A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty. We have nothing to give to you. Our hands our empty of anything which you might not have. Our lips have no words which you have not formed. Our minds have no thoughts of which you are unaware. We come to you empty.

You created this world and all that is in it. You fashioned the heavens and the earth. You formed them over the raging seas and plunging depths. You gathered the dust and cast our form. You breathed into us your breath of life. You spoke to us.

Who are we, that you are mindful of us? Who are we that you have set your thoughts upon us? O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

You gave us our form and you gave us our being. You gave us our belonging and you gave us our task. You gave us our home and you gave us our limits.

But we have failed.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

What you made good we squandered. What you pulled from the disorder, we have plunged back in. All of creation groans. We groan.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

And you have ordained that this year we should come to you, emptied of more. In the past months we have felt even the imagined reserves of our independence depleated. We have watched as our ideas and dreams, securities and abilities, drained away. We have felt our emptiness in new and unimagined ways.

We have felt the loss of routine and familiarity.

We have felt the loss of the comforts of home and the probabilities of the future.

We have felt the loss of personal stability and independence.

We have felt the loss of memories and freedom.

We have felt the loss of friendships and self-image.

We have felt the loss of close friends and loved ones.

We have felt the loss of meaning and importance.

We have felt the loss of hopes and dreams.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you empty.

We come to you empty.

Empty.

But he emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you full. Our hands are weighed down with the extravagant gifts you have poured out upon us in your Son Jesus Christ. We have no barns big enough, no storehouses grand enough. We would have to tear them all down and build larger, and still they would be embarrassingly insufficient. For the bounty with which you have blessed us is exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that what we could ask or imagine. You have responded to the depths of our emptiness with the overflowing fullness of your grace.

Every good gift, and every perfect gift comes down from you, the Father of lights. And around this table we see a cornucopia.

We see the gift of shelter and warmth.

We see the gift of food and drink.

We see the gift of love and friendship.

We see the gift of new birth and youth.

We see the gift of age and wisdom.

We see the gift of laughter of tears.

We see the gift of faith and hope.

We see the gift of love.

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts, we lift our hands to you. We come to you full.

And so as we sit and enjoy the richness of your gifts,

As we feast,

As we laugh,

As we rejoice in you,

We do so in worship to you,

O God, our Father, you giver of good gifts.

Travel: Camino Portugués

This past week we took five days to hike through a part of Spain that we were not familiar with. Our goal was to get to know the area and see how we might be able to encourage new church plants in this region. We ended up hiking about 70 miles on the Camino Portugués with the whole family, which was quite the adventure. We have put together some videos of each day of the hike, and they will be uploaded over the coming week. You can see them over here:

Here are some photos from our time.

Review: Philosophy in Seven Sentences

Book: Groothuis, Douglas. Philosophy in Seven Sentences: A Small Introduction to a Vast Topic. IVP Academic, 2016.

<a href=”Book: Groothuis, Douglas. Philosophy in Seven Sentences: A Small Introduction to a Vast Topic. IVP Academic, 2016.

Pages: 161 Owner: Kindle Date of reading: 1st – 8/8/21

Point: To think and act philosophically means that we take reality seriously and seek to mold our understanding to it and the Truth with undergirds it. To do so we ought to listen to some of the great thinkers and what moved them to think deeply.

Path: Groothuis uses seven sentences, by philosophers covering thousands of years, to point us down the path of truth and reality. The seven sentences that he uses are: Protagoras: Man is the measure of all things. Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living. Aristotle: All men by nature desire to know. Augustine: You have made us for yourself, and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in you. Descartes: I think, therefore I am. Pascal: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Kierkegaard: The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all.

Sources: Obviously the philosophers’ writings themselves, but also the life and works of said thinkers, and occasionally others who commented upon those writers and writings.

Agreement: I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to philosophy through the writings of seven influential thinkers. Groothuis captivated me through his knowledge of these philosophers and helped me understand the broad topics they were addressing. Obviously this is an introduction, and I believe it fulfilled its function by motivating me to move the original sources.

Personal App: Kierkegaard’s treatment of despair is intriguing to me. Am I willing to enter into it in order to see myself and God more clearly?

Favorite Quote: “Some do not know that the unfocused mind should not be paired with the opened mouth” (35).

Stars: 4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who: Is interested in philosophy Ascribes to a relativistic worldview

Other books along this theme would be:

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. Revised edition. New York, N.Y: Simon & Schuster, 1967. Schaeffer, Francis A. Escape from Reason : A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1968. Warburton, Nigel. A Little History of Philosophy. Yale University Press, 2011.”>

Point: To think and act philosophically means that we take reality seriously and seek to mold our understanding to it and the Truth which undergirds it. To do so we ought to listen to some of the great thinkers and what moved them to think deeply.

Path: Groothuis uses seven sentences, by philosophers covering thousands of years, to point us down the path of truth and reality. The seven sentences that he uses are:

Protagoras: Man is the measure of all things.

Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living.

Aristotle: All men by nature desire to know.

Augustine: You have made us for yourself, and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in you.

Descartes: I think, therefore I am.

Pascal: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

Kierkegaard: The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all.

Sources: Obviously the philosophers’ writings themselves, but also the life and works of said thinkers, and occasionally others who commented upon those writers and writings.

Agreement: I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to philosophy through the writings of seven influential thinkers. Groothuis captivated me through his knowledge of these philosophers and helped me understand the broad topics they were addressing. Obviously this is an introduction, and I believe it fulfilled its function by motivating me to move the original sources.

Personal App: Kierkegaard’s treatment of despair is intriguing to me. Am I willing to enter into it in order to see myself and God more clearly?

Favorite Quote: “Some do not know that the unfocused mind should not be paired with the opened mouth” (35).

Stars: 4 out of 5

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it to someone who:

– Is interested in philosophy

– Ascribes to a relativistic worldview

Other books along this theme would be:

Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. Revised edition. New York, N.Y: Simon & Schuster, 1967.

Schaeffer, Francis A. Escape from Reason : A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thought. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1968.

Warburton, Nigel. A Little History of Philosophy. Yale University Press, 2011.