I’ll be honest. While I am thankful for many things, gratitude is not my natural disposition. I regularly wonder how I might increase my gratitude in my life.
I recently came across an essay written by Dr. Summer Allen as part of the Greater Good Science Center titled, “The Science of Gratitude”. I didn’t read the essay in its entirety, but Dr. Allen wrote, “One study found that people assigned to pray for their partner, or pray in general, for four weeks reported higher gratitude at the end of the study than people who were assigned to think about their daily activities or to think positive thoughts about their partner."
We have the privilege of following Jesus at this point in time. We know he prayed regularly and taught his disciples how to pray. And while it can be easy to think Jesus lived a joyful life on earth because “he’s God,” he lived a human life in the same way that we do. He cultivated deep gratitude through regular communion with his Father and prayer with and for his followers.
And so it is with most things - the answer is more simple than it is easy. How can I increase gratitude in my life? Let us begin together: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” And may we find abundant joy as we commune with God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us what research has found: communication with you through prayer as a primary means of gratitude and joy. And thank you for your desire to be with us.
Throughout the Day: If you’re like me and prayer feels difficult at times, start small. Set aside even 5 minutes of your day just to be in the presence of God through prayer.
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