Words of Hope: The Discipline of Gratitude 

I am keeping a gratitude timer on my phone. Every hour and a half, I check in with myself. How grateful have I been? How much news or negative thinking have I jumped into? Who can I pray for specifically in this hour and a half of gratitude? I want to develop a mind of gratitude especially in times of unrest, war, challenge, and fear.  

This idea came from imagining what habits I would like to have in the new year. I know I do so much better in my life when my mind is joyful and peaceful. During my prayer time, I thought of how the church has had a strong history of specific times to stop and pray. I like to pray in the spot where my dad often hung out at the house. I think of his counsel to me. What would he say? 

My mind becomes troubled by threats of nuclear war, images of children dying, and stories of violence. I have no idea why I pick up the phone and immediately find these images. Just one image can haunt my mind for weeks. I know this yet, I find the war stories, nonetheless.  

Part of the gratitude discipline is to put down my phone. I also put in my mind this scripture, “For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”  

At camp, we talk about how many reps it takes to eliminate a bad habit and rebuild a positive habit. It isn’t enough just to remove the negative habit, the new one must be emphasized with as many reps as possible. I am thankful for these gratitude reps, these pauses in my day to rebuild the mind toward peace and joy.  

No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful, later on however, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11