Practicing Gratitude as Prayer

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Psalm 118:1

Give thanks! God is good! God’s love endures forever! The Lord is good. The Lord’s love is constant, strong, enduring. We give thanks in acknowledgment of this goodness and this unshakable love. We give thanks to celebrate these most fundamental truths about our Maker.

Some of us hesitate to express gratitude to God. Our capacity to express gratitude may have been compromised by relationships in which the expression of gratitude was an obligation, or it may have functioned as a way of communicating that we were unworthy in some way. Gratitude is never an obligation, it is a response to Love. Gratitude does not come from a sense of worthlessness, but from a growing sense that we are greatly valued by God.

What the psalmist emphasizes in this text is that God’s love for us is abundant, unfailing, beyond comprehension. It is out of tender, powerful love for us that God gives us good gifts.

This is how Jesus put it: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13).

Like a loving parent, God sees us through eyes of delight and joy. God sees us through eyes of love and valuing. It is with joy that God gives to us. It is out of an endless abundance of love for us that God blesses us. It is because of who God is that we give thanks.

God is good and always, always loving. It is Love that makes it possible for us to open our hearts in gratitude and express our thankfulness to God for all we have been given.

As we do this on a regular basis, something begins to happen to us. We begin to notice more and more of the gifts we are being given. We begin to trust more fully the Giver of those good gifts. The reality of God’s goodness and love begin to take root in our hearts. As a result, our ability to rest in God’s love and goodness deepens.

Give thanks to God, for God is good.

Give thanks to God, for God’s love endures forever.

For your goodness, I give thanks.
For your enduring love, I give thanks.
For your attentiveness, I give thanks.
For your purposes of joy, I give thanks.
For who you are, I give thanks.
For who you are to me, I give thanks.
I open my heart in gratitude and joy.

Prayer suggestion:

Ask God to open your heart in gratitude for who God is.
Ask God to open your heart in gratitude for all you have received.
Spend some time expressing your gratitude to God.
Write your own psalm of gratitude for who God is.
Finish by writing a gratitude list of some of the many gifts you have been given.
Make a practice of writing gratitude lists on a regular basis.

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