Summary: The third in a series of four sermons entitled, ‘Prayer as a Second Language’
This past week, our elementary, middle, and high school students joined with thousands of other Indiana students in taking the ISTEP test. I have not heard a great deal of thankfulness from my two for the test but I sense there has been a great deal of thankfulness for the conclusion of the test. Am I wrong, students?
This got me to thinking about how humorous, and honest, kids are sometimes when it comes to prayer and thankfulness. For example there was the child who was asked to pray before the evening meal one night.
He looked over the table before bowing his head to pray. But instead of praying aloud, he picked up his fork and began to eat.
Puzzled, his parents asked him why he did not pray before his meal. He responded, ‘I already prayed for this food; these are leftovers!’
Slide 1 We are in the third segment of a four-part series, ‘Making Prayer Your Second Language’ and today we focus on the place of thanksgiving in prayer.
Now, one of the issues that we have addressed in this series deals with the attitude we bring to prayer.
Slide 2 For example, if we follow our simple outline of ACTS: (Adoration, Confession, Thanks, and Supplication) we can be in prayer with an attitude that says, ‘God! You’re awesome!’ And in that attitude we are able to truly praise God for who He is.
Then as we move into confession an attitude of humility before God as we admit the truth about ourselves and our condition is an essential attitude for us to receive forgiveness and a clean slate.
But as we move beyond telling God that He is awesome and that we are truly and deeply sorry for our sins, having an attitude of gratitude for what He has done for us is also very, very important.
For what are you thankful this morning? Is there not at least one thing that you are thankful for? In our brief video clip this morning, we are going to be presented with several things to be thankful for. Use it as a time to thank God for what He has done for you.
Slide 3 Video clip from ‘Making Prayer a Second Language’ on Thanksgiving
Slide 4 Our main text for this morning is Psalm 100 and here it is again…
Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
Slide 5 Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Slide 6 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.
Slide 7 For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Each of these verses contains items to be thankful for, how we should be thankful, and why we should be thankful. Let’s look more closely at them.
Slide 8 ‘Shout with joy to the Lord, O earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.’
We are to joyfully and audibly thank God! Thanksgiving is something that cannot and should not be done silently and though we at times do praise God in silence, there is a necessary place for corporate and joyful praise!
Together let’s shout out our praise by saying ‘Amen’ together! Amen means ‘so be it!’ So be it that God is worthy of praise! Amen!
An attitude of joy and gladness is essential to praise. This attitude serves a corrective to the gloom and doom of life.
As followers of Jesus though we have difficult times, we need to spend a great deal of time in thanksgiving to God for what He has done for us.
Slide 9 ‘Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.’
It never ceases to amaze me that when an actor or actress receives a big award like an Oscar, they spend a few moments thanking others for their support, encouragement, and the ‘Academy for this award.’ I supposed that if I were to win an Oscar for my work on or in a film that I made that required months to film and even several different countries to film it in, I probably would thank a lot of people, the least of which would be my family.
We have something that much greater to be thankful for, however. We have the God who created us and gave us our talent and abilities. He made us! We are his people! He is God! How thankful are we for the truth, the reality that we are God’s people and that is He our God and our Lord, our leader?