A song we sang frequently in Sunday School when I was a child had the following refrain:
Count your blessing, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath doneCount Your Blessings by Johnson Oatman
Most mornings when I pray, I start with the Lord’s Prayer and then thank God for giving me this day. I am acutely aware that every day is a blessing and that I should make the most of it.
(Just an aside: I am not always a dynamo. Some days I get a lot accomplished, spend quality time with family and friends, walk five miles praying and appreciating God’s creation. Some days I sit on the porch swing, eat ice cream, and play solitaire on my phone. I should make the most of every day, but I don’t.)
Anyway, even if I’m lazy I still know that not only is each day a blessing, but I am abundantly blessed in many ways. And, I try to remember this when I pray. I usually say something to the effect of “Father, thank you for all the blessings you have given me.”
The other morning, I had several people on my mind who had positively affected my week by sweet words or gestures and I specifically told God how grateful I am for each of them. After I said “amen” a few more folks came to mind, so I reopened that chat and thanked God for them. That led to other people; good things I have in my life; gifts God has given me; times He stepped in and steered me away from a bad mistake; times He allowed me to make mistakes and learn hard lessons; the comfort He has given me . . . I gotta tell you – God has done a lot!
And, it’s one thing to say “thank you for all the blessings you have given me,” but when I started naming each blessing one by one I was humbled. There’s so much I take for granted. Still. Even after losing a child and knowing how brief and fragile life can be. Even after knowing that if my faith falters and I start to sink into the waves, all I have to do is cry out to Christ and He will reach out His hand and lift me up.
Even after feeling God pull me through the worst thing that can happen to a parent, I still sometimes – no, often – take for granted all the blessings He has given me.
My prayers are not very sophisticated. I used to think I had to talk to God in formal language, saying Thee and Thou Art. Especially if I was asked to lead the prayer in Bible study class or say grace at Christmas dinner. I felt awkward and, to be honest, I didn’t pray a lot. But, God doesn’t care about formality or proper grammar. He understands every language and accent. He just wants us to talk to Him. Like you’re talking to a friend. Tell Him what you’re worried about, what you need help with, what you’re thankful for.
There’s a line in a song I love that says, “I ain’t too good at prayin’ but thanks for everything.” 1
That’s a start.
1 Where I Find God by Larry Fleet
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