Thanksgiving prayers were first uttered by God's people in the Old Testament and God ordained a specific sacrificial offering for thanksgiving. David, the psalmist, wrote many Thanksgiving devotions and Paul the apostle taught that we are to always pray and give thanks to God in all circumstances. When we use the Bible for devotions and for prayers, we are following after the hearts of men and women who led exemplary ideals for worshipping God. This November, if looking for good lessons to share with family or for prayers to pray during the holidays, turn to the Bible and find inspiration that turns a heart towards gratitude and finds the peace that much of the holiday season is promoting.
It's interesting that during the very seasons that Christians celebrate gratitude and the birth of Christ, our lives get the busiest and we are often so overloaded with schedules and shopping lists (turkeys to cook and potatoes to smash) we experience extreme stress and time seems to slip out of our grasps. This is actually the perfect time to stop all activities and reflect upon worshipful Thanksgiving devotions. God ordained many traditions and specific rituals to teach His people proper responses to His love and mercy. "And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil...." Jesus fulfilled the law of the Old Testament, and because of His ultimate sacrifice, we no longer must practice the laws that were in place to teach us of our shortcomings. But, Christ clearly promoted special times of giving thanks, and the teachings of Paul include turning our attitudes constantly towards gratitude.
God is not the God of hustle and bustle and stressful preparations. As a matter of fact, God taught that we should quiet down and sit before Him. "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10) David wrote about the importance of being still and taking in God's word. "I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways." (Psalm 119:15) Perhaps the best way to design a holiday season is to take time into the schedule for Thanksgiving prayers and meditation.
When looking for reverent holiday devotions, turn to Colossians 3:6-7, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him... as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." Or, when wanting to pray thoughtful Thanksgiving prayers, turn to the Psalms. "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever." (Psalm 30:11-12). Celebrate the real reasons for the season by preparing Thanksgiving devotions to share and praying to God with gratitude.