This lesson was originally written as part of a spiritual retreat. For more information about the retreat, click here.
Spiritual Disciplines: Gratitude
“The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.” Henri Nouwen
If the opposite of scarcity is enough, then practicing gratitude is acknowledging there’s enough and we’re enough. Brene Brown
Preparation/ Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit, perhaps with a view of nature to focus your attention on God.
Place your palms facing down, indicating a desire to release your concerns and anxieties to God. Name the things that are occupying your thoughts, and turn them over to God. Take a few deep breaths to relax your body.
When you are ready, turn your palms up as an indication that you are ready to receive from God.
Read Philippians 4:4-20/ Consider this passage as the person of Paul, in prison.
Read a second time, highlighting the specific actions that are commanded or carried out by the brothers and sisters in Philippi.
Read a third time, and highlight the results of thankfulness and rejoicing.
Consider/ How do you see yourself and your relationship to God in these words?
What responses does this generate in you?
Record in your journal the insights that God has given you.
Challenge/ Read Philippians 4:4-20 at the start of each day for next week. Focus on one phrase that speaks to you and keep it in front of you on a sticky note or phone reminder. Reflect at the end of the day whether it has made a difference in your interaction with others.
Begin a Gratitude Journal/ or other daily gratitude exercise.
Be specific about why you are grateful or how something or person makes a difference. Be consistent; write at the same time each day. Find the gift of grace in the negative moments. Write 3-5 reasons for gratitude in brief descriptions OR write in detail about one gratitude. It is not necessary to always feel grateful in order to practice gratitude.