace. Imagine the great advantage the believer has. We can approach God and fully expect that we will obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. In our despair when we can scarcely conceive of going on in life, God reaches down to us when we prayer and helps us through the tough times. No matter how much difficulty we go through, God will provide mercy to us and through Him we will fine the grace we need to keep-on keeping-on. Why wouldn’t we want to keep on praying to Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?

When we pray, we enter the presence of God in the name of Christ (John 14:14, 16:23-24).

We are to pray in accordance with God’s will. When we do so, Jesus will do it. With the crucifixion of Jesus, the Disciples were commanded to know enter into the presence of God through the through the name of Jesus. In prayer, we can now enter the very presence of God.

When we pray under the control of the Holy Spirit, we will offer petitions within the will of his Heavenly Father (Rom 8:26, 27).

As believers, we are not left to our own resources. We now can rely on the control of the Holy Spirit to help us as we pray. The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. The Holy Spirit helps us by carrying the load so we do not have to strain under its weight. All of this is now under the control of Holy Spirit and is, therefore, according to the will of God.

All of our prayers should be made in faith and with thanksgiving (Phil 4:6; Col 4:2)

We need not be anxious as we move through life. Rather, we can, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let [our] request be made known to God. Therefore, we must continue in vigilance in our prayers to God always with thanksgiving. This means we need to be devoted to prayer—we need to persist and continue in prayer. Prayer is not a “spiritual luxury.” Prayer is essential for our spiritual growth. It is vital to our spiritual health. Prayer should be continued. In addition, a spirit of thankfulness should always be a component of our prayer. Prayer makes certain that we have a proper attitude before God.

Pray involves proper principles and goals (Matt 6:9; Luke 11:2-4).

Prayer is concerned with more than the well-being of the one who prays. A vital aspect of its purpose is to allow the will of God to be done, and to bring glory and honor to his name. Let’s just list some verses that show us the relationship between prayer and God’s will.

True motives for prayer

The desire that God’s name be honored

Matthew 6:9–13 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

2 Samuel 7:25–26 “Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said. So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel.’ And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.

The desire that God’s will be fulfilled

Matthew 6:9–13 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Hebrews 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ”

God answers prayer that accords with His will

1 John 5:14–15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

We who believe in the name of Jesus Christ have full confidence (assurance) when we approach God in prayer. Requests we make in accordance with His will are heard by Him and a believer can be certain of receiving answers to them (though the answer may be wait or no).

Petitioners may enquire of God to discover his will

Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Holy Spirit helps believers to pray in God’s will

Romans 8:26–27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

God’s response to prayers allows believers to discern His will

2 Corinthians 12:7–9 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God does not respond to the prayers of the wicked

John 9:31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

Isaiah 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

The importance of prayer at TFL

Prayer is an absolute priority at Truth Fellowship Live. We have determined to incorporate an active prayer time during our worship service. This is an important time for us to pray together as a congregation. We make our goal to pray for items of importance to those who attend our services. This is an activity missed by that those who catch us online at www.truthfellowshiplive.com or who see our weekly broadcast (Community Access Television).

Prayer during our worship service is a special time. Please share your praises, thanksgivings, and supplications during this time of our service.

We also pray for TFL and its ministries on Tuesday evenings. This is a time of intense prayer and it is open to those of the TFL family who want to participate in a regular prayer time. We start our prayer at 6:00 PM. We realize that many cannot make this prayer time, but you would still like us to prayer for you and your concerns. To compensate for this, please consider sending your requests to us so we can pray for you. You can do this by sending an email of your prayer request to prayer@truthfellowshiplive.com.

Have you prayed today? Do you set aside a regular time to pray to our loving God?

Have you thanked God recently for all of His provision and His help as we go through life?


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