Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (Psalm 103:2)
I pulled an old book off the shelf today. It was the Abridged Treasury of Prayers, given to my parents in 1948. It must have been among the items given to me after my parents died.
As I casually flipped through the pages, a rose petal fell out. I recalled that my mother often did this-putting rose petals between the pages of favorite books. I began looking for more petals and found them pressed between pages not turned for many years. It caused me to look more closely at the prayers my parents must have used long ago.
There were prayers for each day of the week, a prayer for Before Going to Church, and a Prayer During a Thunderstorm. Some prayers were for holidays. The Prayer for Sunshine in a Season of Continued Rains contains the words, “Bless our bread, so that we may always have food
sufficient and praise Thy name.
Extra petals were next to the page containing the Prayer of a Wife. It contains the words, “O Lord God, into Thine almighty hand I commit myself, my dear husband, all my children, preserve us, I pray Thee, from sin, shame, and all ills.
Not the petal of a rose, but a piece of clover was pressed next to the page with Prayer of a Husband. The words, that I in Christian love, harmony, and consideration are in the request that he so love his wife, and care for his children.
The psalmist entreats us to: “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits. This is good advice for citizens of a nation that has set aside a day of national thanksgiving. Were we to count the benefits we have received from our God, the list would be long and detailed.
One benefit that should not be forgotten is the special blessing of having other people care for us enough to pray for us. If we have had the wonderful experience of having parents who offered up prayers for our protection, guidance, and blessing, we have a wonderful reason for offering thanks to our Lord.
But is it less wonderful if we have people we have never met that prayed faithfully and fervently for us? They prayed when they heard we were going into danger. They gave thanks when we returned safely. They prayed for our loved ones. Perhaps one day we will learn of their prayers.
We will not find them in an old book with flowers pressed between the pages; we will learn of them where we no longer know only “in part,” but “fully” (I Corinthians 13:12). “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
In heaven, we will know all his benefits—and offer endless thanksgiving.
We pray: Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices,
Who from our mother’s arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love and still is ours today. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military