As we recognize the blessings—both great and small—that flood our lives every day, we will experience the joy God intended for us. That is the power of a thankful heart. – Jeff Manion [Dream Big, Think Small page 97]
The Apostle Paul penned today’s Scripture passage while incarcerated in Rome—most likely chained to a Roman guard. Two key words we see from this passage are “with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Even in challenging circumstances, Paul was able to offer thanksgiving to God. Thanksgiving was his fundamental posture toward God.
Pastor Manion reminded us this weekend that “gratitude has the power to push out the darkness.” Gratitude is when we focus on the blessings we’ve been given. Anxiety and complaint come when we focus on what’s going wrong. Practicing gratitude frees us from the onslaught of anxiety, envy and complaint that bubble up in our hearts.
We are bombarded by God’s blessings every day. And if we’re not careful, we can easily plow through our day focused on the challenges while missing God’s kindness toward us. One way to begin practicing gratitude is by using our journals. Consider recording three blessings from God each day. Be specific and try not to repeat from previous days: a great Ethiopian coffee, the small ice crystals formed on your windshield or time spent with a dear friend.
Take a moment now to express gratitude for three specific blessings in your life. Using page 98 in your Dream Big, Think Small book, complete the prayer, “Dear Lord, today I’m grateful for…” May this practice forge in your heart a posture of gratitude toward God for all his blessings and goodness.