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From the Didache, Chapter 10 (late 1st or early 2nd century):

We give you thanks, Holy Father,
for your holy name, which you have caused to dwell in our hearts,
and for the knowledge and faith and immortality that you have made known to us through Jesus your servant;
to you be the glory forever.

You, almighty Master, created all things for your name’s sake,
and gave food and drink to humans to enjoy, so that they might give you thanks;
but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink,
and eternal life through your servant.

Above all we give thanks to you because you are mighty;
to you be the glory forever.

Remember your church, Lord,
to deliver is from all evil and to make it perfect in your love;
and from the four winds gather the church that has been sanctified into your kingdom,
which you have prepared for it;
for yours is the power and the glory forever.

May grace come, and may this world pass away.
Hosanna to the God of David.
If anyone is holy, let him come;
if anyone is not, let him repent.
Maranatha! Amen.


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15 thoughts on “An Ancient Prayer of Thanksgiving”

  1. Neville Briggs says:

    The early church fathers rejected the Didache from the canon of scripture.
    This excerpt has It has an odd sound, doesn’t resonate with the same message as the gospel I know from the Bible. The last stanza especially.

  2. Pretty good prayer, I reckon.

    “The early church fathers rejected…” isn’t quite the same as “the early church fathers didn’t include…” They certainly used the Didache, didn’t they? Somebody correct me if I’m not right here.

    I also can’t see how the last stanza differs substantially from Psalm 24:3-5 (if having a problem with the holy approaching God bit) or 1 John 2:17, 1 Cor 7:31, Rev 21:1 (if having a problem with the world passing away bit)

  3. Neville Briggs says:

    Rejected or didn’t include….., either way it wasn’t in.

    I wasn’t reading it as a theological statement but as a hymn or poem. It sounds like it is sung to the tune of Gnosticism rather than the tune of Christ crucified.

    Does it have to differ substantially to differ, Wouldn’t it be wiser to stick with the established scripture and put aside the doubtful tradition.

  4. anaquaduck says:

    Interesting theological argument from Neville. I dont get the Gnostic sway from the prayer but a revelation of the spiritual material connect & disconnect.

    There are many prayers & songs & sermons where we could strain out gnats & tiny things regarding church history at the expense of the good. Things can get tricky.

    We can learn a lot from our forefathers & mothers & their pursuit of holiness & thankfulness. While poetry & personal interpretation expresses things in a more obscure way at times it still resonates with me. Although, if it were rap it would probably be lost on me yet many would say culturally relevant. There is a hint of the invitation to Lord’s supper in the last verse for me, I grew up with that around me.

  5. Neville Briggs says:

    A supposed early Christian hymn of thanksgiving with no mention of the cross. That’s not a tiny gnat , or a theological conundrum, that’s a major departure from the foundational event which we were enjoined to remember constantly with the bread and wine ( of which there is no hint throughout the piece ).

  6. In my knowledge of scripture Jesus being the Son of God, being part of the Trinity, being God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who is Spirit of Christ doesn’t fit in to this prayer, albeit as it states Jesus being the servant of God. Now that shoots this prayer in the foot in my view. It doesn’t come from the canons of scripture. We serve Christ, Christ doesn’t serve God, He is equal. Neville’s is right. One wonders why Kevin chose this prayer. Plenty of other prayers you could use that acknowledges God the Son, as God…. not a servant of God.

  7. anaquaduck says:

    And yet the book of Esther has no mention of God & Isaiah reminds us of the suffering servant. Scripture also makes no command to pray in the way that Neville or Grahame prescribe.

  8. anaquaduck Neville and I haven’t given any prescription on how to pray. We are commenting on the prayer in the article. As we can all approach the throne of God boldly and provide our petitions to God, do we not end our prayers by often stating….. we ask these things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ Amen…. not in name of Jesus your servant O God. If you want a good prayer then here we go ….Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Phil. 4:6–7]

    The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. [Philippians 4:23]

  9. anaquaduck says:

    I see thanksgiving & petition in “an ancient prayer on thanksgiving”

    Maybe I should have written a prescription on how not to pray.

    Do you know what Maranatha means Grahame ?

  10. Peter calls Jesus God’s servant. Acts 3:26.

    This thread rem

  11. …inds me why I quit reading and writing comments on blogs. Lesson learned again.

  12. anaquaduck says:

    Hey Steve, dont underestimate your imput. made sense to me. Jesus the servant King.

    It’s a bit like living in the matrix I reckon.

  13. Neville Briggs says:

    But the questions remain, why was the Didache not included in the canon ( apparently it was considered ) and why, in a prayer that purports to be a gospel thanksgiving, is there no mention of the cross.
    It may have some references to “Christian” phraseology, but without the cross the whole thing falls short of the gospel preached by the Apostles. And I’m not talking about a mere word but the heart of the Gospel. We notice that Isaiah’s suffering servant was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.

    If the church fathers had doubts about these writing maybe we should also.

  14. it means “Our Lord cometh, or will come”; according to some, “has come”; to others, “Come!” an invitation for his speedy reappearance (compare Revelation 22:20); maranatha, or maran atha)

  15. For those confused by the argument over the title son/saviour/God verses servant of God go to http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/pais_1.html Importantly Islam uses the poor translation of paida in the RSV as servant rahter than Son as a argument against Christs divinity. Very interesting

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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