Thanksgiving as discipline

I read Abandoned for Life on a regular basis. Today she wrote about how she had almost given up counting things to be thankful for because the Mondays just flew by and she found she could not post her list. As a single mother of 3, with a home to care for, part-time work as a nurse and a worship leader in her church, she just simply couldn’t get to it. Ah, how well I know that feeling. She simply stated that the discipline of gratefulness was good for her and then she poured out her list into her blog. Wow!

At breakfast this morning I read a prayer that included a time of thanksgiving; it included a list of one man’s thanks for the temporal blessings in this world. He listed things that aided his comfort. It made me think how how expansive my list really could become because all of these are also ones I could easily make mine:

#1217 the refreshing air

#1218 the light of the sun

#1219 the food that renews strength

#1220 the raiment that clothes

#1221 the dwelling that shelters

#1222 the sleep that gives rest

#1223 the starry canopy of the night

#1224 the summer breeze

#1225 the flowers’ sweetness

#1226 the music of flowing streams

#1227 the happy endearments of family, kindred, friends

Things animate, things inanimate, minister to my comfort.

My cup runs over.

Suffer me not to be insensible to these daily mercies.

Thy hand bestows blessings, Thy power averts evil.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, p. 121

It may seem that borrowing my thanksgivings from a prayer written in a book is a sluggard’s way of blogging, but let me assure you each of the pray-er’s items is most assuredly my own.   Thank you, Andrea, for spurring me on.

God is with us,



10 comments on “Thanksgiving as discipline

    • The phrase “these so often present conditions” represent what I am most in need of recognizing. There are so many that are hungry, cold, unsafe, persecuted and I am none of these. I have all my basic needs met day after day, and, in addition, I have sunshine and love and mercy and grace and singing and laughter. I should never spend a single moment grumbling EXCEPT to grumble about injustice and then get about erasing it.

  1. I asked my husband why I never get caught up and he said that I take on too many new things to do!
    I used to get so much more accomplished every day and
    still have time for small things, but alas only certain things stay organized (sort of!) My conclusion today, 7/9/13, is that my priorities have changed. We think we need more and more time for meditation and prayer, but it is so more efficiently entwined in our everyday?

    • The entwining is key. I think it is what was meant when Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.” He saw prayer as a heart bent toward God. A believer in constant communion with Him knows every movement scripted by the hand of God and follows the lead of his Abba Father. I know a few people who move like this. They are the flesh and blood role models that show me it is possible.

  2. I am studying an art teacher’s book designed to help people “free” their creative spirits. The first assignment was to simply sit in a room and look at shadows. After five minutes, you think you’ve seen everything. But if you can continue for fifteen, thirty, or more, you begin to see an explosion of things you never knew were there. ( Minute textures, changes through changing light, etc.). You make new connections and become more aware of relationships. I think that’s what intentional thankfulness does for me too. It helps me to connect to so many more things I am thankful for, and to understand their relationships in our existence. it is impossible to exclude God. And that is the whole point, ultimately, isn’t it! We thank him, even for the shadows of life. They help us to see dimension. Dimension helps us to understand God’s purpose.

  3. I love your “borrowed” thanksgivings, Dawn. We all see through our own grid and having someone point out what they notice and are grateful for can be a jumping off point to whole new vistas and visions, revelations and revelings in the innumerable gifts from our great Papa.

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