In November 2009, Vicki Simons wrote the following Thanksgiving prayer and sent it by email to members of her and Mike’s church for whom she had email addresses.
A Thanksgiving Prayer
Our gracious heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings that You bestow upon us throughout the year. As we pause to thank You this Thanksgiving, we ask You to bless those men and women who work to transport the material goods that we often take for granted, America’s professional truck drivers.
According to the American Trucking Associations, there are over 3.5 million professional truck drivers nationwide logging over 432 billion miles per year. Their trucks delivered 10.7 billion tons of freight in 2007, or 69 percent of total U.S. freight tonnage. There is an old adage that “without trucks, America stops,” and based on this, we can certainly understand why!
Professional drivers, after having first become licensed to operate articulated commercial motor vehicles, are in charge of safely and legally navigating the nation’s highways and byways with rigs weighing most often up to 40 tons (80,000 pounds) in constantly changing conditions including other traffic, distracted drivers, construction zones, adverse weather, challenging terrain and areas with varying degrees of crime. They can drive hundreds of miles in a day, thousands of miles in a week, and tens of thousands of miles in a year, all the while being aware that any mishaps that take place in their commercial motor vehicles can affect their personal driving records and personal vehicle insurance rates, not to mention their lives or livelihoods.
Truckers work at all hours of the day and night, and can be away from home and family for days, weeks, or months at a time. They have what is known as a “lifestyle occupation” because they live in their workspaces. Their schedules for meals, sleep and caring for personal hygiene vary often. Because by federal law they can work up to 70 hours in an 8-day period, they may not be able to tend to physical fitness goals — or medical or dental needs — as often as they would like. Theirs are very closely examined lives, as everything they do that is job-related has to be documented on their logbooks.
Professional drivers must cope with laws in various states that restrict time periods on big rig parking lots (meaning that sometimes drivers can’t even receive a full federally-mandated rest period) and some states even restrict truck idling so the drivers can’t operate air conditioners when it’s hot outside or heaters when it’s cold. Imagine anyone else having to live or work under such conditions, including the officials who passed these laws!
The trailers that truck drivers haul include car carriers, flatbeds, refrigerated vans, dry vans, bulk tankers, liquid tankers, compressed gas tankers, drop decks, oversized, specialized, hazardous material units, animal units, log units, containers, and doubles and triples. Drivers are responsible for making sure that their units are in good working condition at all times, even when others leave them in poor condition. Also, millions of law-abiding truck drivers have to bear the brunt of the negative image generated by drivers who think they can somehow cheat the system.
Many drivers are paid by the mile (not by the hour) to haul the following types of products that we use, everything:
- from air conditioners to armchairs, from apples to asphalt;
- from Bibles to beans, from batteries to baby wipes;
- from coffee to construction equipment, from cheese to computers;
- from diapers to denture cream, from desks to drums;
- from eyeglasses to eggs, from engines to English muffins;
- from fabric to filing cabinets, from fertilizer to flour;
- from gasoline to ground beef, from gift bags to garage doors;
- from hot water heaters to hearing aids; from hoses to horses;
- from ice cube makers to iPods, from incubators to ice cream;
- from jump ropes to jumper cables, from jewelry to jersey cows;
- from knives to knobs, from keys to keyboards;
- from ladles to lenses, from locks to lace;
- from milk to microphones, from medicine to microwave ovens;
- from notebooks to non-flammable gases, from non-stick cooking spray to nasal spray;
- from oranges to oxygen, from oatmeal to onions;
- from pianos to plumbing supplies, from plates to plate glass windows;
- from quartz clocks to quinoa, from quarantine signs to queen sized mattresses;
- from ribbons to radios, from rabbit food to rubber bands;
- from scissors to stethoscopes, from shampoo to sugar;
- from tools to taco shells, from toys to toilets;
- from ukuleles to underwear, from umbrellas to USB ports;
- from vitamins to violins, from vehicles to vegetables;
- from weight lifting equipment to write-on boards, from WD-40 to Wi-Fi equipment;
- from xylophones to xanthan gum, from Xboxes to xerography paper;
- from yams to yield signs, from yogurt to yo-yos;
- from zippers to zoo supplies, from zithers to zoysia grass seed;
and much, much more, some of which almost defies the imagination.
As professional drivers are away from home so much of the time, we recognize that it may be difficult for them to maintain relationships with their families, church families, friends, communities and political leaders. Although some of them may look rough, smell rough and talk rough, they are still souls for whom Christ died whom we must not look upon with partiality or contempt. Although they may be viewed as the “least of these My brethren,” each one is going to be spending eternity somewhere. We ask that our eyes and ears may be open to ministering to them in whatever way You lead.
Also, may we never forget the families whom they have to leave at home while being away earning their paychecks to support them.
In a recession, the transportation industry is always the first to get hit. Therefore, it is not surprising that many truckers have to work harder now that the economy is down to earn the same paycheck they were earning before, because people aren’t buying as much as they were, and freight tonnage is lower. One source said that during 2008, more than 3,000 trucking companies went belly-up, with more than 137,650 trucks (7 percent of the nation’s capacity) parked. Many who were employed as professional drivers are now unemployed and looking for work. We ask that You raise up jobs for them according to Your own divine plan.
Guide those who minister to these drivers, that they would understand the myriad temptations of life on the road and counsel the drivers — men and women who often have hurting hearts and unique spiritual needs — to rest on the overcoming power of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every day from now on, whenever we buy things, may we pause to remember that these items do not just magically appear on the stores’ shelves. There is a long and often complicated process of bringing these items from the fields, groves or manufacturing plants to the stores — and most of the process hinges on professional drivers. As our bountiful Provider, You have raised up these men and women — the white knights of the highway — as the often-invisible but essential link to the material goods we have around us.
We thank You for professional truck drivers and their many sacrifices in our behalf. We ask You to keep them safe in Your watch care and bring as many as are appointed to eternal life to repentance and the faith that pleases You.
These things we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Additional Thoughts About This Thanksgiving Prayer
If our Thanksgiving prayer does not meet your needs, perhaps it will inspire you to offer one of your own.
As for us, offering a “thanksgiving prayer” is not relegated to once a year.
We believe that it is important to give thanks to our Creator for all He has provided to, through, in and for us every day.
We can thank God for His bountiful provision publicly or privately.
Uttering a thanksgiving prayer, even in the recesses of one’s heart, should be done in humility.
In your thanksgiving prayer, it is entirely appropriate to quote God’s Word back to Him. Scripture verses you may choose to quote are:
- Psalm 67:5: “Let the peoples give thanks to You, O God; let all the peoples praise You.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
If you are looking for a biblical example of a thanksgiving prayer, you may wish to look at David’s in 1 Chronicles 29:10-19.
Even if times are tough for you, we think that there is plenty for which to be thankful.
- Do you have a roof over your head (even if it is only the roof of your truck)?
- Do you have enough food for at least one meal a day?
- Do you have clean water to drink?
- Do you have a job?
Then we encourage you to enthusiastically offer a thanksgiving prayer to the Lord.
Vicki occasionally tells folks who ask how she is that since she isn’t in the hospital, jail or morgue, she’s doing just fine.
This sobering bit of reality is certainly worthy of a thanksgiving prayer.
Nature teaches us that there are seasons of expansion and contraction, just like breathing in and out.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 teaches us not to focus on our bad circumstances, but to exult in and rejoice in the Lord.
He proves Himself the faithful Provider to all who trust in Him.
Even if you have only a little, we encourage you to thank the Lord for it in a thanksgiving prayer.
Also, you might consider helping someone in a worse situation than you’re in.
Some churches host community Thanksgiving services.
Some communities host community-wide Thanksgiving dinners.
Consider donating your time or a can of food to a food bank or food pantry as a tangible means of giving back — that is, “putting feet” to your thanksgiving prayer.
If the concept of offering a thanksgiving prayer is foreign to you, you should know that it isn’t only for folks who think that they are a good person.
Having an “attitude of gratitude” is more than just positive thinking.
As a matter of course, it’s better to go through life “humbly grateful” instead of “grumbly hateful.”
Thank you for letting us share these thoughts with you,
Mike and Vicki Simons
One author wrote in a July 6, 2017, article: “… I invite you to pray for truck drivers and their families, because there are a lot of them in Canada ( over 300, 000 ).”(1)
It would be kind of nice for truckers — who are under a great deal of stress — to have people praying for them. What about having a “Pray for-a-Trucker” program where folks from outside the truckers’ immediate families are connected with specific truckers and praying for them?
1. observerxtra.com/2017/07/06/pray-truck-drivers/ (no longer online)