November 21, 2020 - Pastor Message10/20/2021
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:6.
“Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines” Leroy Satchel Paige.
When we think of prayer, most of us probably first think about prayers of petition, asking God for things that we think we need. This is certainly a valid form of prayer, and there is nothing wrong with going to God for our needs. In fact, Jesus urges us to do so. But if that is the only way that I pray, then my prayer life is missing something: gratitude. Prayers of thanksgiving are just as important as prayers of petition, maybe even more so. When we thank God for the blessings we receive in our lives, it reminds us of the true nature of our relationship with God, cultivates an attitude of thankfulness in our lives, and leads us to another important form of prayer: praise and adoration.
God is not a divine vending machine. He is our loving Father who knows what we need before we even ask, even better than we know ourselves, and who showers us with blessings daily, if we have the eyes to see them.
Our prayers of thanksgiving remind us of this and open our eyes to the Father’s will for us by recognizing and treasuring his particular blessings for us, even in difficult times like the past year. Our prayers of thanksgiving also help us to develop a thankful attitude. Attitudes are the basic ways that we approach life and the people around us without even thinking about it because they reflect the kind of person we are. When we thank God regularly for his blessings, we develop an approach to life and the people around us that sees them as blessings too. We begin to look for the good in life, rather than the bad, and become much happier, healthier, holier people.
Finally, prayers of thanksgiving lead very naturally to prayers of praise and adoration. Our appreciation for God’s blessings leads us to a deeper appreciation of God’s graciousness and generosity. This in turn moves us to praise him, to celebrate his divine being, which is love, and to worship him as our loving God.
This Thursday, we as a nation celebrate a day that we call Thanksgiving. As you enjoy your family, great food, and hopefully entertaining football, don’t forget the most important part of the day: don’t forget to pray, thanking God for the many blessings he has given you. Allow me to begin that prayer by thanking God for all of you, the good people of St. Boniface. May God bless all of you for being such a true blessing to me, and have a great Thanksgiving!
Fr. Marc Stockton