Last year I started a gratitude journal, so every evening I would reflect on five things that made me grateful and write them down. I tried to be specific and not repeat myself from one evening to the next, and I came to love the practice as a way of reviewing my day and giving thanks to God.
But now a year later, I can’t say that the practice feels as fresh to me as it once did. I repeat myself and miss a lot of evenings, and I might almost say that I’m bored with my gratitude practice, if it didn’t seem, well, ungrateful, to put it that way.
So to change things up, for the next month I’ve decided to set aside my basic 5-things-I’m-grateful-for list, and try a month’s worth of gratitude prompts with Scripture, quotes, questions for reflection, and practical thank yous. I’m sharing them today with more links to gratitude prompts at the end of this article. Won’t you join me in growing gratitude? Thank you to Marisa Shadrick for the Sunday photos below.
I will give thanks to you, God, forever,
because you have acted.
In the presence of your faithful people,
I will hope in your name because it’s so good. – Psalm 52:9
In what ways has God acted in your life?
How would you describe this season of your life, and what about this season moves you to give thanks?
Yesterday was World Communion Sunday to celebrate the unity of the church around the world. Choose a country other than your own, and give thanks for the gifts they bring to the world.
This Thanksgiving Sunday, October 9, I’m preaching on Philippians 4:10-20, and calling my sermon “Less Entitlement, More Gratitude.” What thoughts does that title inspire in you?
Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. – Karl Barth. What gives you joy today?
Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices. . . .
– Catherine Winkworth, public domain
Go for a walk (rain, shine, or even snow!), and give thanks for the world that God has created.
Reflect on the ways that the things you own and the positions you hold may have come at the expense of others. How can you work at changing the structures of privilege so there can be equity with thanksgiving?
I thank my God always for you,
because of God’s grace
that was given to you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Corinthians 1:4
Write a letter or send an email to thank someone who has been a positive example to you.
My word this year is wonder, both in the sense of awe at God’s goodness and in the sense of having questions that I wonder about. What questions are you facing? Give thanks that you can trust God with your tough questions.
Give thanks for a meal by singing a table grace.
Write a prayer using each letter of the word “thanks” to begin each line:
Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart,
it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.
– A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
How much gratitude are you holding in your heart today?
Read Luke 17:11-19. Why do you think only one man returned to thank Jesus? What might keep you from being more thankful?
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord,
O thank the Lord, For all His love.
– Jane Campbell, public domain
What good gifts do you see around you?
Whatever you do, whether in speech or action,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus
and give thanks to God the Father through him.
– Colossians 3:17
What did you do today that you can give thanks for?
What work lies before you this week? Commit your work to God with thanks.
Sometimes gratitude gets lost because we simply have too much. Simplify your life and give thanks by giving something away.
Express your thanks with colour. I’m looking forward to trying my new prayer and praise coloring journal, and you can download some samples to try from Tyndale’s Inspire Creativity Board on Pinterest.
Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.
And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.
― Maya Angelou
What is the relationship between gratitude and faith in your life?
Look at public art or visit an art gallery, and give thanks for beauty.
I sometimes hear people talk about gratitude as another version of the prosperity gospel–as if all you have to do is be thankful and you’ll be blessed. But it seems to me that gratitude and gimme are rather opposites. What do you think?
Give thanks in every situation
because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks for God’s presence even in difficult situations.
Ask God to reveal the things that you take for granted, and give thanks for them.
Spend five minutes in silent contemplation.
Buy an extra grocery item, and donate it to the food bank in your area. Be thankful that you’re able to give.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
– Johnson Oatman, Jr.
What blessings can you name today?
Read David’s prayer of thanks in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20. In what ways can you identify with his prayer and give thanks?
Listen to music of your choice, and give thanks for the gift of hearing and musical expression.
Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
because his faithful love endures forever.
– Psalm 106:1
List examples of God’s goodness, and praise the Lord.
Where do you see God’s abundance in your life?
End this month of thanksgiving by blessing the Lord along with this video of Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord):
For more gratitude prompts:
#30 Day Gratitude Challenge – for home or classroom.
31 Days of Gratitude 2016 – photos and words that you can follow throughout this month.
75 Inspiring Gratitude Prompts – for personal use or passing around the Thanksgiving table.
For more on writing and other acts of faith,
sign up here for free email updates and receive
a copy of How to Pray When Prayer Seems Impossible