Praying Gratitude, Prayer Practice
Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and God’s courts with praise; give thanks to God and praise God’s name.” – Psalm 100:4
Every week we pray for a cultural shift. On Sunday morning our voices come together and we pray, “Thy kingdom come…” This prayer is not asking for a shift in our system of government, we are not looking for a monarchy. This prayer is asking for something more. The “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” is less about a place and more about a way of being. This kingdom is where the values of God are lived out, the love of God is embraced, and the way of God is followed. It is for this reason that the next line of the prayer is, “thy will be done.” To pray for the kingdom of God to be manifested is to pray for a different kind of culture to be brought to life through us. Over the course of this year we’ll be exploring the culture of God’s kingdom as revealed in the early church.
In what many scholars consider to be the first letter of the Apostle Paul, he writes to the nascent church saying, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Taken literally, giving thanks in “all circumstances”, feels a tall order, perhaps too tall. Yet rather than use this exhortation as a dispiriting measuring rod let us hold it up as a beacon, an ideal to move towards.
Over the course of this week we will look at a variety of spiritual practices designed to build gratitude into our daily lives. Each day will have one suggestion for how we might bring gratitude, a cultural value of God’s kingdom, to life.
Let’s begin today. Who in your life exhibits a grateful spirit? Take a moment to thank them for their spirit of gratitude.
“Gratitude seems to be shortest path to love God with all our hearts and souls, and to love one another as ourselves . . . In gratitude, we are co-creators with God, and it is good.” – Brother Ande