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How to thank God when you don’t feel thankful

WOMAN IN BED
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Life can be filled with trials sometimes. This prayer will remind you of what you might be forgetting.

Some days, a person can get out of bed and wonder why.

“Nothing good can come from today,” you think, “and I don’t know why I bother.”

Some nights, a person can lay back in bed, reflect on the preceding 16 hours or so and wonder where the good stuff was. “People say ‘God is good all the time,’” you muse, “but I think He forgot me today.”

Gratitude doesn’t always happen easily.

It’s tough when you’re sick or unemployed, lonely or bullied, angry or grieving. It’s tough to feel thankful when the car won’t start and payday isn’t for another week, when you’re waiting for the results of that biopsy or got passed over, again, for that promotion. It’s tough to thank God for another day living in poverty or in a dangerous environment, another day estranged from your parents or children, another day with addiction or chronic illness.

But you know what? Gratitude isn’t automatic when times are great, either. Just as we often can’t see or feel God’s goodness in the darkness, often we fail to recognize His abundant blessings when the sun is shining with radiant brightness.

“The secret of happiness,” St. Gianna Beretta Molla said, “is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.”

So let us pray.

Our Father, thank you for inviting me into your Presence. Every day. Every minute. Right now.

I am grateful, Lord, for this day. Thank you for being with me everywhere I have been. Thank you for being with me everywhere I will go. But thank you, especially, for allowing me to be with you right now.

God, thank you for my hands and my fingers. Thank you for my shoulders and my arms, for my legs and my knees, for my feet and my toes. Sometimes they don’t do what I want them to do. Sometimes my arms ache, my feet hurt, my joints get stiff. Thank you for all of that anyway.

And please send a special blessing, right now, upon those people who can’t use their legs to walk or their hands to hold or their fingers to touch nearly as well as they wish.

God, thank you for my eyesight and my hearing. Thank you for my senses of taste, smell and touch. I don’t see as well as I did in my youth. My hearing has diminished over the years. But thank you anyway for my senses and allow me to be ever mindful of that gratitude whenever I see a friend smile at me or hear someone say, “I love you.”

And please send a special blessing, right now, upon those people who are not able to look at the face or to hear the voice of a loved one, those people who aren’t able to fill their senses with your beautiful creation.

God, thank you for giving me a job. It might not always be my ideal way of spending a day, but it allows me to provide for my family and find some purpose. Please bless the unemployed and underemployed with meaningful work.

God, thank you for giving me and those whom I love a roof over our heads, a comfortable and safe place to sleep, warm water for our showers, clean water to drink, more food than we need to nourish our bodies. Thank you for the safety and freedom we enjoy in part because of our policemen and all first responders as well as the nation in which we live. Thank you for cars that start when we turn the key, toilets that flush, air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter, doctors and nurses and medication that allow us to either maintain good health or continue to live with any illnesses. Thank you for laughter and tears, and I especially thank you for wonderful family and friends with whom we can share that laughter and those tears.

Lord, please send a special blessing, right now, upon the homeless, those who don’t have clean water or food for the day, those who live in parts of the world and even our own country where they don’t feel safe, those who lack indoor plumbing or adequate healthcare, those who are lonely or vulnerable, those who suffer from disease or illness, those who are victims or addicts.

Father, thank you for every time my heart beats. Thank you for every breath I take. Thank you, God, for telling me that you love me and for calling me to love you in return. Amen.

~This first appeared in the St. Louis Review. It is reprinted here with kind permission of the author.

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