“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Circumstances may be difficult in this season but we are told to ‘give thanks in all circumstances’. Perhaps practising gratitude in the midst of all we are surrounded by right now is more important than ever. Below are 5 practical ways to help us practise gratitude and make it a daily habit.
- Gratitude journal
A recent scientific study showed that the people who kept a gratitude journal reported fewer physical symptoms, had a more optimistic view towards life, had better sleep quality, were more likely to progress towards their goals and felt more connected to others.
Each day simply write down one, or more, things you are grateful for. It could be as simple as a beautiful sunset or a text message that made you smile. You could write these in your existing diary or a blank notebook or there are examples of journals you could purchase below.
2. Gratitude app
If you prefer to keep a digital log, why not try an app? A quick search on your device app store will provide you with plenty of results but personally I have loved using the ‘Presently’ app. It simple to use, easy to look back over past entries and you can set reminders to help you get into a routine of practising gratitude daily.
3.Make thanksgiving part of your prayer life
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.
Philippians 4:6 reminds us to bring our requests to God with thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and gratefulness should be an important part of our prayer life. Like any parent, God loves to see that we have grateful hearts. But more importantly, as we take time to praise God for what he has already done, our faith to believe for even greater answers to prayer grows stronger and more confident.
4. Write your own Dayenu song
“Dayenu” is a Jewish song which is sung as part of the Passover holiday. The song is made up of fifteen stanzas, taking us through the Jews journey from slavery to freedom by listing the many things God did for them. The first five stanzas involve freeing the Jews from slavery, the next describe the miracles He did for them, and the last five for the closeness to God He gave them.
Each blessing listed is preceded by the suggestion that if God had only done this one thing and followed by the word “Dayenu” which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have been sufficient”.
How many times do we forget to pause and notice that where we are is exactly where we ought to be? Dayenu is a reminder to never forget all the miracles in our lives. When we stand and wait impatiently for the next one to appear, we are missing the whole point of life. Instead, we can actively seek a new reason to be grateful, a reason to say “Dayenu.”
Why not try writing down 15 things God has done throughout your life and follow each with “Dayenu”. That if God had stopped, or does stop, at that thing it will be enough.
For more on this you can watch this sermon from Embassy City Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1oQQZj449M
5. Take inspiration from Psalms
In the book of Psalms, we can find so many scriptures about thankfulness and gratitude. Below are a few examples:
Psalm 7:17 – “I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.”
Psalm 95:1-3 – “Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.”
Psalm 107:1- 6 – “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”
Why not pick a Psalm you particularly like and write it down to memorise for difficult seasons. Or head to this website to complete some mindfulness colouring of our favourite Psalm – https://www.steviedoodles.com/psalms-collection . You could even try to write your own Psalm!