There are many types of prayers of thanksgiving. I’m going to talk about sacrificial thanksgiving to God.
I want to share with you an insightful prayer of thanksgiving. It was a prayer recorded from the “Prince of Preachers”, Charles Spurgeon in the 18th century. I translated the colonial English to today’s English for the family of believers gathered here today in one spirit, one mind, that is in Christ Jesus; who is worthy of all praises.
Prayer O Lord God help us now really to worship You. We would thank You for this occasion. We bless Your name for setting apart this blessed season. Lord, will You shut the door upon the world for us? Help us to forget our cares. Enable us to rise clean out of this world. May we get rid of all its down-dragging tendencies. May the attractions of these grosser things be gone, and You do take us away to Yourself.
We do not ask to be charmed nor to see an angel in shining apparel, but we do ask that by faith we may see Jesus, and may His presence be so evidently realized among us that we may rejoice as well as if our eyes beheld Him, and love Him and trust Him and worship Him as earnestly as we should do if we could now put our fingers into the print of the nails.
Now I’ll paraphrase the Colonial English in a small passage from Spurgeon’s sermon which will help us understand the association between his prayer and his sermon on thanksgiving. The part I’ll cover is about praying thanksgiving to God. He starts off with a Psalm of which I’ll look at first.
I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the Lord. — Psalm 116:17 (KJV)right.
This speaks to me that when I am in pain it takes great effort to thank God; a real sacrifice to do that.
I want to give you an example of how it spoke to me. A few days before I was going on a mission, I woke up with a gout attack in my knee. I was in great pain. The gout swelling caused my knee to slowly dislocate at the knee cap. As I was in pain on one knee, and not moving, I asked God to please take this pain away. Only by His grace, did I also thank God for this suffering. All glory to God for sure. A little while later the pain was tolerable.
Another time I was thinking negative thoughts and made up my mind I was going to complain about someone. Immediately I tripped going up cement stairs and my leg hit the concrete stair hard. But by God’s grace again I said ‘Thank you God, they were not nice thoughts. That wouldn’t be nice if I complain about the person. God thank you! Thank you for getting those selfish thoughts out of my head.’ Both times I was suffering yet thanking God. I know I’m not near the point of praying all the time I’m suffering in various ways, but it helps me being purified.
Having said that, let’s get back to the passage from Spurgeon’s sermon. I have brought the language forward into this day and age.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this should be the result of every Christian’s experience of divine grace.
O Lord, truly I am Your servant and the son of Your handmaid; You have loosened my bonds; I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Being delivered from spiritual bondage, and being made servants of the living God, we must and will praise the Lord as long as we have any being. Thanksgiving should always run parallel with prayer in connection with the church of God. What is true of the individual is true of individuals collected as a corporate body. There is not a true church of God on earth, except what has abundant cause to say, I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving; and we make a great mistake if, when we hold our days of prayer and cry unto God, we do not at the same time make them days of praise, and bless His holy name for what we have received. David seems to me, in this verse, to stand out in contrast with many, for there are some who will say, “I will continue to pray.” “Yes,” says David, “but I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.” Others will say, “We will meet together and sorrow over the sad state of the afflicted world; we will speak with one another about the apostasy of the faithful, the lack of piety, godliness, the superficiality of piety, the heresy of much of the doctrine that is preached today, and the worldliness of much of the living that is lived.” “Yes,” David would say, “and I will come with you, too, and make confession and humble myself before God, but I will also offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving.”
What you have to know is that in updating the colonial words, I didn’t change them. You see, in those days there was apostasy of the faithful, the lack of piety, the lack of godliness, the superficiality of piety, the heresy of much of the doctrine that was preached in his day, and the worldliness of much of the living that was lived. He was talking about Christians. He was talking about Christians in his own church.
I was not expecting the 1800s to be such a parallel to today with the challenges for us as individuals and for the local church. There is absolutely nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (ESV) 9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us.
What do we do with this? Is there any encouragement found in this realization that as a corporate we have not apparently grown? Well it certainly may seem that way. But there is something amazing here that we can’t overlook. They survived then. God hasn’t changed. Men were born, some saved and some dammed. This tells me we will be ok. We, as the body of Christ, will continue to be sanctified. Others will either come to the Lord or not. Life and death will go on during this pandemic.
Let us give sacrificial thanksgiving for how our sovereign God knows what He is doing. He has been sovereign repeatedly over the centuries shown in the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, and in the New Testament, the New Covenant.
The Bible and God’s sovereign work recorded in history reveals we will not be abandoned, forgotten or forsaken. Let us today, May 23, 2020, in our current pandemic situation, sacrificially thank God for so many things He has done in our lives and will do in our lives. Let us praise and thank Him from scripture, even in our most anguished state, knowing in our hearts He will complete a good work in us at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippines 1:6). Let us pray as 1 John 3:18 says 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
- Let our deeds also be in prayers of sacrificial thanksgiving as part of our living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. May this be part of our spiritual act of worship today in our time we spend before the throne of God. (from Romans 12:1).
Find out in these passages not only prayers of thanksgiving, Prayers of Sacrificial prayers of thanksgiving but also find reasons to be thankful. Find these even in suffering or in the good times, Oh! How the Lord is forgotten many a day in the good times.
- Psalms 116 (ESV) I Love the Lord
- Psalms 34 (ESV) Taste and See That the Lord Is Good
- Psalms 118 (ESV) His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
- Psalms 107 (ESV) Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Romans 5:1-5
- Matthew 5:12
- Luke 21:19
- James 1:2-4
- Psalms 100:4-5
- 1 Peter 1:6-7
- Colossians 4:2
- Proverbs 17:3
- Psalms 23
- Matthew 5:10-12
Food for thought. Does the below passage John 16:1-4 warrant Prayers of Sacrificial Thanksgiving?
1 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.
Suggestion: With Christ the Centre, Meditate on the questions/thoughts below.
Are there more things in the Bible to be thankful for than things in the Bible that we may not feel thankful for?
How can you apply this giving thanksgiving through being thankful to God in all circumstances of your life?