This morning, I found myself drawn back into Matthew Henry’s A Way to Pray. My post-it note bookmark informed me that it was time to read a short chapter in the thanksgiving portion of the book, which is entitled “Give Thanks for the Establishment of the Church in the World.” Below is a brief summary of Henry’s seven reasons to thank God for the church.
- All glory to God for the covenant of grace made with us in Jesus Christ. “We honour you that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of this better covenant, which is founded on better promises. For though you chasten our transgression with the rod, and our iniquity with stripes, still you will never completely take away your lovingkindness, and will never allow your faithfulness to fail.”
- Thank the Lord for recording his eternal Word in the written form of Scripture, and for preserving his Word in its purity and entirety up to the present day. “We understand that everything recorded in the Scriptures in earlier days was written to instruct us who live today. Enable us to live in hope through patience and the encouragement that comes through the Scriptures.”
- Accept with gratitude the directions God has set down for the well-being of his church. “We delight in your abundant provisions for the perfecting of a people who will display the full maturity found in the completeness of Christ.”
- Give glory to God for establishing Christianity throughout the world, and for planting a church true to the gospel despite all the opposition of the powers of darkness. “We rejoice to see multitudes turn from idols that they might serve you, the living and true God, while they wait for the consummating moment when your Son will return in glory.”
- Give God the glory for preserving Christianity in this fallen world up to the present day. “We see clearly that Jesus Christ has built his church on a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. For his seed shall endure forever, and his throne shall last as long as heaven endures.”
- Express your personal appreciation to God for the good examples set by those who have gone to heaven before you. “We praise you that our forefathers in Christ have overcome the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. We stand in reverent awe that by your grace they did not love their lives even to the point of death.”
- Thank God for the communion of the saints which we enjoy because of our common faith, hope, and love. “We rejoice in the grace and peace that we share with everyone, everywhere, who calls for salvation on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”
For several years, A Way to Pray has been an encouraging part of my devotional life. You may consider getting a copy of this timeless treasure for yourself.