I came across this prayer yesterday and wanted to share it because it’s appropriate for the holiday tomorrow. It’s originally from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
The line expressing thanksgiving for disappointments and failures grabbed me. The Holiday of Thanksgiving is one where it’s common to give thanks for the beauty of creation and for the blessings of friends and family. But our failures? Disappointments? Should we thank God for things that break our heart? Unemployment, sickness, mistakes, embarrassment, damaged relationships. Thanks be to God?
The prayer thanks God for these things because they lead us to acknowledge our dependence on God. As the scripture passage I’m preaching on this week says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. . . . Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:6-8). Like the leaves falling from the trees around us now, we can’t sustain our own life, and season come when we wither and die. Like clay pots, we can easily break. And our only hope is in the One who is Sovereign over all creation, who like a potter can shape and mold our lives according to his will. Thus the prayer offers thanksgiving for Christ: He whose life seemed to end in failure and disappointment, but who rose in victory and triumph. He who gives us life. He who repairs these broken pots.
Thanks be to God.