Psalm 95: Gratitude in God’s PresenceJan 25, 2023
Blog by Alan Fadling
I’ve shared before that I have a habit of thinking like a pessimist. I pretend sometimes that I’m just being a realist, but a consistently negative view of the future doesn’t resonate with the abundant reality of God’s kingdom that surrounds us.
One of the practices that has been so important in my recovery from pessimism has been gratitude. I recommend it often to those I coach and speak to. Here’s a line from the Psalms that I pray every morning:
O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise (Ps 100:3)
I have found the practice of thanksgiving to be of great importance to me in my “glass-half-empty” tendency. The daily practice of thanksgiving helps me recall and acknowledge God’s many gifts through the course of a day. I too easily get in the habit of forgetting them and then moving too quickly past them.
I remember sitting once with a man who was my spiritual director. He urged me to take a moment at the end of my day to look back to recall and record the graces and blessings of God through the day. It was timely advice that has borne a lot of good fruit over the years.
I may or may not notice God’s gifts as I live my day, but God’s Spirit can open the eyes of my heart to notice them in this end-of-the-day practice of thanksgiving. The Ignatian tradition calls this the practice of examen. I grow in noticing God’s grace along the way by the daily practice of noticing God’s grace at the end of a day.
So I say to you and, for that matter, to myself, “Let’s come before God this evening as the day comes to a close. Let’s look back with the help of His Spirit at the events, the conversations, the experiences, the circumstances, the challenges, the encouragements of this day.
- Where do I notice evidence of God’s great faithfulness?
- Where do I notice His grace encouraging, stimulating, energizing, challenging, even correcting me?
- How do I want to express my thanks for His personal, loving attention in the midst of this single, simple day?
May the practice of thanksgiving enable you to, quite literally, “grow in grace.”
- Why not try on this practice at the end of this day. Don’t be rushed. Let God’s Spirit recall to mind ways he has been generous with you through the day in big ways and little ones.