Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March 4- Thanksgiving and Prayer

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.
{Picture is of Genevan Psalter- the early Calvinists were known for their singing of the Psalms)

March 4
“Give thanks unto the Lord for He is good. His mercy endureth forever.” Psalm 106:1
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:17-19)

Calvin: “Thanksgiving is the chief exercise in godliness in which we ought to engage during the whole of our life. “ (Psalm 50:3 commentary); “Our Lord gives all that is in the world as gifts to sustain us, in order that all life (and ourselves) give praise back to Him.” (CR 31:507). there is such a close connection between petition and thanksgiving that they may conveniently be included under one name. In asking and beseeching, we pour out our desires before God, seeking both those things which make for the extension of his glory and the setting forth of his name, and those benefits which conduce to our own advantage. In giving thanks, we celebrate with due praise his benefits toward us, and credit to his generosity every good that comes to us. (III.20.28)

Today is Noah’s Day- when the animals came out of the ark he said, “March forth!” A little pun in these trying times. You can bet Noah was glad to march forth out of that ark. He made a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
In tough economic times, thanksgiving for what we have lifts our spirits, and takes the edge off of our sorrow. Calvin often referred to thanksgiving as “the sacrifice of praise.” God wants us to give not just the sacrifices we bring, but the praise (Romans 12:1).
Thanksgiving and asking go together for Calvin. Both are for the glory of God, and both involve us in the person of God, recognizing God is our provider and the one who answers our prayers. Thanksgiving also is a check against selfish praying. When we give thanks to God for answered prayer it motivates us to pray some more. Calvin indicated that thanksgiving “opens the gate of prayer.”
If we were not thankful for the prayers that God answers, it does something to us and also to our relationship with God. If I never said “thank you” to those around me, then I would be self-centered. I am not likely to get more help if I don’t say “thanks” for the help already given. Human beings liked to be thanked. God does as well. In fact, God knows it is good for us to acknowledge Him in our lives. To live ungratefully is to find ourselves in a hell of selfishness.
So on March fourth, let us march forth with gratitude and prayer!
Prayer: Thank you God, for the gift of prayer. Thank you for the blessings that we have, even in an economy that is deteriorating. Thank you that you hear our prayers and are able to answer them.

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