I want to thank you for the gift of a church family.
You give to us earthly, physical families who are a great blessing of loving relationships during trials and hardship. But then you grant to us this extraordinary gift of a spiritual family for when we struggle with problems, divisions, and estrangements in our earthly families.
The minute that I was born again through faith in Jesus, your Son, I gained a whole new family. Father, I can hardly contain the joyous gratitude over the fact that practically wherever I travel in the world, I discover brothers and sisters. From Idaho to India, from Utah to Uruguay, from Montana to Mexico, and from Wyoming to the Western Sahara, there are your people who love you and who love me because I also love you. There is a common, unbreakable bond in the heart among us as a worldwide family because of the amazing work of your Son. And this family is only growing.
God of the whole universe, I thank you for giving to me so many brothers and sisters. I walk around my city, and they are everywhere—Christ’s Bride. I travel around in eastern Idaho, and I hear and witness heaven’s words and actions through your family—the household of faith. I treasure this gift; and I worship you, the Giver and Sustainer for this gift of relationships in my life.
I thank you for all the members of our church families throughout Idaho Falls who nourish me in your truth and love. I thank you specifically for Berean Baptist Church, Emmaus Road Church, Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church, and Providence Downtown Church.
God, I love and cherish the small church gatherings! After six weeks of being away from any in-person fellowship with Pastor Warren Cuppy and fellow elder, Dean Berggren, I wanted to jump up and down when I saw them both yesterday. In fact, I wanted to run around the building by seeing every brother and sister who walked through the front door.
God, I am grateful that we as Providence Downtown Church could fellowship together, sing together, pray together, study together, and live together.
Thank you, Father of lights. Every good and perfect gift comes down from you and this is one of the best.
You are rich in mercy. You have shown your great love to us that even when we were dead in trespasses, you made us alive together (sunezospoiesen), by grace we have been saved. Thank, you, for raising us up together (sunegeiren) and sitting us together (sunexathisen) in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).
You have given to me in Idaho, not a gift of isolation, but a gift of close connection and intimate togetherness. Does not this gift reflect who you are, the purest essence of community in unity?
O God! Who is Father, Son, and Spirit—You are the most glorious God! I am surrounded and sheltered in your relational love with one new family of faith, hope, and love. I will never be alone all the rest of my days in Idaho and on through eternity in heaven and the new earth.
I cannot even begin to repay you for this gift handed to me. Thank you, Father, for your love. Thank you, Son, for your sacrifice. Thank you, Spirit, for your power.
In Jesus’ name, amen.