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Monday, December 11, 2023

In everything give thanks

By C.J. Cobb, pastor, Madison Christian Church

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (King James Version)

My son, Jack, played baseball when he was growing up. We have many great memories of Little League.  

One of my favorite memories was of Bradley, he was playing in left field the score was 3-2 (last half of last inning), our favor, with two on base. There was a line shot hit to left field, Bradley was moving at the crack of the bat but it looked hopeless.  At the last moment Bradley stretched, diving for the sure double, making the unbelievable catch.  Everyone went wild; we had won the tournament. 

Bradley made his way to the dugout where the coaches grabbed him telling him what a great catch it was. Bradley replied, “Coach it was just a prayer.” 

Bradley hit on something profound, prayer is not just the uttering of words; it is also the habitual and constant highlands and background of great living.  

I believe that is what Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing.”   

I cannot imagine a busy man like Paul saying prayers without ceasing. I believe that Paul was saying, “Let your life be your prayer.”  

To be sure all year long, every day ought to be more triumphant because of Easter, every month more grateful because of Thanksgiving, all our married life sweeter because we remember the anniversaries, all the year ought to be more unselfish because of Christmas.  

There is value in special times and places.  Prayers can help prayer, but prayer itself is spiritual life at its creative origin.

This is a challenge to both you and me that we do not let prayer remain unconscious and unrecognized in us.  Lift it up: make it radiant and powerful. Make our lives one that people cannot understand unless they understand our prayer.

Great Spirit Prayer

Oh, Great Spirit,

Whose voice I hear in the winds

and whose breath gives life to all the world.

Hear me! I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes

ever hold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made

and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand

the things you have taught my people.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden

in every leaf and rock.

Help me remain calm and strong in the

face of all that comes towards me.

Help me find compassion without

empathy overwhelming me.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,

but to fight my greatest enemy: myself.

Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset,

my spirit may come to you without shame.

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