Celebrate, Pray, Thank

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


As you sit down to enjoy your turkey dinner and all the fixings and watch the football this week, we are actually celebrating Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was created to help us celebrate and give thanks for what we have in our lives each year.  Often at Thanksgiving we might ask questions like, whom or what are you thankful for?  We are reminded in Thessalonians, that God’s call for us everyday is to take time to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. 


Give that a try this Thanksgiving.  Take some time to rejoice for all the blessings God has placed around you.  If we don’t take time to stop and look around we can miss or forget many of the blessings we each have.  As you eat your Thanksgiving meal, talk with those around you about the reasons you have to rejoice.  Rejoice for the new family members, friends, places to live, and the opportunities you have experienced in the last year.


Have your rejoicing lead you into prayer.  When you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, remember that some people have few family they share the holiday season with.  If you have a chance to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, don’t forget those who struggle to put food on their table, let alone the enjoyment of a Thanksgiving meal.  Take a moment to pray to God for all that he has given to you, and remember those who may be struggling.  Pray that God may make his presence known in a powerful way to family and friends who may be feeling far from God.


Live up to what this day is named for – Thanksgiving.  Ask those you share the holiday with, what they are truly thankful for this year.  One side effect of a struggling economy and job market is that we are regularly reminded not to take anything for granted.  We give thanks if we have work of any kind, because so many who are seeking work may not have found it.  We give thanks for the places to live, because some families have lost their homes or been forced to downsize.  We give thanks for family, because although our world is more and more connected technologically, more people feel lonely and distant from family and friends.


God’s will for our lives is to rejoice always because God has given us so many blessings that we might miss if we don’t take the time to stop and look around. While things make look different than what we may have grown accustom to there are those who are left with even less.  We are called to pray regularly to grow our relationship with God and lift up the needs around us.  We give thanks because each day, each moment is a gift we have been given to live for God. 


Have a great Thanksgiving, and don’t forget rejoice, pray, give thanks, God’s will for us.


Pastor Bill


Discussion Questions

  1. What can you rejoice in this Thanksgiving, answerer prayer, a new opportunity, or something else?
  2. What might God be prompting you to pray for in this season?  Set aside some time to lift up those prayers regularly.
  3. How might you encourage those you share thanksgiving with to think about what they are thankful for in this season?