Comments: Count your blessings

Yes - I didn't learn the General Thanksgiving in school, since I went to a secular school in the US, but as a chorister, I knew the usual services pretty much by heart.

My current parish uses a form of prayer at the morning services which explicitly includes thanksgivings, and just to make sure people are aware that this is "for real", the designated reader will include the week's birthdays and anniversaries. At the less formal, contemporary, service in the afternoon, thanksgivings are requested BEFORE petitions and intercessions, and there are usually multiple thanksgivings offered ad lib.

I think your next-to-last paragraph is key, and if we only get one thing positive out of the current economic situation, we'd be doing well if we see the giver and the act of giving (outside) as more important than the item received (implying inward focus on both ourselves and the item). It's a hard sell when economists and politicians are telling us that consuming will set everything back in balance, but if we can do it, it's a much shorter step to giving thanks "at all times and in all places".

Posted by RobinD at Thursday, 1 January 2009 at 4:30am GMT

I guess that with the practice of daily Mass, one is reminded of the need for thanksgiving, and it seems the more one celebrates this 'presence of Christ' in the Eucharist, the greater one's awareness of the need to give thanks. The demise, also, of the grace at meals, might signify there is little sense of gratitude for one's daily bread.

As I get older, I thank God for each day as it comes. It is pure gift from a loving God.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 1 January 2009 at 8:59am GMT

Well said, Jane. You might like to take a look at the Alternative Prayer Book (1984) of the Church of Ireland, where the daily intercessions are based wholly on the giving of thanks. I think it's also been incorporated into the revised Irish BCP of 2004.

Posted by Eamonn at Thursday, 1 January 2009 at 1:24pm GMT

I was in my twenties when I realized it was no coincidence that every batch of Christmas presents from my parents while I was growing up included a nice new box of note paper, which, a couple of days after Christmas, my mother suggested would be good to use for thank-you notes. I can't NOT write my thanks for gifts to this day.

I've not got a BCP handy to the computer, but am reasonably sure that all 6 forms of Prayers of the People in Rite II include thanks to God or an opportunity for the congregation to speak their thanks. Our congregation is not one that says much in those places.

Posted by Cynthia Gilliatt at Thursday, 1 January 2009 at 3:17pm GMT

Thanks for that, Jane. It reminds me of an occasion last year when we took a visiting friend-of-a-friend who works in Singapore to a church where we sometimes attend the Sunday evening prayer meeting, and afterwards she commented on how much thanks there was. We hadn't noticed before, but she was right, and maybe that is why those particular meetings feel so much more 'prayerful' than some of the things we attend...

Posted by Helen Shephard at Thursday, 1 January 2009 at 4:43pm GMT

ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication) is the Sunday School acronym for the parts of prayer. Splitting Supplication into Intercession and Petition gives five headings, one for each finger oh hands held up in prayer. Anyone who omits this simple scheme from their teaching about Christian prayer is failing to help to produce a balanced prayer life in their hearers.

Posted by Keith Johnson at Friday, 2 January 2009 at 12:14am GMT

Yes thanks for this timely reminder and encouragment !

Mindfulness really helps with all this. Mindfulness can be deliberatley practiced as can expressing thanks to God and Others. Minfulness of the brathing is a helpful simple practice --simply becoming aware of the in-breath and the out-breath for a few moments. Noting what happens perhaps. Anyways feeling the calm and the nourishment of it.

The joy that can arise. The motion of thankfulness in the heart and thanksgiving of lips and,mind.

Btw shared silence helps sponsor many spiritual blessings. Needs to be a litle more than 5 seconds at a bidding prayer usually.

Shared silence can lead to shared joy & thankfulness.

And what about Adoration ?

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Friday, 2 January 2009 at 12:42am GMT

'Pollyannaish as it may seem' - that would be a disadvantage? On the contrary it could scarcely be a greater advantage. Playing the glad game is close to fulfilling the golden rule.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Monday, 12 January 2009 at 12:15pm GMT

Thank you Jane. I too regret very much that there is no modern version of the General Thanksgiving. As a Reader I conduct Wednesday morning services, alternating between BCP and CW, with a congregation 'on the heavenly side of 60'. Leading worship is also alternate, between the vicar and me, and I usually have the CW, which is generous of him, because I am older than he is. When taking the BCP service I usually intruduce the General Thanksgiving, mentioning that it was written by the Puritan Bishop of Norwich, Edward Reynolds, and saying that if there is an eternal Last Night of the Proms in heaven, I am sure Reynolds' General Thanksgiving is being sung or said there.

Posted by Richard Wilkins at Tuesday, 10 February 2009 at 4:21pm GMT
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