Prayer about gratitude

November 11, 2012

I continued to explore the theme of gratitude in my sermon this morning in Vinebranch. Here is the pastoral prayer that I prayed. I was tempted to refer to President Obama and Governor Romney by their first names only (properly, their Christian names), as in the Anglican tradition, but I worried that that would be interpreted as a sign of disrespect. (Far from it!)

Gracious God, who is always working for our good: Since we got out of bed this morning you have blessed us in more ways than we can ever acknowledge. We thank you for all your good gifts. We want to come before you this morning with hearts overflowing with gratitude—we always want to be grateful—but we confess that, far too often, we don’t feel that way. It’s so easy for us to get spoiled. We confess that when we face difficult circumstances, when our plans fail, when our dreams don’t come true, we too easily forget about you and your providential care for us. We forget that in all things you work for the good of your beloved children. We forget that your plans for us are always better than our own, and you’ve earned the right to be trusted, no matter what.

But we can’t learn this lesson on our own. We need you to teach us. We need you to show us. We need you to change our hearts. Please do so. And as you do so, please be patient with us. Forgive us as we fall short.

One of the blessings you give us is the blessing of living in this great country. We thank you for our leaders, our government, our courts. On this Veteran’s Day, we thank you for for those who risk their own lives to work for peace. We thank you that we can have safe, peaceful elections and transfers of power. We thank you that you call people to the difficult task of first seeking political office and then leading—people like Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Pour your blessings on Governor Romney as he enters a new chapter in his life. Encourage him and fill him with your love. Guide, direct, and strengthen President Obama as he continues to perform this very difficult job of leading our country as president.

We pray this in the name of your Son Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

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