A Week of Thanksgiving: God Helps Us to RememberDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
He causes us to remember his wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our LORD! (Psalm 111:4)
When I actually take time to think about God’s grace in my life, when I actually remember the ways he has saved, healed, and transformed me, then gratitude flows quite easily. For me the formula is simple: Time + Remembering = Gratitude.
If I’m going to have adequate time for thanking God, I need to put it on my calendar. For me, this means intentionally setting aside at least one hour for prayer of gratitude. No requests. No confessions of sin. For one hour, just saying thanks. Usually, I do this on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because the holiday is often quite full for me. My tradition is to get to a place of quiet and solitude where I can spend at least ninety minutes in prayer, with the middle sixty devoted to gratitude. (This year, I was able to set apart this time on the Monday before the holiday.)
Once I am able to pause, take a deep breath, and begin my time of giving thanks, I ask the Lord to guide me. At the top of my list are many obvious gifts: my family, my work, my home, my church, my health, and, of course, my relationship with God through Christ. Over the years, I have found that if I set aside adequate time for gratitude, and if I am quiet enough to let the Lord whisper in my heart, I will often remember things for which I have never either felt grateful or expressed gratitude to God before. I’m always amazed by the way God helps me to remember his good gifts, even and especially the ones I have previously taken for granted.
Psalm 111:4 celebrates the fact that the Lord “causes us to remember his wonderful works.” How does this happen? Partly, it comes when we quiet our hearts and open them to his Spirit. Sometimes remembrance bubbles up as if out of nowhere. Often it is ignited in corporate worship, as someone gives a word of witness or as a hymn expands our consciousness. Scripture reminds us time and again of God’s wonderful works in history as well as those we have experienced in our own lives.
In this season of thanksgiving, may I encourage you to set aside time for remembrance. Allow the Lord to bring to mind his manifold gifts to you. True thanksgiving will follow.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to remember God’s gifts in your life and work? Will you be able to set aside intentional time for thanksgiving in the next three days?
PRAYER: O Lord, how good you are to me! Not only do you pour out blessings in my life and work, but also you help me to remember them. Thank you for the nudging of your Spirit so that I might be filled with gratitude.
Indeed, Lord, I invite you once again to remind me of your goodness. Help me to remember things I have forgotten. Help me to see my life from a fresh perspective, so that I might be thankful in new ways.
Most of all, help me to remember anew the gift of salvation through Christ. Amen.
P.S. from Mark on Thanksgiving: For the past week, I have been blogging about Thanksgiving, in the hope that we might celebrate a season of gratitude to God, not just a day. You can see all that I've written so far in my blog series: Thanksgiving: Not Just a Day, But a Season.
P.P.S. from Mark on Advent: The season of Advent is right around the corner. I believe that participating in Advent can help us celebrate Christmas more joyously and know God more intimately. I have just published a new e-book that will help you understand and engage in Advent. It's called: Discovering Advent: How to Experience the Power of Waiting on God at Christmastime. It includes an Advent Devotional Guide for personal, family, or group worship. This e-book is currently available for Kindle and Nook readers.