Roy Exum: A Thanksgiving Lesson

Sunday, November 29, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

We had a strict rule at our house in my childhood that whenever there was a festive dinner of any type, politics were never allowed to be broached nor discussed, and the only time religion was ever mentioned was during the blessing itself. So, I laughed from a lifetime of experience when I heard on Saturday that one of my dearest friends, suddenly surrounded by flaming lefties who had infiltrated his midst through marriage, had just politely excused himself from his own Thanksgiving table as he heard proof his daughters-in-law no longer merited his presence! Oh, my mercy.

“It’s not about me … my race on earth is won. But I worry about my children, and my grandchildren, for the world they must overcome!” he told me.

Make no mistake, he loves his sons’ wives as though they were his own daughters, but he is absolutely flummoxed wondering from what planet they escaped. And when one asked sweetly if she might borrow his extra pickup truck this week for work for her charity group, it was easy to imagine the veins in the man’s neck bulging as he went outside to pick up fallen sticks rather than play ‘nine-nice’ over their ill-advised insults for dessert. Oh, I am still laughing.

Anne Graham Lotz, who the late Billy Graham believed with many more thousands of believers the world over is his family’s best pastor, has just written a very inspirational new book, “The Light of His Presence.” It is a collection of prayers and is available on Amazon. Earlier this week, one of Anne’s prayers was adapted for Thanksgiving by and I believe it is a direct reflection of the reason a very sane, very loving, and very concerned grandfather would forego dessert with his children and grandchildren for the stillness of a sunny day outside, rather than endure their ill-conceived and grossly inappropriate-for-the-moment prattle.

Each son and his regretful wife should have exhibited far more love and respect at all and any costs. That is preeminent at Thanksgiving and Christmas. When picking up sticks outside becomes far more rewarding than the sharing of dessert on Thanksgiving Day, there are some selfish in-laws who unbeknownst in their haughty hearts are guilty of stealing one of the year’s most precious days from “Poppa,” and this in a way they can never replace or, far worse, can never wash away. The fact is their insensitive and cruel argue drove him from his own table. Why? Where is gain? To ridicule your children’s grandfather? Please leave and never prey on your husband’s heritage in his parents’ home again? I’m talking about it on this Thanksgiving.

Never, ever, politics or religion on days of salute and blessing. And all ‘Poppa’ wants is for a mighty and merciful God to protect his grandchildren and those who would laughingly rebuke him on a day each one should be as deeply grateful to Poppa as well as the Lord. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

* * *

Anne Lotz begs us to understand that, at times, the future seems to be shrouded in darkness. “There seems to be great uncertainty regarding where we as a nation…and as a human race… are headed. We can point to many reasons for concern: a worldwide pandemic, artificial intelligence, nations in conflict, increasingly frequent record-breaking natural disasters, racism, anti-Semitism, violence in our streets…and the list goes on.

“The world today is vastly different than the one in which I grew up, a difference signified by our current moral and spiritual weakness. As a result, I feel compelled to pray for my children and grandchildren, and for yours. Pray with me for our future generations…


God … of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

You have been our dwelling place throughout the generations. Your faithfulness, Your fame, Your promises, Your covenant, Your authority, Your glory continue year after year, decade after decade, century after century, millennium after millennium. You have not changed since the beginning.

Your Word is forever settled. Not one jot or tittle, not one punctuation mark, will pass away until all is fulfilled.

What You say is so. You say what You mean, and mean what You say. You are the foundation on which all life that lasts is built.

Fear of You is the beginning of knowledge. Obedience to You brings bless­ing. Disobedience to You invites disaster.

As I consider my generation—and the ones that follow—I am appalled. We are in a spiritual and moral free fall. A great darkness of lies, unbelief, ignorance, and evil cover the world.

People are living as though You do not exist. I shudder to think of what future generations will face, the generations of my children and grandchildren. Unless they rebuild the foundation of authentic faith, our nation will crumble. It is crumbling now. In the midst of political turmoil, racial division, social upheaval, financial uncertainty, virus pandemics, and worldwide chaos, I earnestly pray for my children and grandchildren.

I pray that they would be lights in the thick moral and spiritual darkness. I pray that they would love Your Word and fully obey You and therefore be blessed in their homes and families, in their businesses and careers, in their neighborhoods and their cities.

I pray that You would fill them with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

I pray that they would live lives worthy of You, pleasing You in every way as they bear much eternal fruit so when they see You, they receive Your reward.

I pray that You would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so they grow in their knowledge of and relationship with You and grow in their godly character.

I pray that they would be strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so they may have great endurance to live in an increasingly godless society.

I pray that they would always be mindful of Your blessings, so they live with joyful gratitude, regardless of the curveball’s life throws at them.

I pray that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened to know the hope of Heaven, so they are passionate about living with You then and for You now.

I pray that they would have a rich grasp of the heritage entrusted to them, using it for Your glory and not their own gain.

I pray that they would be filled with Your Spirit and therefore bold in their witness, never ashamed to give testimony about You and Your gospel. I pray that they would refuse to be enticed by the love of money and material things but would instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.

I pray that they would be wise about what is good while being innocent about what is evil.

I pray that they would place a higher value on purity than on popularity.

Redeem my parenting mistakes and failures. Help my children and grandchildren overcome the consequences of my sins. Keep them from falling away from You into sin. I long to see them one day presented before Your glorious presence without fault and with great joy.

On that day, I will humbly bow and worship You for Your goodness, grace, and faithfulness to all generations.

For the glory of Your great name -- Jesus,


* * *

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." – Matthew 6:5-8

* * *

Anne Graham Lotz is an international speaker and the bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books, including "Jesus in Me" and the newly released book “The Light of His Presence.” Anne is the president of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, N.C., and the former chairperson for the National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Adapted from "The Light of His Presence: Prayers to Draw You Near to the Heart of God." Copyright © 2020 by Anne Graham Lotz. Used by permission of Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


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