Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
“I do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
As I reflect upon this scripture, I become increasingly more convicted of the absolute necessity of thanksgiving and gratitude in my daily prayer and daily life in general. All of the great spiritual masters of our tradition agree that gratitude and thanksgiving are an essential component to growing in our relationship with God and maturing as a Christian. How much time a day do I spend in gratitude? And how much time do I spend complaining, making demands or requests, wishing for something I don’t have, or saying to myself (or out loud) that “if only this were different” then my life would be better?
Gratitude centers us and reminds us that our entire life is a gift. It automatically puts us into our appropriate place before God and the universe, and gives us the right mindset with which to approach our day and each and every person we encounter. And the beautiful thing is that by giving thanks for each and every person we encounter and experience of our day, we can transform normal everyday moments into Divine encounters, realizing that Christ wants us to find Him in each and every person and situation – especially those where we would least expect to find Him.
This can also help to free us from anxiety, anger, selfishness, envy, etc. When our mind gets stuck on how angry we are at a person, or how envious we are of their success, or how nervous we are that they might not like us, or how selfish we are be in our view of them, or when we might be tempted to just see another person as a means to get what we want (friendship, status, power, etc), gratitude can bust us out of those circles of thought. Instead of being caught in a thought pattern of envy at my friend, instead I can be thankful for them and I can express gratitude to God for all that He has given them; and, in that moment of gratitude, I can surrender my feelings of envy and be free of them.
Gratitude is a very powerful tool for claiming the freedom that Christ wants us to live in. For the next week, try imitating St. Paul every night and “do not cease giving thanks” for the people you have encountered that day. Go through your day, and thank God for each person you encountered, both the positive and the negative encounters. See how that begins to transform your thought pattern throughout the day and how you interact with people. The Lord wants you to be free. Gratitude is the path to freedom.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Where are places in your life that you find yourself not being grateful?
How could increased gratitude this past week have helped you turn your heart to God and break patterns of judgment, selfishness, or any other sinful or hurtful pattern?
In what ways is God calling you into freedom through an increased realization of how all that you have is a gift?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Everything is a gift."
"You are the perfect giver."
"Thank you, Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
For the next week, try imitating St. Paul every night and “do not cease giving thanks” for the people you have encountered that day. Go through your day, and thank God for each person you encountered, both the positive and the negative encounters.
Smartphone Lock Screen
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Today's prayer was prepared by Austin Ashcraft, a whitewater rafting guide in Colorado.
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