A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Lord today we stop to come before you—to remember the reason why we give thanks. We live in such fragile times and if we are not careful this day will pass us by. The jingling of bells, the sparkle of lights, and the Black Friday sales already have captured our attention. Lord, keep our eyes only on you. May we get rid of any distractions today that will eclipse the glory of thankful worship.

Lord help us as we prepare to serve our family, friends, and guests. We ask you to get our hearts ready to serve wholeheartedly, unconditionally, and with loving-kindness. For you Lord are good and your love endures forever; your faithfulness continues through all generations (Ps 100:5). Help us to see your guiding hand, your love, your grace in our relationships with our families. Take our hurts, pain, and expectations as a sacrifice of praise. 
For we need to love others the way you love us—with sacrifice. Help us to see that the only thing we can offer you is a grateful heart for the privilege in calling one another sister, brother, mother, and father. Thank you for our children, our grandchildren, and our grandmothers and grandfathers. 
Help us to remember—as Paul once wrote, “[To] give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:18). Thanksgiving Day is the day you expect us to do just that—to look up, look around, and look within us to say, “Thank you, Lord.” It will change our perspective. It will glorify you. 
So today we thank you, for your sovereignty, your character, and your mercy in all of our messes. Thank you for your Word that guides our steps and gives us a standard for living. Thank you for your compassion that so often envelops those who need your comfort. 
Thank you for our homes, and all of the things you have so graciously given us. All of these things belong to you. Our clothes, our dishes, our forks, and spoons. Thank you for our cars, our bikes, and our televisions. Thank you for our computers, the technology that helps us stay connected to others. May they continue to build the body of Christ. 
Thank you for good food—for coffee beans from far away places like Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia. Lord, thank you for the people from areas far and near to our homes. Please be with those who don’t have anything to eat or drink. I pray for the people in Puerto Rico—for the people in countries ravaged by all kinds of storms. I pray your love will spread through the ministries working there. 
Lord, thank you for friendships—for the gift of community and words of encouragement. Thank you for those who make us laugh, who sit with us in the darkness, and for those who stay faithful even when we walk away. Thank you for creating us different—in your image—to love and serve one another, all for your glory, all for the sake of showing others the love we have in you.
Lord, thank you for our pastors, church leaders, our mentors who disciple us and remind us how we should live. I pray for their hearts and their families. I pray for their protection. Thank you for their teaching and their commitment to study your Word.
Lord, thank you for good health. For hands, feet, and the complicated things such as allergies, skin disorders, hearing loss, cancer, and other diseases. Thank you for medicines, doctors, and nurses. Thank you for all of our disabilities. They keep us humble; they remind us that only you are perfect. 
You are our hope. In the darkest of times, you are our light. When we are weak, you are strong. Thank you for your comfort—for the heartaches that crush and humble us. Thank you for the things that keep us on our knees. 
Lord, thank you for giving us the energy and determination to help us to finish what we started. Thank you, Lord, for your Spirit. That teaches us, comforts us, and provides us with spiritual truths. We pray that we would continue to stay sensitive to your Spirit and that we would continue to love you with all our hearts, minds and our souls. 
All of these things are just a fraction of the things you have given us. Everything comes from you. And it is our desire that this Thanksgiving Day will start us on a journey to give you thanks every single day. Through Christ, then, let us continually offer to you a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of our lips that proclaim our allegiance to his name (Heb 13:15).  To you be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.