Practicing gratitude was one of the most important disciplines for my dad. Gratitude for God, for life, and for people were his intentional and pursued disciplines. I call gratitude a discipline because it is a habitual mindset. I can lose this habit in crisis and become a taskmaster instead of maintaining an attitude of appreciation and gratitude.
When tasks supersede my spoken gratitude at home or in the office, my relationships begin to change. I can feel the distance, the lack of graceful unity, the pushback. As soon as I begin to elevate my practice of gratitude everything changes. I get in the car and instead of listening to my favorite historical book, I praise God for all He has created. Immediately my mood is elevated, and joy fills my heart.
I consider all the ways I can speak and show gratitude for my family. Who should I call, text, or spend time with?
Moments of gratitude are all around me. The discipline happens in the decision making. Will I intentionally be grateful, or will I leave the day to my own predilections? My early morning prayer begins with asking God for the grace to practice gratitude as a daily habit. I pray for reminders to stay in an attitude of gratitude throughout the day. I ask God for strength to pick gratitude over task, to see what is good rather than what needs adjustment, to love first and fully instead of living in judgment and critique. I pray for the discipline to rejoice always.
Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. – Psalm 5:1-3