How to Cultivate a Grateful Heart
By Miranda Ewing
A few weeks ago, my one-year-old son ran the highest fever he’s ever had. My husband and I nervously passed our flushed baby back and forth as we scrolled our phones, looking for remedies. When we took him to urgent care the next day, the doctor told us his molars were coming in, and his fever would pass soon. I breathed a sigh of relief and said out loud to my husband, “Praise God.”
I am quick to give God thanks when a troubling situation is resolved, when my frustrations or anxieties are soothed, or when something goes my way. But am I quick to thank Him in the menial moments of the day? Do I look for opportunities to notice His handiwork and how His blessings have shaped my life?
The answer is often “no.” It is far too easy to go through life without thanking God for His kindness. But a grateful heart is something God delights in.
So, how can we cultivate a grateful heart?
1. Begin the day with thanks.
After you wake up in the morning, let your first words be thanksgiving to the Lord: “Thank you Father for giving me another day. Thank you for making me Your own. Thank you that, whatever this day holds, I can rest secure in the gospel.” If it is hard for you to remember to begin the day in conversation with the Lord, you might write your prayer out on a piece of paper to put up near your bed or on your bathroom mirror.
2. Thank Him in your worship.
One of the easiest ways to thank the Lord is to sing praises to Him. Sing songs of praise around the houses, in the car, on walks, and in your quiet time. As we thank Him with song, we repeat the truth about Him to ourselves and to others. We are blessed with renewed minds as we worship and thank our Heavenly Father! How incredible!
3. Speak of all of His benefits.
Psalm 103:2 says: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” There is no better way of remembering the Lord’s benefits than to recall them and speak of them often! The Psalms give us the model for this kind of remembrance. The authors give thanks to God by calling out how He has shown His faithfulness. How has He shown His faithfulness to you? Make a daily habit of telling God and others how God has blessed you!
4. Thank Him as you read His Word.
When you spend time with the Lord reading His word, pause and thank Him for what He is revealing and teaching to you. Thank Him for giving you His Word in the first place! As you linger in the Lord’s presence you have access to unmeasurable treasures.
5. Thank Him for the hard things.
Because life is still broken with the presence of sin, we encounter difficulties everyday. What if we took our hard situations, even our sin, and instead of becoming despondent, we thanked the Lord for our righteousness and security in Christ? Pausing to be thankful turns our hearts away from ourselves and back towards the Lord.
- Take one of the suggestions from this blog and put it into practice for the next week. Reflect in your journal or Quiet Time Companion about how it is cultivating gratitude within you.
- Ask a friend to be a “thankfulness accountability partner” with you for the rest of November. Each day you text one another about something you are thankful for.
- Read a book on gratitude, like Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ book, Choosing Gratitude: A Journey to Joy.
Miranda lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband, Sam, and son, Jack. She and her husband actively serve together at Headwaters Church.