Say “Thank You” — and “Please”
In catechism/Confirmation class the eighth graders are learning about prayer as we study Dr. Luther’s instruction on the Lord’s Prayer. Among our topics has been our motivation for prayer, the “why” of our prayers. To help the students evaluate their prayerful motivations, our workbook posed this question: “A student told his Sunday School teacher, ‘I didn’t pray yesterday because I didn’t want anything.’ What does that student need to learn about prayer?” That’s a good question for all of us. How do you respond?
Years ago I learned an acronym for prayer that offers the broader perspective: A-C-T-S: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Based upon the pattern of the Psalmists, the order is important. At this time of year, the last part of the acronym is timely. Thanksgiving, then Supplication/Need. With thanksgiving in the forefront, our needs and the needs of others are put into perspective. In thanksgiving we see the grace of God at work as our very prayers are lifted through Jesus who is the Way for our petitions to be heard and answered. St. Paul writes in Romans, chapter 8:31-32
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
God has given Jesus for our forgiveness and peace, so God provides all else that we need.
Pausing to count our blessings, we reflect upon the kindness, provision and power of God already at work in our lives. Then, we are ready to lift the needs of our neighbors and ourselves to the Lord. It has been observed that we usually teach children to say Please and Thank You, but with God the order should be Thank You and Please.
I hope to see you on Thanksgiving Eve for thankful worship at 11 am or 7 pm: Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good and his love endures forever! (Psalm 107: 1)