Blessings: Name Them One by One

We . . . always mention you in our prayers.
                   —1 Thessalonians 1:2

In a recent essay, my friend Gene Shelburne gives a tip of the hat to the grand old hymn Count Your Blessings, but he fears we overlook the hymn’s advice to “name them one by one.”

Some of the petitions Shelburne heard when he was a youngster he labels “en masse” prayers: “Bless all the people who are hungry and hurting the world over.” But “nobody ever suggested,” he laments, “that we pray specifically for the crippled veteran Tommy who sat and begged every Monday at the west door of the JC Penney store.” Or for “widow Thompson on Clay Street.”

This seasoned minister says that prayer took on new meaning for him when he “quit praying in generalities and began making specific requests to the Lord for specific people.”

He wisely counsels us to do the same.

Today when you pray,
see faces and cite names.

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