“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful”

An anonymous moderator of southerly disposition was overheard saying this prayer before breakfast. I asked if this was a prayer for the food to be eaten or for the day ahead to be lived in. As she selected the latter, this got me thinking whether we begin each day in thankful spirit for what lies before us, and do we offer those thanks to God in prayer. And does it depend whether we are looking forward to recreation and reflection, or just think we might escape the day without pain or struggle. But what if we know we face hard and testing hours, or our health is failing us?

For some weeks now I have suffered from ear infections. I find it embarrassing even to mention them, as they certainly haven’t been life and death illness, nor have they been totally debilitating – so I am certainly not seeking any sympathy. But they have got me down – I suppose normally I am like a bouncy castle full of energy and enthusiasm. Well that castle has been breached and then deflated! The constant ear-ache, totally frustrating loss of hearing and the triggering of labyrinthitis has tired me out. However, I feel as though God has given me a glimpse, just a glimpse of what it must feel like to live with a chronic illness. It has given me deeper empathy and understanding, but I still cannot appreciate the level of incapacity and the anguish of spirit there must be,  when senses are impaired, mobility limited, or being in constant pain, the mind befuddled and forever tired. Yet how many people I know who have a diagnosed chronic illness, and yet have managed to find strategies of coping, and ways of overcoming pain, despair and weakness, to make amazing contributions to their families and world. Should this shame me and make me feel guilty or plain pathetic, when I am not coping with minor complaints. I don’t think so, because that would lead me ever deeper into the cave of solitude to escape. No, I am inspired by these folk, everyday heroes, inspired to find that same inner strength.

And where does my help come from? Hear the echo of the psalmist, even in the valley of the deepest shadow – “my help comes from the Lord” (Psalm 121). And how can we pull upon that strength? Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New Revised Standard Version ) – “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I think my colleague was living that promise with her simple breakfast prayer,

“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful”

In Christ’s love

kevin

 

1 thought on ““For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful”

  1. Mrs Dawn R Beard

    This is a prayer we used to say at our junior school in walsall in the 70’s before we ate our lunch.

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