>Thanking When It is Tough to Do

>A great prayer from SCOTTY SMITH

    Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
 
     Lord Jesus, how I praise you that we don’t have to fake, stuff, or spin anything. The gospel puts an end to many things, including posing and pretending. That’s why the call to perpetual joy, prayer and thankfulness doesn’t mock our sensibilities and stoke our incredulity.

     In fact these very words—this trio of commands were written by a man who had every right in the world to question your goodness… doubt your promises…  and struggle with your providences (2 Corinthians 11:16-33). So who’s better positioned—who can be more trusted than Paul to deliver such a difficult calling?

     Jesus, our prayer today is for our friends and family members for whom life is a crucible of body and heart aches. The call to giving thanks is more difficult than usual. I pray for the chronic sufferers I know and love—those for whom life feels like a never-ending saga—a bottomless pit of  physical, emotional or mental pain. Their weariness is palpable. I understand the mounting frustrations and their intensified cry, “How long, O Lord?”

     Jesus, may your joy be their strength, for they have very little. May your prayer life be their encouragement, for theirs is nearly non-existent. May your thankfulness before the Father be mediated to their hearts… when it would be easier for them to curse than to praise… to disbelieve than hope…  to run away rather than run to you.

     Jesus, I also pray for those for whom the greatest pain is relational. Marriages and families which are in meltdown and breakdown… those for whom Thanksgiving will be spent at a table set for one… friendships broken by sin, strained by disagreement, weakened by neglect.

     Jesus, come in power and kindness, with your redeeming and transforming love. How might we be a part of your answer this very prayer? Extend your tear wiping hand through us to our family and friends this Thanksgiving week. So very Amen, we pray, in your merciful and mighty name.

Author: Jack Hager

Jesus invaded my life shortly after my arrest at age 26. I spent the first few years of my new life incarcerated. Went to Bible school after parole; have served with Kansas City Youth For Christ, Headwaters Christian Youth (Rhinelander, Wi), Family Life Ministries (Bath, NY), and now with Midland Ministries (Saint Joseph, Mo). Married with four children, work with youth, adults, inmates. Heavily involved in Bible quizzing for four decades. Narrow minded about Jesus and the gospel; fairly open minded about most other things. Speak in churches, camps (both teen and family), civic groups, public schools, Christian schools and colleges...amazed I get to do what I get to do....favorite verse Romans 15.13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, may overflow with hope."

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