Pastor Tom Lammers, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Delano
A favorite story comes to mind as I ponder the fact that Thanksgiving recently passed.
Two fishermen, contemplating catching the “big one” casually ignore the sign which tells them to “beware of the bull.”
In high anticipation, the fishermen merrily banter back and forth about who might catch the first fish and the largest.
As they near the stream, one fisherman happens to look up and his eyes meet those of a huge bull. As he freezes in fear, the second fisherman looks up in time to see the bull begin its mad charge toward them.
The race is on; fishermen discarding rods, stripping off their creels, running as they have seldom run.
Looking back, the one fisherman shouts to the other, “He’s gaining on us. Pray, pray for us, we’re not going to make it.”
His friend hollers back, panting, nearly out of breath, “I can’t, I can’t. I never made a public prayer in my life.”
His friend, almost out of breath sputters, “I don’t care; pray, because he’s going to catch us.”
“OK, OK, I’ll pray the only prayer I know. Oh Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.”
Truth is, when it comes to prayer, prayers of thanksgiving and praise are where we most often come up short.
Most of us (self included) do much better with prayers of petition, that is, our prayers with requests Lord, give us, give me.
In the letter to the Philippians, Paul encourages the people, “Always be glad because of the Lord! I will say it again, be glad.” And a few lines later, “With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.”
In this special time of the year, let us truly take the time to give thanks for friendship, for family, for love and for hope.