Watts to be Thankful For?

The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving

Isaac Watts in his Guide to Prayer lists a number of things to be thankful for. Many of these I had not contemplated before reading this book, and it formed a helpful list of things which God has blessed us with that we should give thanks for. I plan to read this list at our dinner table before we partake of our dinner. Perhaps you would like to do this too.

Watts says, “To give thanks is to acknowledge the bounty of that hand from which we receive our blessings, and to ascribe honor and praise to the power, the wisdom and the goodness of God upon that account” (29).

We should give thanks both for benefits we have and have not prayed for!

We give thanks for those benefits which God has bestowed on us without our asking

  1. For making a distinction between us as fallen men and fallen angels. Fallen men can be redeemed, yet fallen angels cannot.
  2. For His work of reconciling sinners: “We give glory to thy justice and to thy grace for this work of terror and compassion, this work of reconciling sinners to thyself by the punishment of thy Son.”
  3. For the preservation of the true gospel even to the point that we have heard and believed it: “We give glory to that power of thine that has guarded the gospel in all ages, and through ten thousand oppositions of Satan has delivered it down safe to our age, and has proclaimed the glad tidings of peace in our nation.”
  4. For being born into a land of light: “that thou hast built habitations for thyself amongst us, and that we should be born in such a land of light as this.” 
  5. For preservations from dangers which we could never foresee nor prevent.
  6. For not cutting us off in a state of nature and sin: “That our portion at this time is not among the children of wrath.”
  7. For so many conveniences and comforts

—and all this before we began to know thee or sought any of the mercies of this life or the other at Your hands!

We give thanks for those benefits we have received as an answer to prayer.

  1. We acknowledge the blessings when we become receivers of what we have petitioned for: “Truly thou art a God that hearest prayer, and thou hast not despised the cry of those that sought thee. We ourselves are witnesses that thou dost not bid thy people seek thy face in vain” (31).

We give thanks as well for the following, among other things:

  1. The multitude of mercies we have received, their greatness and continuance;
  2. The glory and self-sufficiency of God the giver: that he is happy in himself and stands in no need of us, and yet he condescends to confer perpetual benefits upon us;
  3. That He is sovereign and might dispose of his favours to thousands and leave us out of the number of his favorites. We are as vile and unworthy as others, and our God beholds all our unworthiness, all our guilt, our repeated provocations, and his past mercies abused, and yet he continues to have mercy upon us and waits to be gracious” (32).

God is Great and God is Good. Let us thank Him for our food–and the many other mercies and graces He gives to us!


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