One of the perspective changes I had while Noah was in the hospital, and then since he passed away, is one of thankfulness.
Growing up as a Catholic kid, it was regular practice to give thanks to God for each meal, pray every night for family, friends, neighbors and strangers, and say the words of the “Lord’s Prayer”, offering thanks and seeking His hand and guidance for each day.
Somewhere deep down within my heart I’ve always known giving thanks, showing appreciation, and having a heart and mindset of gratitude, leads not only to a better life in general, but is innately how we were designed, the act of it one of worship allowing us to see God’s heart more purely.
A lack of thanks is precisely why I believe many in the first-world are over-stressed, excessively busy, and self-medicating, no matter the drug of choice. It’s also why I believe God and faith in Him are afterthought, if thought of at all.
And I know, because when I turned 15 and left the Catholic church for “churches” that I thought were The Way, I also left the practice of reciting the Lord’s Prayer regularly, being told and believing, it was a religious practice
to simply recite prayers out of habit. For a time my prayers were ramped up with more expression, a bit more volume, being told my expression and explosion matched the amount of my faith. It’s funny how looking back, and having been there at the time, that is living in my own head and heart
, it never really felt right to boss God around, commanding Him this and that in Geeeeee-zus’ name. But over time, that became rote, as well. But in those circles, it’s not rote, but rather celebrated as super-faith.
Today, I’m more than thankful I was raised in the Catholic church during my formative years because the experience laid a firm foundation for my faith and how to recognize “trends” in “christianity.”
For years, instead, I just had conversations with The Lord, talking to Him throughout the day, upon waking, every night. Always giving thanks at meals, lacing thankfulness into the day, but still, if I stopped to pray about someone or something in particular, I was still asking for something, something I wanted, an outcome which would benefit me and mine, or you and yours.
And He does want us to, there’s nothing wrong with asking. It’s not that we aren’t supposed to ask.
The problem is, some seasons in my life have been solely based on asking rather than always based on thankfulness, no matter what.
Since having Noah and losing him, I’ve still had seasons where my attitude isn’t gratitude on a daily basis. Discontent, longing for purpose, wishing I knew what I was here for, wanting less stuff, wishing I could encourage others officially through “ministry”, believing it to be a job description at times rather than a way of life, wanting less, wanting more, wanting different.
Five years ago I introduced Emily to The Lord’s Prayer, dissecting it, showing her how it begins with perspective, God first, then us and our needs. She memorized it on the way to school in the car over time and is now helping me teach it to Ryan. The whole chapter of Matthew 6 is one of my favorites, permanently marked with a ribbon, because it’s practical insight from the Creator of the Universe for our day to day existence…yet, at least in my 27 years in Evangelical Christianity, I’ve never once been told to pray that prayer daily, because it may become rote or religious.
|In addition to saying and typing it, I also love the motion of pen on paper in writing it…
So on this morning, I’ve decided to do what’s not the trend, to pray the way I knew as a child to be uncomplicated and focused on The One who knew the answers, whether I ever did or not. Today. Not only am I going to start out with The Lord’s Prayer, not a quote un-quote Catholic prayer (and thank God they have kept it alive!!!), but one Jesus taught anyone who would listen in order to have a life of perspective. I’m going to pray it with both gratefulness AND religiosity, religion
, simply being a word to describe a conscientious activity with great meaning.
I’m thankful Jesus was forthcoming in these instructions of how to pray, not answering with another story or parable. It’s plain and clear.
*If you’d like to join with others practicing the art of thankfulness, we’ll be writing about Thankfulness on our blogs every Monday morning for an undetermined time frame and would love to read yours, as well. We aren’t setting up a “linky” thingy, but rather are simply exercising the art of writing, and writing specifically about being grateful.
Here’s a post from my friend, Elizabeth Jackson
And here’s one from my friend, Heidi Jo.