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"Giving Thanks...For a Change!" by Daniel Henderson


Recently my son, an avid hunter, sat in his deer stand with his scope set and muzzleloader locked on a large eight-point buck.  As his heart raced with excitement, he pulled the trigger.  Nothing.  The buck was startled and escaped with his life.  As it turns out, my son had all the vital elements for an effective shot except for one essential ingredient.  He had the gun, the black gunpowder, and the bullet.  Unfortunately, he had forgotten to load the primer, which allows the hammer to ignite the powder and propel the bullet.  One missing ingredient led to a lost opportunity.


Including all the essential ingredients is vital when creating a desired product.  When baking a cake, if you omit the flour you have a soupy mess.  Leave out the eggs and the cake crumbles.  Omit the sugar and it is bland.  Forget the “leavening agents” of yeast, baking powder, or baking soda and you will have a flat and lifeless result.


An Essential – But Often Forgotten – Ingredient in Life and Prayer


Thanksgiving is an essential ingredient for real prayer.  Thanksgiving infuses all of our praying, thinking, and living with a vital experience of the goodness, care, and providence of God.


When we face difficult circumstances without gratitude, we feel worry and fear.  When we grow weary with overload and work, without gratitude, we complain and become stressed.  When we are coping with a strained relationship, without gratitude, we become critical and accusatory.  When we encounter failure and disappointment, without gratitude, we become hopeless and negative.


In 1 Timothy 2:1-8, Paul reminds us that thankful prayer is powerful in changing us and enabling us to change the world. This is a primary point of a grateful heart.


Five Key Insights:


Our thankful prayer is rooted in the character of God, not our circumstances.  In 1 Timothy 1:14-17, Paul opens his letter with deep gratitude for the saving grace and calling of Christ in his life.  His thankfulness crescendos with these words: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”   Regardless of our circumstances (and Paul’s were often very difficult, marked by suffering and uncertainty), we can root our gratitude in the truth of our King.  He is in charge of everything and is our eternal God whose purposes transcend time, our immortal Lord whose life is greater than any challenge, our invisible Master who works in ways that we do not always see or understand, and our wise God who does all things well.  We can be thankful indeed.


Our thankful prayer is a priority in community, not just individually.  As we read Paul’s admonition to pray “first of all,” we must remember that he gave these instructions to Timothy for the gathered church, not just individuals.  As I often state, corporate prayer and private prayer are as essential as walking on both the right leg and the left leg.  Gratitude must shape the community and culture of a church.


Our thankful prayer should embrace balanced, biblical prayer, not just “requests” for an easy life.  Paul encourages “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks.”  Rather than certain specified components of prayer, Paul is describing a fully-orbed expression of drawing near, seeking God’s presence, trusting Him for our needs, and doing it all with gratitude.


Paul also calls us to pray for ALL people with whom we are in relationship and give special focus to prayers for those in leadership, including political leaders.   If Paul could pray for the ruthless, godless Nero, we can pray with similar gratitude for those who lead our organizations, churches, and political systems.


Our thankful prayer changes us, not necessarily our situation.  Note the results of this kind of prayer: “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”   Thankful prayer changes our lifestyle, our attitudes, and our response to the leaders and society around us. 


Our thankful prayer accomplishes the Gospel mission through people, not programs.  Read Paul’s words carefully:


“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle  I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying  a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”


To summarize, when we pray as we should we will live as we should and the Gospel will be communicated to the lost as it should – through our lives.


Thankful Prayer – For a Change, Starts with Us 


Paul writes to the men, who represent the leadership of the church and home, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” Real, biblical prayer leads to the lifting of hands, indicating a surrendered and holy life.  The change God desires in our world starts in our hearts  void of wrath toward others and free of doubt toward God. 


So this year, let us pray and focus on celebrating Thanksgiving – for a change – starting with who we are and how we live, for the good of the society around us that is in desperate need of the good news of Jesus Christ.



Copyright © 2012 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.


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The “Father of our Country,” George Washington, the first President of the United States, declared the first national Thanksgiving Day in his first year and first term of office, to be observed on the 26th of November, 1789:

Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. Geo. Washington (See GW Papers, UVANational Archives, TextHistory of Thanksgiving National Holiday)

Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a National Holiday in 1863 and since then (with a brief interlude in 1939 when it was shifted to the 3rd Thursday), Thanksgiving has been observed on the 4th Thursday of every November. Washington’s proclamation serves as a model and guide for every generation. These were his “prayer targets” and point for point, modified for our current circumstance, they can, and I believe should be used in our prayers, today.

This proclamation, in keeping with Washington’s private prayers published after his death, the Thanksgiving proclamations of the Continental Congresses, and Colonial Governors and legislatures for decades prior to the Founding, all mixed thanksgiving with humble prayers for the pardon of our personal and national transgressions. Our Fathers understood the need of forgiveness for sin which would stand in the way of God’s continued blessing. Today, given our nation’s radical departure from God and His moral, spiritual and civil laws, together with our own private sins, our Thanksgiving prayer should include humbling ourselves with repentance and all the elements of 2 Chronicles 7:14 – and thanksgiving for His promise of national healing.

Lord, no nation in history has been so blessed as our own. Thank You for Your grace and mercy so extravagantly poured out upon America. Thank you for principles of life, liberty, righteousness and justice our Fathers built into our culture and civil government. Thank you for a praying remnant throughout history; that, amid spiritual crisis, has held on to the horns of Your Heavenly Altar, pleading the shed blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, holding fast to Him who is the Anchor of our Souls and the Benefactor of everything thing good we have received. Thank you for a system of government built the principles of liberty, self-government and the rule of law, and not the rule of kings and dictators. Thank you for valiant men and women, boys and girls across America who are taking a bold stand for Jesus Christ and their freedom to proclaim Him, amid an increasingly hostile culture. Thank you that efforts to stamp out the influence of Christianity in our nation and its history have not prevailed and cannot; as Christianity is etched in our monuments, our buildings, our holidays, our history books, but most of all in the hearts and minds of men and women across America, God-given faith, which cannot be eradicated. May revival in our churches and awakening in our nation come forth speedily. May You be mightily glorified in our churches, communities, homes, and every sphere of culture! Thank you for the Christian leaders You have raised up in our generation who burn with the same faith our believing forefathers possessed. Grant them favor, and may our children and grandchildren know the blessing of that faith and Your favor until Your soon return! (Ex 18:211 Chr 16:8-36Ps 30:10-1275:1 ff95:1-7aIs 61:1Pr 22:28Acts 4:20Eph 1:3-129:23Heb 13:717Jas 1:17Jude 1:3)

We pray, too, for the peace of Jerusalem, knowing that our safety is linked to theirs, our peace to their peace. Indeed the peace and prosperity of the entire earth is linked to that sacred city. May our own nation, yet again, become the shining City on a Hill envisioned by our forefathers. May we be blessed and be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. May our missionaries and Christian envoys be welcomed and fruitful in every land, and May the nations have cause for Thanksgiving, too, because of the blessings you bestow upon them. To You, Lord, be all the glory! (Gen 12:1-3Ps 33:12;Pr 122:6Zech 12:2-10Mt 5:13-1528:18-20Lk 12:42-43)

Finally, each of you who joins us in prayer each week, may you enjoy Thanksgiving with your families, church families and friends. May we remember the poor and needy always, but especially this week, as I know many of you do. As you are able to make prayer time, please consider these urgent matters: 1)Marriage: the Sixth Circuit Court ruling that upholds natural marriage and will be appealed to the Supreme Court; 2) International Colloquium on marriage: standing for natural marriage in the public squareTony Perkins; 3) Obama unilateral immigration reform: Pro-Family groups objectHeritage: Cost to Taxpayers: $40 Billion per Year; 4) Non-profits’ HHS Mandate Appeal RejectedHouse Files Long-awaited Lawsuit on Obamacare; 5) Situation in Ferguson, MO; 6) Lt. Gen. Boykin on Defense Secy.Chuck Hagel’s resignation (hear FRC Senior Fellow Lt. Col Bob McGinnis – starts 17:00 min); 6) the continuing problem with religious liberty in the military. 7) Nuclear Iran gets 7 more months. 8) EU to vote on “Palestinian” State on Thanksgiving 9) read FRC’s latest Social Conservative Review for exhaustive public policy prayer grist. Thanks be to God Who alone can govern all these matters. Thank you for praying with us over these weighty matters throughout the year! God bless you!


Rev. Pierre Bynum
Chaplain & National Prayer Director

Family Research Council
801 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-393-2100, Fax: 202-393-2134,

Email:, Web:

Thank you my heavenly Father that you revealed Jesus Christ to me through the book " I want to know More of Christ" by Steeve Hall.It teaches , instructs, edifiesand  makes God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit real ..from glory to more glory in my devotion.

I thank you that I receive heavenly messages such as " ..... I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness."  Jeremiah 31:3.He spoke to me " I drew to me in order to establish permanent connection with me.. not to loose connection with the Head" Colossians 2:19. I thank you,  you spoke to me " ...walk  humbly with me ...." Micah 6:8 . Thank you that Jesus is alive and lives me -Galatians 2:20 and that you made me a man of prayer in "Abba Father Prayer Group" 1 Peter 2:9; Revelations 1:6. I thank you  for many more promises made audibly to me and found in the Bible concerning me, my family, my country and church. I live ready to hear his voices.You  recently spoke to me " I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." Thank you LIVING GOD and HEAVENLY FATHER. Amen

Thanksgiving prayer from Psalm 136 >>>

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