Gratitude: A powerful prayer

As my gratitude list became increasingly spiritual, my joy increased.

Originally published for the Christian Science Sentinel online on April 20, 2023

In the garden of thought it is helpful to have many different tools. Gratitude is one of my favorite tools now, but it wasn’t always. 

My parents taught me to be polite and express my thanks, and I felt I did OK with that. Growing up in a family that practiced Christian Science, I knew that its Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy, offered the following counsel: “Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years” (Manual of The Mother Church, p. 60). I suspected there was more to that statement than appears on the surface, but I figured I had better things to think about and that gratitude couldn’t be that important in the grand scheme of things. Wow, was I in for a surprise!

One day when I was feeling discouraged, a friend suggested that I write a daily gratitude list. The only requirement was to keep it fresh. This wasn’t hard, as there were so many things I was grateful for. The beauty of nature had always been a source of joy to me, and there was plenty of that to be appreciated every day. I was grateful for my husband’s faithful love, my children, my church family, my friends, a job I love, my house, ample food, and so forth. Writing the list was fun, and it made me happy. 

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