Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

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"Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!' So when He saw them, He said to them, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan" (Luke 17:12-16).

How many times do we forget or fail to give the proper thanks to our Lord for all He has done and all He is doing every single day in our lives and the life of our loved ones?

The Prayer of Thanksgiving is one of the most beautiful prayers in the Agpeya book, the Coptic Orthodox book of hours, because it reflects what we feel in our hearts towards our God, and our Father, and our King. And it sums up all that we are not able to say using our own effort.

It is very difficult to explain in a short article the beauty of this prayer and therefore it is wonderful to take time to pay attention to each word and meditate on it.

"Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Agpeya, Prayer of Thanksgiving).

It is greatly important to start our prayers with praises and thanksgiving because it pleases our God and invites Him to come among us and accept the aroma of our prayer. And also it will gives us the chance to remember all the great and wonderful things that God has done and does for us all day and each moment.

"For, He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour" (Agpeya, Prayer of Thanksgiving).

The humble person is the one that can be able to see all these wonderful things that God does for us and thank Him for it. On the contrary, the person who is full of pride will attribute everything good to his own work and ability and will not give thanks but rather grumble and complain.

When we break this part into pieces in order to understand the beauty of it we find that it will give us joy, peace, and gladness to know that God is watching over us in every way. For He has:

  • Covered us...can you imagine that everyone can look at you and see your hidden self, your faults, your sin. What will that feel like? Probably people will reject you, point fingers at you, or give you the look every time they see you. Thanks be to God for He covers us just as He covered Adam when he sinned and disobeyed God and ate from the tree of life.

    "Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21).

  • Helped us...without God’s help we can not stand against Satan and his army, we could not accomplish maturity in our spiritual life, and we would be left in the world in a state of confusion. We see the hand of God with us in every good work we accomplish, in helping others.

    "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6).

  • Guarded us...our good shepherd protecting us from all danger and keeping us safe and satisfied in every way.

    "For He has delivered me out of all trouble; and my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies" (Psalm 54:7).

  • Spared us...the love of God has no comparison and no boundaries. He loves us to the point of giving His only Son in order to save us from death and to give us power and Salvation over death.

    "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).

  • Supported us...God does not support us because we deserve it but because of His goodness. And He loves us despite our sins and lacking.

    "But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strength, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Peter 5:10-11).

  • Therefore He is full of compassion toward us for He knows our weakness and our struggles and helps us through everyday tasks in order to direct us in His way.

    "Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Pantocrator, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life. O Master, Lord, God the Pantoctator, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition. For You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us unto this hour" (Agpeya, Prayer of Thanksgiving).

    This is the part that I pause in front of it and wonder, do we really do what we say, are we okay and accepting all circumstances without grumbling and questioning? Is our spiritual life reaching this level of being in joy and gladness knowing God is in control or we still struggle to put our ideas and plans first?

    Therefore we ask our God to grant us the steadfastness in trusting everything He does and accepting all circumstance that comes our way good or hard. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

    "Therefore, we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind, to grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of our life, in all peace with Your fear. All envy, all temptation, all the working of Satan, the counsel of wicked men, the rising up of enemies, hidden and manifest, take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours. But those things which are good and profitable do provide for us. For it is You who have given us the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and upon all the power of the enemy" (Agpeya, Prayer of Thanksgiving).

    Now we start to ask our God to grant us peace throughout our journey He works in us in order for us to follow Him all the days of our lives and that our lives can be an example for others to glorify God. We know that God will not give us more than we can handle.

    "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    We ask that we live in peace with God, others, and ourselves. We ask that we live in God’s fear all the days of our lives so we do not sin in front of Him and be joyful and blessed by Him.

    "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil, by the grace, compassion and love of mankind, of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, and God and Savior, Jesus Christ; through Whom the glory, the honor, dominion and adoration are due unto You, with Him, and the Holy Spirit, the Life-giver, who is of one essence with You, now and at all time, and unto the ages of all ages, Amen" (Agpeya, Prayer of Thanksgiving).

    We must work and ask God to grant us the fruit of His Holy Spirit so we gain humility in front of Him and we can conquer our weakness, the tricks of Satan, and the evil people who are full of wickedness.

    For our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives us the power over the evil spirits and each one according to his ability, as He gave His disciples that power. "And when He had called His disciples to Him, He gave them the power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease" (Matthew 10:1).

    Therefore let us remember to give thanks to God at all times and be perceptive to all the wonderful things that God does for us so He can accept our prayers and grant us His blessings all the days of our lives until we reach eternity.

    Written by
    Nagwa Abdou

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