Happy Thanksgiving Day.
As my holiday blog offering, let me offer a few thoughts on the word thanksgiving.
The English word thank originally had a connection to a very similar word think. Therefore we should understand giving thanks as the verbal response to a mental exercise. To be thankful means that one begins a type of thinking that leads to thanking.
This is video of the sermon I preached this past week at First Boynton Church. The sermon is an exposition of Acts 4:23-31 and is titled, A Praying Church.
No matter the age of the parent or the child, one of the greatest ministries is to intercede to God on behalf of your child. When the child is young, the parent has a daily, perhaps hourly, opportunity to teach the child about the things of the Lord. As kids become adults and pursue their own lives, the teaching times are less frequent.
However, a parent can always pray for their children regardless of physical separation. In Isaiah the Lord promised Israel that as a part of his restoring of the nation that he would do a work in the lives of the children of his people. This promise to Israel is my prayer this morning for my children.
I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.
Perhaps we need to adjust our verbiage and our actions with regard to prayer. Our pastor, Buz McNutt, preached yesterday on the parable of the persistent widow from Luke 18:1-8. In so doing, he reminded us that our Puritan ancestors spoke of praying through things instead of praying about things.
This has resonated deep within me. In fact, I am writing this in the wee hours of the morning after being awakened by the Lord to pray. My soul has been churning as I have cried out to the Lord with a fresh focus on this kind of praying.
When it comes to lawyers advising their criminal clients, they exhort them to plead the fifth amendment. In other words, they should keep their mouths shut.
The reason for this advice is provided in the reading of the Miranda Rights. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Other people live by a different code. If suspected of anything unethical or inappropriate, the mantra is, Deny. Deny. Deny. Even if, or especially if one is guilty.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he responded by giving them what is known as The Lord’s Prayer of The Model Prayer. Since Jesus taught only what he received from the Father, we can assume that the Father in heaven wants to answer this kind of prayer for his children.
As an earthly father, how can I want anything other for my kids and grandkids than what our heavenly Father wants for us? In a previous article I listed the first fatherly prayer request based on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6.
It is much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so at odds with prayer as vanity.
When the unique (only begotten) Son of God teaches us to pray to our Father, we are listening to privileged information. Jesus so identified with the Father that to see him was to see the Father. To hear him teach on prayer was hear the Father teach on prayer. That is, our Father was teaching us how to communicate with him. How to agree with him. How to hear his own heart beat for us.
So what if we took what our Father teaches us about praying to him, and apply it to what we desire in the lives of our children? First of all, these things should be at the very core of our existence as fathers. I so desire that my children would walk closely with the Lord. So taking a cue from The Lord’s Prayer or The Model Prayer, here is how this father is praying for his children and grandchildren.
1. Father, make your name holy to my children and grandchildren
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.