Ever have one of those days! You know what I mean. You get up on the wrong side of the bed. You have a bad hair day. Traffic is a nightmare. Every line you stand in seems to be the slowest. Nothing seems to be going your way.
It’s so easy when momentum seems to be turning against us, to get a bit moody or grumpy. Before you know it you start to gripe and complain. Whatever joy you had seems to leak out of your soul.
What’s the remedy for ‘one of those days’?
A change of circumstances would help! Maybe a few positive changes in those around me. How about some unexpected funds to just show up in the mail? All of those things would be nice. The most significant alterations that can happen, however, are not changes in the situations around you but rather changes in the responses to life within you.
Nothing changes our attitude quite like gratitude! And gratitude is an exercise in context. It’s an intentional decision to treasure the good things that God is doing in our life every day that too often we overlook and take for granted.
In the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ (Matthew 6:9-12), Jesus told us to pray, ‘give us this day our daily bread.’ Every time, I hear that phrase the word ‘daily’ sticks out to me. Before I can ask for what I need today, I need to recognize just how faithful God has been to me all along. As soon as I start to recount the many ways that God has blessed, protected, and provided for me, I begin to feel the joy pumped back into my soul. Can you imagine if we started every day by choosing to be thankful? Here’s an exercise that I encourage you to take today:
- Make a list of at least 30 things for which you thankful. Include items that are HUGE: You saved me from my sin. I am destined for heaven. You have given me the Holy Spirit who lives inside my heart. Include items that are easy to overlook: I can breathe. My heart is beating. I have a car. I have food to eat, water to drink, a bed in which to sleep.
- Consider those less fortunate than you are today. Think about how families live in third-world conditions. Imagine and pray for those who are persecuted for their faith in Christ around the world today. Think about those who are suffering or in the hospital today. Meditate on the reasons why you are more blessed than you deserve.
- Think about the people in your life who have been a gift from God to you. Consider writing them a note or verbalizing how grateful you are for their role in your life.
- Verbalize to God how grateful you are that He loves you and that He has chosen you to be part of His family. Thank Him for forgiving you. Thank Him for His unfailing and unconditional love in your life.
- Savor the small things in life today. You can make it a choice. Enjoy every sip of coffee. Slowly taste and linger on every bite of food. Breathe deeply and consider the beauty of the world around you. Thank God for every sign of His goodness that you can see or experience.
Nothing changes your attitude quite like gratitude. For more tools and helps in your life of prayer visit: prayingwithconfidence.com.
Jeff Leake has served as the lead pastor of a multi-campus church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for twenty-four years. He is the leader of a church planting movement that has planted fifty churches over the past twenty years. Leake has authored three books: God in Motion, The Question That Changed My Life, and Learning to Follow Jesus.
**Article originally posted on prayingwithconfidence.com**