Back in September 2009 I wrote a post entitled “How to combat the spirit of discouragement”, which you can find by clicking on the link below:
14 months have passed since then, and as discouragement threatens with engulfing me, I find myself in need of remembering the amazing things that God has done in my life over that period of time. Just as I did all those months ago, I would like to express all these wonderful blessings as a thank you prayer. In churches we are often encouraged and sometimes pushed to stand up in front of the congregation to share the testimony of what God is currently doing in our life. I believe this can be an amazing way of encouraging others in their own struggles if you are an extrovert and are gifted in public speaking. However, if like me you are an introvert and detest speaking in public, this kind of pressure only serves to put one into bondage by feelings of guilt and inadequacy. God has blessed me with an ability to express my feelings through the written word and so it is that I would like to use this space once more to encourage others who are going through trials, to remember with a thankful heart the very many instances in which God’s providence and grace have come their way and given them relief in their pain and sorrow.
Here it goes:
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, my Redeemer, my Saviour, my bread, my light, my breath, my hope:
Thank you Lord for miraculously healing my mother after suffering a brain aneurysm. The odds of someone fully recovering from such an ordeal are not great, but you have answered our prayers, surpassed our expectations and produced so much fruit as a result. You have strengthened my faith as well as erased some of the doubt in members of my family; you have strengthened our family bond and broken some of the barriers put up by the enemy aimed at creating a sense of alienation and confusion; you have delivered my mother from the claws of death and given her in your mercy and compassion more years to live, more opportunities to witness your abounding love and unending grace and mercy.
Thank you Lord for interceding on behalf of me and my family in all the areas that I have laid at the foot of the cross over these past months. Thank you that you laid your life for us and in so doing provided us the comfort of knowing that as we sail through troubled waters, you have walked that path before us.
Thank you that the tumour found on my face last Christmas turned out to be benign and it has not grown in the last few months, and so surgery is not needed on my face.
Thank you Lord for delivering my family from what could have been the end to our family life, our marriage and our future. Thank you that what the enemy used to kill, steal and destroy, you have turned around and made into an incredible source of joy and blessedness. Thank you that though my husband lost his job over a year ago now in very painful circumstances, you have brought much good out of a very scary situation. Thank you that today he is happy doing what he does best and that YOU are the only one he has to answer to with regards to those things you have entrusted to him to be used for your kingdom and for your glory. Thank you that you have brought about justice and restitution of ALL that was taken away from us.
God, thank you for knitting me together in my mother’s womb and for seeing to my needs before I speak them into being. Thank you that as I am grieving the loss of an uncle consumed by alcoholism and gambling, I get a glimpse of the limitless compassion that Jesus felt during his time on this earth towards the lepers and outcasts of society. Thank you that though the empathy towards my uncle’s plight ripped my heart apart, you reminded me through his name, Manuel, that you are indeed God with us, because though we cannot see you, you are forever present, forever carrying us on the palm of your hand even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Thank you Lord that you have given me the grace and the strength to use my uncle’s death as a catalyst for me to give up alcohol altogether in order to break the generational curse and stronghold that alcoholism and addiction have had on my family for generations. Thank you that you have not abandoned me and left me to despair waiting for the wolf to devour me, but given me a hope, a future and an ability to turn what was meant for evil to a source of fruit and blessing.
Thank you Lord specifically for prophets like Larry and Dave, whom I have met in the blogosphere and whom I have no doubt you placed in my path for a godly purpose. From the very first day you brought them into my life, they have been a relentless source of encouragement, comfort, guidance and inspiration. I have felt your hand reach down right into my circumstances as they delivered your personal messages in the middle of our family’s pain and fear. When I doubted your call in my life, they lifted me up with words of great promise and the picture of who it is you see when you thought me into being, and not of who it is that I am today.
Thank you for encouragers like Bonnie and Randi whose wisdom and prayers help me to persevere when I am tempted to give up.
Thank you for your wonderful saints at the Salvation Army, Belle and Michael, who are an absolute inspiration in my everyday life. Thank you that in the midst of all the confusion in The Church today, there are people like them who live out their faith by loving, feeding and looking after the lost, the poor, and the broken-hearted with the unconditional love of Christ. Thank you for placing such a wonderful vision in front of a few of us to begin the “Help to Feed the Homeless” initiative two years ago this month. Thank you for how you have multiplied beyond all our expectations the number of people in and outside our church who are committed to giving food each month. Thank you that you have stirred the hearts of your people to serve beyond the limits of our church and for purposes beyond the self-preservation of our church. Thank you that you have called out these people to serve in humble and sacrificial ways which testify to your unending mercy and love for the lost sheep.
Thank you Jesus that you love The Church so much that you gave yourself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to yourself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Thank you Jesus that this cleansing process is most assuredly taking place in our own local church right now. Thank you that the new person you have appointed to lead us has heard your cry and is willing to sever fancy outreach programs and evangelistic marketed events in order to go out, to send out your saints into the community, so that as they have first received, they can give away the wonderful blessings and gifts that you have bestowed on and entrusted us with.
Thank you Lord that the tide is changing and that as gardeners cut off those branches which are dead and have become a detriment and a burden to the rest of the tree, so do you establish who within your body is a hindrance to the overall growth of your kingdom and who needs to be pruned back in order to be filled with the determination, zeal, humility, conviction and faith that are required to withstand the battle against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.
It is amazing how one’s heart can be filled with inexplicable joy and hope when taking stock of all God has done in our life, all God has protected us from, and the amazing turnarounds that God has brought about in incredibly desperate situations.
Thank you God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Forever I will praise you, for you are the same yesterday, today and FOREVER and in YOU I can put all my trust and hope. AMEN