St. Paul thanks God for the multiple grace bestowed onto the congregation in Corinth. This gratitude reveals the great intercessor to us. Thanking is more difficult than asking, especially if we are to thank for gifts bestowed on others and not to us. Some people just pray for themselves and do not remember others, when they stand before God in prayer. So if it is remarkable that somebody would pray for others, it is even more so if he thanks God for them. If such a blessed moment would descend on you and you should thank God for others, then you should not just imagine that you are a companion of the apostle in praise and gratitude. You are but praying for a moment and then you already stop again. St. Paul however could confess that he always thanks God for them. This gratitude is more of a stable condition with the apostle – not just an instantaneous flash or passing fancy. He has learnt to be thankful through his experience and training. Even as he is going through personal suffering, persecution and severe troubles, he still rejoices and gives thanks for the gifts and grace received by others. We are not at this level of personal sanctification yet. Therefore we look with some shame on our own status: Praying for others is common, thanking for them is at a higher level and most elevated is to pray continuously in thanksgiving for others.
Lord, merciful saviour! Teach us to pray, just as you taught your disciples to pray so that we may first and foremost remember those divine petitions and not cling to the things below. Liberate us from ourselves so that we may pray for others in their suffering, sin and need, but also thank you for the grace and good gifts of peace, mercy and bountiful riches that you have bestowed on others – even our enemies. Let us grow according to the apostolic example, who in the midst of hardship and sufferings brought praise and thanksgiving for the good gifts received by the Corinthian Church. Grant that we continuously pray for our family, relatives, friends, neighbours and fellow citizens, for our congregation and your holy Church and her mission of salvation both here and beyond our borders, for our nation and continent. Amen.
Now let all loudly sing praise to God the Lord; Christendom, proudly laud Him with one accord, Gently He bids thee come before Him; Haste, then, O Israel, now adore Him; Haste, then, O Israel, now adore Him.
For the Lord reigneth over the universe; All He sustaineth, all things His praise rehearse, The angel host His glory telling, Psalter and harp are the anthem swelling; Psalter and harp are the anthem swelling.
Come, heathen races, cast off all grief and care, For pleasant places your Savior doth prepare, Where His blest Word abroad is sounded, Pardon for sinners and grace unbounded; Pardon for sinners and grace unbounded.
Richly He feeds us always and everywhere; Gently He leads us with a true father’s care; The late and early rains He sends us, Daily His blessing, His love, attends us, Daily His blessing, His love, attends us.
Sing we His praises who is thus merciful; Christendom raises songs to His glorious rule. Rejoice! No foe shall now alarm us; He will protect us, and who can harm us? He will protect us, and who can harm us? (Matthäus A. v. Löwenstern, 1644 tr Catherine Winkworth, 1863)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the eighteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 341 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.