I woke up this morning with a thankful heart. Yet, I lacked the inspiration or the material to write a prayer for Thanksgiving. Then, I received the following message from The Rev. Stuart A. Bates, Rector of St. Francis Episcopal Church – Houston. Father Bates’s message is exquisite. It is so simple yet profound that I include his words for you to contemplate today.
Father Bates’s Message:
“We know we should be thankful, and more so on the day of thanks called Thanksgiving.
We often seek to pause and remember all our blessings and the things we have. As a cultural child of the 60s and 70s acquiring more things was good for families and the economy!
A thought has swept into my mind, and I share it with you. What if this Thanksgiving Day, instead of giving thanks for the things we have, we give thanks for Who we have? A refocus might be in order away from things–toward Who is with us.
This Thanksgiving may we give thanks for Jesus, the presence of God with us.
Jesus Christ is always with us, closer than we may think or experience. Hopefully, we know this not only in our heads but in our hearts. Jesus is with us in our homes, at our work, and in our family gatherings. And yes, Jesus is present in the depths of relationships that don’t seem to work or are strained and even in relationships that seem to be a lost cause. Jesus is still there. Jesus is with us in rejoicing and weeping, in victories and sufferings. Jesus is with us and that is the real Blessing to give thanks for.
As we give thanks to Jesus for his faithful loving presence with us today may we also remember the poor, the broken, the marginalized, those in prison, and even those who suffer from their own sins and desperately need healing, and a warm hand of connection.
Jesus says to each of us, “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come into you and eat with you, and you with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
This Thanksgiving with great thankfulness open the door to Jesus and dine with him.
Giving thanks for each of you and with love in Christ. Rev. Stuart A. Bates”
Let us pray together.
Dear God, I thank You for being with me along with Your light, love, and spirit in me every single day
God, I thank You for those in my life, like Father Bates is for Jack, who show me the way, the truth, and the light not just on Thanksgiving Day but in my waking and my sleeping, from my first breath until my last heartbeat–until I sit at Your Table thankfully feasting forever on Your heavenly peace. Amen
If you think Jack’s prayer helps you or will help someone you know, please forward it to them. Jack may never make millions selling books or writing prayers, but spreading God’s good news to others is reward enough for him.
Ann Boland, Jack’s Publicist