The healing action of gratitude

Is our gratitude to God dependent on how well things are going in our lives?

Heartfelt gratitude for the good in our lives is normal and right, but does it plummet to zero if circumstances prevent our seeing much good? Conditional appreciation may register high or low, depending on family situation, bank account, circle of friends, state of health, or any number of variables. But gratitude that spearheads healing is the constant prayerful action that rejoices in the knowledge of God's presence. Rather than a barometer measuring outward conditions, this gratitude is inner certainty—the glad affirmation of God's spiritual creation, which points thought beyond material evidence and lifts the view of ourselves and others to a higher, more spiritual perspective.

Material surroundings did not dictate the degree of gratitude that Christ Jesus expressed. Even when he stood before the tomb of Lazarus, he was so certain of the deathless reality of God's immediate presence that gratitude was natural and spontaneous. "Jesus lifted up his eyes," John tells us, "and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me." John 11:41. The authority of Christ, shown first in humble gratitude, then in healing power, had dominion over the sad occasion and changed it, annulling the defeat and despair that had swept others into mourning. Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive and free. Such gratitude was not passive reaction to the human scene but the strong, affirmative action of profoundly thankful prayer.

God-centered gratitude is the Christly catalyst that can transform walls of unhappiness into fortresses of courage. It is the conscious, deliberate choice of one whose prayer extends beyond fluctuating emotions and anchors firmly in the stability of spiritual goodness. Prayer that begins with gratitude becomes a well-spring of spiritual strength that increases with every fresh insight into the infinitely loving and powerful nature of God. The more we acknowledge our inseparable unity with God, Spirit, the wider the channel through which gratitude flows to lighten our days, enrich, satisfy, and bring healing.

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"I prayed with more heart than ever before"
November 30, 1987

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