7 Days of Thanksgiving – Day 5
Working on this 7 Days of Thanksgiving as a family has been such a wonderful, insightful, and humbling experience. It’s really made a feeling of gratitude prevalent within our home and family. I hope, as you’ve been experiencing these activities too, that you’ve found the same spirit of gratitude in your home. These activities have made Thanksgiving much more meaningful for everyone this year. Day 5’s activity is probably one of the most powerful personal experiences that I’ve ever experienced – Thankful Prayers.
This activity is as much a personal challenge as it is a family experience. So often in life, our prayers to God end up being lists of needs, wants, frustrations, and sadness – and we never seem to mention the good things He’s given us. As a parent, I’m much more inclined to listen to children who are being positive. I think that may be the case for our Heavenly Father as well. I am sure He appreciates knowing, and hearing, that we enjoy his handiwork and blessings already bestowed. I’m not saying that He doesn’t want to hear about our struggles – because I know He does and He is fast to support us in our trials. I’m just saying that only talking to Him about those struggles might get a little difficult to listen to. Also, focusing our prayers only on the negative aspects in our lives has the tendency to make those same trials the only things we see. And, so, we enter a vicious spiral of negative leading to more negative.
This activity strives to refocus thoughts and prayers on the positive in our lives. The activity is simple… during family and personal prayers, only list the blessings God has bestowed, for one week. Don’t ask for anything.
The active decision to only speak to God about our blessings, in a humble attitude, creates amazing effects. I’ve only been working on this activity for four days, and already see amazing results personally.
The first thing to change was my attitude about the upcoming holidays. I went from feeling an incredible lack to a very peaceful feeling of sufficiency. I began noticing all the things we already had, and realized there really wasn’t much need for more. I began seeing God’s working in all areas of my life. My contentment became more complete and I felt much more at peace with my life.
The next thing to change was my feelings for my children when they were misbehaving or trying my patience. Instead of saying my usual “give me strength to get through this” prayer, I started thanking my Heavenly Father for the very characteristics of my children that were causing me stress at that moment. For example, when my preschooler was being overly inquisitive (read repeating “why” a lot), instead of asking for help to get through the moment, I thanked God for a curious child, with a bright mind. Instantly I found my ability to answer the questions and handle the moment in a loving and patient manner increased. It was an instant change – from frustrated to full of love.
There have been other moments when this desire to only offer thanks and praise to God has touched my life, but they are very private. Let’s just say, this activity is well worth doing and a great way to increase the power God has in our lives. It is truly a way to make Thanksgiving a powerful event.