During a Sunday worship service, our congregation said this prayer of confession in unison: “Gracious God, like many believers before us, we complain when things do not go our way. We want abundance of everything rather than what is sufficient to sustain us. We would rather be elsewhere than where we are at the moment. We would rather have the gifts You give to others than what You provide for us. We would rather have You serve us than serve You. Forgive our lack of gratitude for what You give.”

Abundance is no guarantee of gratefulness or thanksgiving. Prosperity may even turn our hearts away from the Lord.

When a group of Jewish exiles returned from Babylon with Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, they gathered to confess their sins and those of their fathers. They prayed: “Neither our kings nor our princes, our priests nor our fathers, have kept Your law . . . . For they have not served You in their kingdom, or in the many good things that You gave them, or in the large and rich land which You set before them, nor did they turn from their wicked works” (Neh. 9:34-35).

Confession is a powerful prelude to a prayer of thanks-giving. Obedience is the Amen.