#AWOP reflections: eucharisteo
I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, a beautifully written little tome about celebrating the gifts God gives. But for Ann this practice isn’t just a mindfulness thing (which seems to be the fashion these days), for her it’s an essential way to learn to live eucharisteo. Where the Bible reads that “Jesus gave thanks”, “eucharisteo” is the word used in the original Greek. Ann writes:
The root word for eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.
But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy” (2010:32).
If you’ve been in a church for any length of time, you’ll know the ACTS prayer, or you’re about to realise you know the ACTS prayer. (Confession time: I used it when I preached last Sunday.) ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. It’s a way to structure prayer, I guess so that you don’t tag on a random prayer for Syria just after asking the congregation to confess their sins. There’s nothing wrong with the ACTS prayer, especially in a church setting, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s formulaic. Duh, it’s supposed to be! But I do wonder if the Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving portion of our personal prayers don’t suffer the same fate; becoming something rote, something to ramble through to get to the part we generally need most: Supplication.
Ann Voskamp realised that thanksgiving is an essential part of Christian life – a way our salvation blooms to its fullest potential. But even more than that, I think that every act of thanksgiving is prayer in its purest form. This week we’ve been trying to pray prayers that move mountains; that’s why we started #AWOP. Perhaps one of the biggest mountains to scale is our ingratitude. Perhaps one of the bravest prayers we can pray is “Thank you.”
Prayer inspiration: Psalm 138:1-3
Voskamp, AM, 2010. One Thousand Gifts. 1st ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.