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Prayer of Thanksgiving with the Ten Commandments

Throughout church history and across denominations, God’s people have given a privileged place within worship to the reading of the Ten Commandments. In my experience, the Ten Commandments have usually been included as a Call to Confession or as a Call to Holy Living. In the first instance, our attention is drawn toward how we have fallen short of God’s expectations. Our sin is exposed. In the second, we are called to live more faithfully in response to God’s grace in Jesus Christ. While these are good and right uses of the Law, I have been wondering if the Ten Commandments could also facilitate a prayer of thanksgiving within our communal worship. The responsive reading below has grown out of this wondering and is designed to encourage thanksgiving and praise for who God is and what God is doing among us.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving:

Leader:
“And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, who brought you out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-3)

People:
We praise you, Creator, Redeemer, Comforter! Holy Three-in-One, there is no one like
you!

Leader:
“You shall not make for yourself an image of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” (Exodus 20:4)

People:
O Lord, our God, with thanksgiving, we delight in the very good purposes for which you have created all things, including us. We are humbled to be signposts of your glory.

Leader:
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” (Exodus 20:7)

People:
Heavenly Father, thank you for adopting us as your children, giving us your family name. Thank you for uniting us as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. 

Leader:
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:8-10a)

People:
How incredibly generous of you! Both in your work of creating and restoring all things and in your rest, you desire that we would be with you. 

Leader:
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

People:
God, how gracious you are that you do not leave us on our own! Thank you for the privilege of seeing your faithfulness extend from generation to generation.

Leader:
“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

People:
Thank you for the gift of life and for creating each person as an expression of your love and faithfulness to the rest of your creation. 

Leader:
“You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)

People:
Thank you for the beauty and security of marriage, for the delight of sex, the intimacy of life-long companionship, and your faithful love that we experience through them.

Leader:
“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)

People:
Thank you that you are our Provider and for creating us in a community where we can delight in extending your resources to each other.  

Leader:
“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)

People:
Thank you that you do not show favoritism. In Jesus Christ, you extend your hospitality, even to us who have been foreigners and enemies of your kingdom.

Leader:
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

People:
God, thank you for the freedom to celebrate your care for others and for us. You are more generous than we have yet to imagine.

Leader:
All this we pray, for the glory of the one true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the full unity of God’s people, and the flourishing of God’s kingdom.

All:
Amen.