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!Tweet
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!
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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