3 years ago I gave myself a challenge to only say prayers of gratitude for two weeks leading up to thanksgiving. When I put my plan into action, I immediately felt a difference ripple through my days. My prayers changed from "please help me, please help me" to "I'm grateful for" and "thank Thee for."
I stopped asking for help parenting my stubborn kid, and started expressing gratitude that she is persistent, hard working, and creative-I started telling My God "I am grateful I have a kid that achieves what she sets her mind to, doesn't give up or back down from challenges, and thrives on self sufficiency." Suddenly I went from having a difficult child to a dream child. Gratitude changed my attitude.
I stopped asking God to bless the poor and the needy, and started expressing gratitude that I have enough to share, and "thank Thee for the opportunities to do so." Suddenly I wasn't worried about the poor, I was helping the poor. Gratitude moved me to action.
And so on and so on.
Then came the big test. One night after a phone call with a loved one wading through deep challenges, I knelt with a very heavy heart. My lips parted, and I almost started to plead for a blessing for this dear one. I stopped short and swallowed down my plea. I had to quiet my aching heart, and ask myself to find gratitude. I started simply by saying how grateful I was for my relationship with this person. And with just a simple start, my heart burst with sorrow and gratitude sweetly mixed together. Once I got started, it was hard to stop. So I didn't-until ALL my gratitude was out. I poured out my heart in gratitude for Jesus Christ and the hope, light, and Life He gives. I praised the Lord for giving all men second and third and fourth and 52nd chances. I gloried in God's ability to heal all hurts and bind up all wounds. And I humbly thanked Him for His unconditional love for me and all His children.
And I felt peace descend upon my troubled heart. It was so healing, so relieving to be grateful. All my anguish for my dear one was soothed away, and replaced with peace, love, and hope. So much hope. Gratitude washed away my grief.
Rarely have I ever felt so near to my Father. Gratitude brought me closer to Him, and it can bring you closer too.