by Kristin Huffman, Mission Advocate
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” —Psalm 28:7
“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” —Psalm 95:2
Today marks the beginning of the fifth week of Lent. Throughout these past weeks, we have engaged in four different spiritual practices together: Lectio Divina, writing with “Morning Pages,” using our senses in nature and fasting (click here to read the earlier posts in our Lenten series).
Another spiritual practice that helps me refocus my heart on God and His grace in my life is gratitude. Author Adele Calhoun, in her Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, says this: “Gratitude is a loving and faithful response toward God for His presence with us and within the world. Though ‘blessings’ can move us into gratitude, it is not at the root of a thankful heart. Delight in God and His goodwill is the heartbeat of thankfulness.”
Gratitude, as defined, means “the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” By practicing gratitude in our daily lives, we have an opportunity to return a small fraction of the kindness God has bestowed upon us back to Him. When we consciously give God thanks for who He is and what He’s done, we join other Christians from around the globe in giving Him glory and honor. This provides us a small glimpse into the glorious day to come, where all people will stand together in worship as stated in Revelation 7:9-12 (NIV):
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!’”
Join us today in thanking God for His promises to us. Thank Him for the infinitely creative ways He is making the Good News of Jesus known around the world, bringing hope and wholeness to members of “every nation, tribe, people and language.”
As you reflect on God’s goodness, mercy and love, write down the things you’re thankful for. Add to it each day, and at the end of the week, offer it to God in a prayer of gratitude. Additionally, you can watch this video by Ann Voskamp. Allow the words to encourage and remind you of God’s faithfulness, remembering that He loves us and is ready to meet us right where we are.
To read more from our 2023 Lenten series, click here.