Invite Vigilant Gratitude to Wake Up Your Prayer Life

Sunday Scripture

We’re half way through November, and maybe, like me, you’re wondering how this has happened. Somehow, even with all the things we’re NOT doing because of the pandemic, life has managed to fill itself up with activity and distractions that keep us in full-steam-ahead mode most of the time.

One of the first indicators that life is moving too fast here on the hill is that we start misplacing things: keys, important papers, the lid to my favorite travel mug… Anyone else? It’s almost as if we stop seeing and paying attention, a dangerous symptom of life on auto-pilot, and we were never designed to live that way.

As we come careening into Thanksgiving season, I want to live in gratitude, but that’s just not going to happen if I don’t slow down and pay attention to my life. Notice the connection between vigilance and gratitude here:

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”

Colossians 4:2

According to John Piper, a more literal translation of this verse would render it, “Being watchful in it BY thanksgiving.” Gratitude is the key to paying attention!

Certainly, I am blessed with innumerable gifts, straight from the hand of God, and my right response to this is deep and abiding gratitude. The Message version helps me to connect the dots between prayer and a vigilant thanksgiving mindset:

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.

November is the perfect month to invite gratitude to wake up your prayer life!

A number of Christian writers recommend organizing our prayer lives in concentric circles, praying first for those closest to us and then moving in ever-widening circles through close friends and church family, neighbors, acquaintances, state and national leaders, and the world. I’ve started using those concentric circles to guide me into gratitude. For example:

“Thank you, Lord, for my good and patient husband, for the way you have provided for us in our cozy home, for healthy bodies and minds, for work to do and the strength to accomplish it, for the soft fur of a faithful dog. Thank you for our four sons…”

With a thanksgiving mindset, even our prayer requests can become occasions for offering gratitude to God: “Thank you, God, that our son has the opportunity to attend college, that he can glorify you in his work ethic and his good reputation. Help him today as he…”

With so much to be thankful for, maybe an organizing system for our brains is just the thing we need to help us in slowing down and paying attention with our “eyes wide open in gratitude.”

Will you join me in praying concentric circles of gratitude in these days leading up to Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about how it’s waking up your prayer life and drawing you closer to God in the process!

A Blessed Thanksgiving to You!

Michele Morin

P.S. Found the lid to my favorite travel mug between two bread pans. Note to self: Pay attention when you are putting dishes away.

On the Third Thursday of every month, (This week!) I send biblical encouragement and newsy insights to newsletter subscribers. This month, I’m going to be sharing Make Gratitude the Music of Your Life, a printable collection of my Thanksgiving devotionals just in time to center your heart in gratitude during the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already, and be sure to spread the word.

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50 thoughts on “Invite Vigilant Gratitude to Wake Up Your Prayer Life”

  1. I, too, am trying to lead a life with “eyes wide open in gratitude.” Keeping a daily gratitude journal has helped me become more aware of God’s blessings. I only write down one or two, so it is not a time-consuming task. But the review of the day, in order to decide what to write, is valuable in itself. It’s also a great delight to flip back to previous years and be reminded of what God provided in the past.

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  2. Kindred spirits! I’ve long lived and shared with others the concept of circle praying, which I’ve called target prayers. We are the bullseye and the next circle is family, etc.

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  3. What a wonderful way of looking at it – I think you’re right! And when we are watchful and paying attention, we find so much to be thankful for. All in our perspective. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. I haven’t thought about praying in concentric circles, but now I want to give it a try. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post about how gratitude and thanksgiving go hand in hand.

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  5. Michele,
    In this case, it is good to put the “cart before the horse.” We need to give thanks before the blessings in order to be open-eyed to recognize them. I love the idea of vigilante gratitude being our way of living. I needed this attitude adjustment today as I, too, am misplacing things and need to slow down!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
    ********************************************************

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  7. Michele, I like the idea of praying in concentric circles. And I just commented recently that I seem busier than ever when I’m staying home more. Maybe those breaks driving and going places were times to be still.

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  8. Life is definitely moving too fast! We need to continuously pray and give thanks, giving praise daily for gratitude. Thanks so much for linking up at our party – #FaithAndWorshipChristianWeekend 10. Shared.

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  9. Thank you, Michele! Vigilate is our motto here in the BVI, so your post Vigilant Gratitude caught my attention. Being watchful in prayer by thanksgiving; I love that. I’ve designed my prayer calendar around the concentric circles and it has helped me to be more intentional in my prayers. I’m grateful for all that God is teaching me through the process. For the days leading up to Thanksgiving, my small group has engaged in a Thanks-living pledge (Hebrews 13:15). My prayer is that it will invite vigilant gratitude into our lives. Blessings!

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  10. Michele, I love how you point out that “even our prayer requests can become occasions for offering gratitude to God.” One flows naturally into the other, I think, and both are important. (Also glad you found your travel mug lid…) 🙂

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  11. It is true that when we’re looking for reasons to be grateful, we will find them. I’ve noticed that when I used to keep a gratitude journal. Now would be a perfect season to begin that anew.

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