“I am so thankful that I have a joy that the world can not rob me of; I have a treasure that the world can not take from me; I have something that it is not in the power of man or devil to deprive me of, and that is the joy of the Lord.” – D.L. Moody
As the body of Christ endures our current moment of trouble, it seems an appropriate time to remember that “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3). The Israelites spent 40 hard years in the wilderness depending on God for all the necessities of life to learn that walking in obedience with God matters. It is not that food, shelter, clothing, or health are trivial matters. They aren’t. God does not teach Israel to detach from the physical world or to view the creation He has made as evil. Rather, God reminds Israel that trusting in God’s wisdom is the means by which those who walk with God navigate that challenges of the physical world.
Even after the forty years in the wilderness, God recognizes the human tendency to focus on the gift and to forget the Giver (Deut 8:11-20). Several years ago, I wrote the following prayer to help remind me that, as D.L. Moody said, “I am so thankful that I have a joy that the world can not rob me of…a treasure that the world cannot take from me…” No matter what we face, we have God with us. Unlike those around us, we have His peace, which is beyond our understanding; His hope, which is not grounded in health or prosperity; and His joy, which is not fleeting but endures as we come to know God more deeply. Let’s pray that even in the midst of the challenging times in which we find ourselves that we will find it in ourselves to have hearts of gratitude.
A Prayer of Thanksgiving: Grateful for the Giver
Lord, as I participate in the all-too-consuming activities that require my attention today, I pray that I would not lose sight of You.
Give me this day a heart of gratitude.
Give me a heart of gratitude which looks beyond my appreciation
Give me a heart of gratitude which is ever and always
thankful for the Giver
thankful for the One who has provided
thankful for the One who, unlike His gifts, will never fade away.
Give me a heart of gratitude which refuses
to surrender to frivolous complaint,
to seek more than you have given,
to succumb to the annoyances and frustrations of this world.
Give me a heart of gratitude which is so filled with thanksgiving that worry and concern have no room.
Give me a heart of gratitude which remembers you as the present Giver who is my refuge and my portion.
Give me a heart of gratitude which cries out thanksgiving and praise even in the midst of anguish, pain, and frustration.
Give me a heart of gratitude which is capable of love, hope, and peace despite the tensions, hurts, and foolishness of this world.
Give me a heart of gratitude which is ever and always Yours. Amen.
JAMES SPENCER, PHD is President the D.L. Moody Center, an independent non-profit organization based in Northfield, MA, and author of Useful to God: Eight Lessons from the Life of D. L. Moody and Thinking Christian: Essays on Testimony, Accountability, and the Christian Mind
Photo credit: Daniel Akashi