Archdeacon Mark Ireland led the first of our prayer workshops in October*. He spoke from his own experience and offered lots of helpful, practical wisdom on how to keep a “Quiet time” going. He mentioned that at times he has regularly made use of the General Thanksgiving – in fact it’s a prayer that he has memorized. This prayer was written by the 17th Century Bishop of Norwich, Edward Reynolds, and the original version can be found a few pages before the collects, epistles and gospels in the Book of Common Prayer.
One of the beauties of the prayer is that it ensures that thoughts of the gospel fill our hearts as we seek to pray. So not only do we give thanks for “all the blessings of this life; but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here’s the prayer in modern English; why not use it as you begin your time with God?
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you most humble and hearty thanks
for all your goodness and loving kindness.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And give us, we pray, such a sense of all your mercies
that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful,
and that we show forth your praise, not only with our lips,
but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be all honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Alternatively you might like to give this a try: at the beginning of the day prayerfully read the following three verses from the Bible; the first two will help you preach the gospel to yourself reminding you why Jesus came into the world. The third will encourage you in your daily response of faith in Christ. After the verses there’s a prayer to pray; this can then be followed by your own Bible reading and prayers.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4,5)
“The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“The Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’… for we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:7,14)
O God of great grace, as the world awaits me today may my first thought be of you. By your Spirit, as the new day dawns so may the eyes of my heart be enlightened with the knowledge of your glory.
I praise you that in the fullness of time Christ was born into this world and that he loved me and on the cross gave himself for me.
May my knowledge of Christ’s work bless my soul with renewed faith.
And may this faith be seen in the work I do for him.
I ask you to open the door of opportunity that I may serve you today.
May my deeds be wise, making best use of the time.
May my speech be gracious, seasoned with salt.
May the joys of this life lead me to thankfulness.
May the trials that will confront me produce steadfastness.
I ask you now to give me a humble, teachable and prayerful spirit.
This I pray through Jesus Christ my Lord.
Yours in Christ
*The second workshop with Mark Ireland is “How to pray with others” and will be held on Wednesday 16th November at 7.30pm in the Green Room.