If we sit and think about all the troubles we have been through, we can get depressed. Instead, let’s flip the script and think about how God was faithful in all those situations.
Our society thrives on competition, an “all about me” mindset, and pursuing more, more, more. More prestige, more money, more stuff. It’s all about going after what I want and accumulating more and more of everything. The sad part is that even when they do this, they still aren’t happy. Why? Two reasons. One, they don’t know the Lord, who is the answer to everything. Two, they don’t have a heart of gratitude for the blessings in their lives.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the things we want and the goals we want to achieve, thinking more will bring us happiness. Sometimes, we can become so distracted by the goal that we forget to communicate with the One who is directing and assisting us in achieving that goal. Even if it isn’t the way we planned it. When things aren’t going the way we think they should, we get frustrated and ask God for more and then wonder why it’s not happening. This could be because it’s not right in his timing, and it can also be because we do not posture our hearts in the correct way.
So, how can we have a heart of gratitude while asking God for more?
1. Slow Down
Before we do anything, we need to slow down and take a deep breath. Go somewhere where you can have total silence and uninterrupted time where it’s just you and God. Get comfortable and take a few minutes to breathe and calm your mind and emotions.
2. Write What You Are Grateful For
In order to manifest a grateful heart, we need to remember what we are grateful for. Our salvation, our family and friends, our pets, having a job, having food on the table, being able to provide for our kids, our pets, etc. The sickness he healed us from, the relationship restored, the financial issue solved. Write down the big and the small; it all counts and can change your perspective.
3. Be Grateful First
Before you go to God in prayer to ask for what you need, thank him for all he has done and is going to do in your life. Let him know you are grateful for his blessings and his direction in your life, as well as walking with you through the trials.
4. Ask for What You Need
We are to go boldly before the Lord and make our petitions known. However, we should not be demanding. We should ask in a humble yet specific way for what we want and need for ourselves and others.
5. Be Specific
While asking, be specific about what you want or need. When I pray for my friends and myself, I try to make my requests as specific as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
6. Be Goofy
Sometimes prayer can be hard to get started. If need be, thank the Lord for the common things like air conditioning, all your fingers and toes, or your cat spitting up to let you know she is not feeling good.
Doing this will shift your heart and mind to focusing on him and ease you into asking for the more serious things in your life. This is like easing into conversational small talk with a friend.
7. Start a “Thank You, God” Journal
Every morning, write “Thank you, God” in your journal, and then write everything you are grateful for. This will help you start off the day with a grateful heart and get you ready for your prayer time and also for whatever the day throws at you. We are to be grateful to him in every circumstance, no matter what is going on.
8. Be Grateful for Those Around You
It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life and neglect the people around us. Take some time to take stock of the people around you and how they make your life easier. Everyone from friends and family to your child’s teachers and bus drivers to the barista who makes your morning coffee or the drive-thru worker who gives you your breakfast.
Then remember to thank them when you see them. Having a grateful heart for others shows a grateful heart to Jesus, too. After all, he put them in our lives for a reason.
9. Thank God for His Faithfulness
If we sit and think about all the troubles we have been through, we can get depressed. Instead, let’s flip the script and think about how God was faithful in all those situations. When your hours got cut but you could still pay the bills. The time your child was sick, you only had one more day of PTO to use, and then they were fine the next day. When a big repair bill came and you weren’t sure how you were going to pay it but the money came through. That’s God being faithful.
If you find yourself in a scary situation, pause and thank God for all he has done for you. Something like, “Lord, I don’t know how we’re going to make it with my hours being cut, but you have always been faithful to us and have never failed us. I’m trusting that you will provide again, and I thank you in advance for your blessing.”
One of my favorite lyrics from Danny Gokey’s song "Haven’t Seen It Yet" goes, “Don’t forget the things that he has done before, and remember he can do it all once more.” This is what we need to remember in his faithfulness.
10. Remember That He Is Making Good Things Out of Ashes
Sometimes when we are in a difficult time, it’s hard to see how things will ever work out. However, most of the time, he is making something beautiful out of what we have lost.
The job he provided that was better than our last. A reconnection with a friend who has found the Lord so that you can rebuild your friendship and encourage each other in your walk with him. A car that is even better than your last with extra safety features. Therefore, we need to trust him and be grateful even in the storms of life.
Like the song from Casting Crowns says, “And I will praise you in the storm/And I will lift my hands/For you are who you are/No matter where I am/And every tear I’ve cried/You hold in your hand/You never left my side/And though my heart is torn/I will praise you in the storm."
By having a posture of gratefulness, we should feel confident in asking the Lord for more. He wants us to go boldly before him and ask for what we need and want because it all matters to him. The big and the small. Take some time to go to him today in thanksgiving and watch him bless you in his perfect timing.
Photo Credit: ©AaronAmat