Gratitude

Gratitude by Donna Betts

Psalm 118:28-29
You are my God, and I will praise you;
You are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
His love endures forever.

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, – a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.
~George Herbert

What does the Lord require of followers? The Lord requires gratitude. And for those of us in the Christian tradition, Jesus wants our gratitude to increase more and more until, like a holy flame, it burns within us and we burst into songs and deeds of thankfulness to God and neighbor. To express genuine gratitude to God, our deeds must demonstrate our love, trust, and service.
– Beauty Maenzanise

When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking God for being so generous to you. If you drink wine (or coffee), be mindful of God who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank God for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who ordered things this way. When the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator. – Basil the Great

Resentment indicates we are still trying to fill the emptiness with something we think we deserve. Gratitude is the sign that God has filled the hole; indeed, that God has become the Whole in Whom we live, move, and have our being. – Steve Harper

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John F. Kennedy

It is literally true, as the thankless say, that they have nothing to be thankful for. He who sits by the fire, thankless for the fire, is just as if he had no fire. Nothing is possessed save in appreciation, of which thankfulness is the indispensable ingredient.
~W.J. Cameron

Jesus calls us to gratitude. He calls us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement. That is why Jesus calls us to be grateful for every moment that we have lived and to claim our unique journey as God’s way to mold our hearts to greater conformity with God’s own. The cross is the main symbol of our faith, and it invites us to find hope where we see pain and to reaffirm the resurrection where we see death. The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Living

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. ~William Faulkner

Grateful living: an alchemic operation of converting “disgraceful” things into grateful events. ~ Raimundo Panikkar

How to practice gratitude? Research shows that those who keep a simple gratitude journal felt happier, more optimistic, and even slept better at night. Renowned psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman guarantees that if you (a) write a 300-word letter to someone who changed your life for the better, (b) hand-deliver it to the recipient, (c) read it out loud to them, then “You will be happier and less depressed one month from now.” – reposted from Daily Good

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give,
and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. – Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Be sure to check out Nadia Bolz Weber’s sermon, Thank You (a sermon), on the classic gratitude text, Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healing ten lepers.

Focus Me, a prayer based on Philippians 4

philippians4-8thinkontheseBased on Philippians 4:6-9

Almighty God,
Most powerful, most near, most good
I surrender my worries to you
I have asked, you will supply
I have made my needs and desires known
You will bring goodness and mercy

Thank you for your steadfast love and faithfulness
Thank you for your saving power
Thank you for grace upon grace

Your peace surpasses all need and understanding
Guard my heart with your peace
Guard my mind with your peace
Guard me now and always in Christ Jesus my Lord, the Prince of Peace.

Focus my attention and hope on your goodness, your truth, your honor, your justice. All are at work in your world.

Focus my attention and hope on your goodness, your purity, your delight, your commending. All are at work in your world.

Focus my attention and hope on your goodness, your excellence, your praise. All are it work in your world.

All are at work in me, my situation, this very moment.

Focus my attention, my power, my resources to keep doing all you show me to be right, for you are with me, God of Peace and Hope.

Focus me on your promises that I may persevere, no matter the season or situation, for the building of your kingdom and the glory of your name. Amen.

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Focus Me © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Expectant, a prayer for greater faith

Holy One
You are at work, your saving work
Help me to trust this truth and to live expectantly

Expecting to see people come to faith
Growing in faith

Expecting to see people freed from poverty,
Delivered of disease
Making sacrifices for the greater good

Expecting to see prayers answered
Jobs found
Bills paid

Expecting to see wars end
Corruption abandoned
Justice and opportunity abounding

Expecting to see lives unshackled from addiction
Families made whole
Neighborhoods and Nations open
and welcoming
and hope-full

You make the crooked straight and the rough places a plain
You make a way when there seems to be no way

Give me eyes to see
A heart full of faith
Lips quick to testify in thanksgiving and praise

Glory, Glory Hallelujah to our God on high!
Glory, Glory Hallelujah to our God with us!
Amen!

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Expectant, a prayer for greater faith © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Overwhelmed, a prayer for times of great need

Quotefancy-1754147-3840x2160I am standing with you in love and prayer as the storm comes. Jesus stands with you, too- protecting you, strengthening you. You are safe with Jesus. Nothing can separate you from his saving love and mighty power.

It is likely the storm will interrupt our ability to speak with each other. I will be faithful to pray and to write. Thank you for your prayers. God brought us together and God will bring us together again. Hallelujah! God is steadfast and faithful and strong to save.
Your sister and servant in Christ, Lisa <><

Lord Jesus, fill us with your faith and courage
so we are never overwhelmed by great needs
but rather overwhelmed with your great grace
Your great strength
Your great compassion
Your great presence
Your great hope
Fulfill your gifts of greatness in great and good works
for the honor and glory of your name
for the saving of lives
for the redemption of your world
Amen

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Overwhelmed, a prayer for times of great need © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Calm the Storm in Me (Mark 4.35-41)

hurricane-irma-satellite-noaa-ht-jc-170905_12x5_992

A satellite image of Hurricane Irma released by NOAA

In a group setting, the words in regular print are spoken by one voice and the words in bold print are spoken by all.

When the waves rise high above our ability to see your face…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the howling wind and the pouring rain drown out the sound of your voice…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
Calm the storm in me

When the thunder and the lightning distract us from Your presence in every circumstance…
Still my soul, Lord Jesus,
calm the storm in me
that I may re-member in your presence
that I may be light in the chaos
that I may be of use to you in your saving and restoring work

Calm the Storm in Me by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, based on Mark 4:35-41
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Calm the Storm in Me © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Jesus, heal us- a prayer of confession based on Matthew 13.10-17

healing hand light

Based on Matthew 13:10-17

Jesus, heal us for we are hard of hearing
We do not listen, nor seek to understand
We work for our kingdom, not yours

Jesus, heal us for we have shut our eyes
We see, but we do not perceive
We look to our kingdom, not yours

Jesus, heal us for our hearts have grown dull
Blunted by apathy and distraction
We long for our kingdom, not yours

Jesus, you speak again that we might be saved
Weave your stories into the fabric of our souls
Unstop us with sacred truth
Awaken us to greater grace
Sharpen us with your light and love
that we may be fully yours and fully alive
to your kingdom, to your glory, to your mercy,
to you and your holy will. Amen

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Jesus, Heal Us © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

You are the Resurrection and the Life, an affirmation and prayer based on John 11

I am resurrection and life 1000x

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

In the midst of
hunger, disease, and great need
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
conquest, prejudice, and oppression
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
water, bread, and wine
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
questions, promises, and prayers
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
loneliness, hot tears, and agonizing decisions
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
betrayal, saving your own skin, and abandonment
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
injustice, brutality, and the misuse of power
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
mocking, torture, and excruciating pain
You are the Resurrection and the Life

In the midst of
grave clothes, spices, and stone
You are the Resurrection and the Life

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This affirmation/prayer was inspired by Jesus final hours. It is amazing to me how his situations speak to our modern experience in fresh and relevant ways.

Consider adapting this affirmation/prayer for a group setting by having all present speak “You are the Resurrection and the Life.”

You are the Resurrection and the Life © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.