A Time For Gratitude.
"Let us enter his presence with thanksgiving..." Psalm 95:2
I’m going to hit “pause” on the series of articles I’ve been writing on learning to recognize God’s voice. I have two reasons:
If you don’t know, I pastor a church in Salt Lake City, called, Formation. We’ve been in the middle of a whirlwind renovation trying to turn our current offices and ministry center into a space that we can also use for Sunday morning worship. It’s been a bear of a project, but our community has been amazing and the finish line is in sight. That being said, last week was a sprint to finish up last minute projects and it didn’t allow time for me to think and write the way I need to for these articles. We’ll pick our topic back up the second week of December.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I think it’s an appropriate time to slow down and think about gratitude.
Psalm 95:2 says, “Let us enter his presence with thanksgiving…” Now, if you participate in a church community that opens services with a call to worship, you’ve most likely heard this verse read in that context, which makes sense. But the truth is, this simple verse invites us to gratitude in far more than just corporate worship. In fact:
There is never a time when gratitude is not the appropriate attitude with which to approach God.
So this week, I want to invite you to make gratitude a priority. Each morning, or evening take a few minutes and do three simple things:
First, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to shine light on all the reasons (big and small) you have to be grateful. When it comes to God’s work in our lives, we tend to walk through much of life in the dark. But if we’ll ask, He loves to help us see where He’s at work.
Second, review the day. Imagine you’re scrubbing through a YouTube video of the prior day. Hit “pause” every time the Spirit shows you something for which to be thankful. It could be as simple as a kind word from a friend, a cool breeze, or the sun on your face. If there are big and obvious expressions of God’s goodness, great! But don’t neglect the everyday small ones either.
Third, respond to God by thanking Him for everything He reveals. Even a simple, but sincere expression of thanks has a profound effect on our attitude and outlook. Gratitude helps us to cultivate the practice of recognizing God’s goodness each day.
Lastly, there’s no reason this practice must remain restricted to Thanksgiving week. This is a modification of the Ignatian prayer of Examen (a practice we’ll talk more about in the future) and the goal is to pay attention to what God’s doing in our lives and how He may be inviting us to respond. Think of how our outlook would change if we spent five minutes each day working this simple practice.
To close, I’d love to pray a blessing over you:
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
I bless you into a week of deep gratitude.
If you are weary, I pray for rest.
If you are hurting, I pray for comfort.
If you are restless, I pray for contentment.
If you are anxious, I pray for peace.
If you are stressed, I pray for margin.
If you are lonely, I pray for connection.
May you taste and see all the ways in which God is good to you this week.