Practising gratitude flips the switch from depression, anxiety and even suicide ideation (suicidal thoughts or ideas) as evidenced by recent research (Emmons, 2019). Studies show that being grateful or thankful by writing it down in a journal, by thanking someone face-to-face or writing a thank you card or by sending an online card, changes our brain structure. The feel-good hormones that are produced make the thankful person feel physically, emotionally, relationally, and psychologically better. Not a bad exchange for practising gratitude regularly!
I want to challenge you and me, to be grateful daily. Let me know by email or post a reply below and I’ll send you a gift of one of my books to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m grateful’!
The angle I want you to take is pick one of the fruits of the spirit where you struggle. When we consider the fruit in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, it’s hard for most of us to live our lives doing all these well—all the time. But my take on this is when we are grateful, particularly to our wonderful God, we are drawing nearer to Him (James 4:8) so that we rub shoulders with who He is. I believe we can’t help but become more fruitful in this process, so hopefully the fruit of the Spirit can become more evident in and through us.
I encourage you to join with me and others, for the month of March, to be grateful or thankful to God every day, targeting your problem fruit. Which one of the fruit do you struggle with? Self control? Peace? Patience? Write down your thankfulness for anything He is doing or has done in your life, particularly in that problem fruit area and pray often during your day and let’s see if there is a change (Christian psychologists suggest repeating positive encouragements 100 times daily for 3 weeks makes a new habit—I tend to agree if you also have an encouraging environment such as God and His Word).
So pick your challenging fruit and here are some sample prayers based on Bible verses to get you going. (Feel free to use your own):
‘Father You are love and You love me so much that You sent Your Son to die for me! Not only that but Your love endures for ever and ever. For Your love, I am eternally grateful and I thank You. Amen.’
(I John 4:8; John 3:16; Psalm 136:1; Psalm 118:1)
‘Thank you Lord, that Your joy fills me up so that I am full of joy and overflowing. Your supernatural joy gives me strength to overcome this and any circumstances that come against me, in Jesus’ name, Amen'
(John 15:11; Nehemiah 8:10)
‘Thank You Jesus, that You give me Your peace in the amount I need. It’s a supernatural transaction not humanly understood and all I need to do is not be troubled but just receive it, in Jesus' name, Amen!’
(John 14:27; Philippians 4:7)
‘I will not worry but be patient as I wait for You to change the circumstances with thanksgiving in my heart. You know my needs because You hear me when I call out to You. Thank You Lord.’
(Philippians 4:6; Romans 8:25; Psalm 40:1)
‘You are always kind, compassionate and loving to me and others, even when we don’t deserve it, so I can be kind to others also. Thank You that Your kindness to me never ends.’
(Ephesians 4:32; Luke 6:35)
‘You are so good to me Lord and Your goodness is following me for all of my life. I am so grateful for Your everlasting goodness to me…’
(Psalm 145:9; Psalm 23:6; Psalm 100:4-5)
‘Your faithfulness to me is also extended to my family. I’m so grateful and I thank You that You will not allow me or my family to go through anything more than we can handle in Your perfect ways.’
(1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 100:4-5)
‘You are always with me Lord and Your gentleness overflows through me to others because I am chosen by You and clothed with who You are. Thank You Lord, for Your gentleness in me. Amen.’
(Matthew 1:23; Philippians 4:5; Colossians 3:12)
‘Thank You Holy Spirit that I carry power, love and a sound mind because of your strength in me, so I renounce anger in the name of Jesus. Amen!
(2 Timothy 1:7; Philippians 4:13; Proverbs 15:18)
Click below to let me know what you struggle with. I would love to hear your stories of the Lord’s faithfulness to your gratitude.
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Emmons,R.A. (2019). From the Science of Gratitude to a Global Gratitude Movement.
The Journal of psychology and Christianity, 38(3), 198-205.