Right in the middle of my prayer, I finally heard myself. I realized that most of my sentences to God started with, “Please help me…” As in, please help me do this, God. Please help me be better at that.
It wasn’t just my prayer that day, but every day, for weeks. I was so much more focused on my own performance, on all the ways I felt like I was falling short. And it was making me crumble.
Scarcity is woven into our culture of hustle, stress, and independence. Yet, when we’re so consumed by what we lack, we miss out on the enormity of who God is, and the abundance He provides for us.
There is a particularly interesting tension in this season of holidays and family gatherings and turkey dinners. There are endless side dishes and desserts to cook, parties to attend, gifts to buy, and magic to make, and we are desperate for help to fulfill all the tasks. Then we remember–oh! This is the season to give thanks! So we quickly scribble out a gratitude list, then keep our busy hands moving.
2 Important Truths about Gratitude
Before you make gratitude another chore on your to-do list, here are two important things to know:
First, it is powerful to be thankful. It transforms our perspectives, improves our mental health, and even has measurable benefits for our physical health, too. It carries us in times of heartbreak and struggle. God incorporated giving thanks into early directions for worship and sacrifice, and New Testament writers make gratitude a central point in how we live out our faith, along with rejoicing. (In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us simply to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”)
Second, gratitude is most effective when it’s an ongoing practice–a system of immunity built over time rather than quick fixes applied to ward off toxic thinking. Even a few minutes daily of intentional gratitude builds up long-term wisdom and resilience. Our gratitude helps us attune our minds to God’s perspective.
With that in mind, here are 30 prompts that will help you lean in to gratitude. Take a little time to contemplate one of these thoughts or questions every day, and see how it affects your mindset and mood at the end of the month.
30 Daily Gratitude Prompts
What brought you joy today?
Who is someone that has made a difference in your life for the better?
How have you grown this past year?
What’s one way God has shown up for you in a difficult season?
Name a place that has significance for you and a favorite memory from that place.
What are everyday things that make your life easier or more efficient?
Describe the last time you celebrated something.
Choose a characteristic of God and praise Him for it today.
When was the last time you laughed and why?
What do you consider to be your gifts or talents?
What beautiful thing did you notice today?
Describe one of your favorite meals.
Who encouraged you this week?
What is something that you are looking forward to?
Choose a favorite Bible verse and write it out.
What’s one of God’s creations that makes you want to stop and worship Him?
Who is a source of wisdom in your life?
What is something that God has helped you overcome?
What do you enjoy doing when you get time to yourself?
Name a season that was difficult at the time that also brought good or growth.
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. Which of these words God uses to describe you stands out to you the most?
What’s one of your favorite things about this time of year?
What is a physical attribute that keeps you alive and thriving?
Which skill have you learned that was worth every bit of effort?
What makes you feel close and connected in relationships and who is a good example of that in your life?
Describe a time when the Holy Spirit spoke in your life and you obeyed.
Which circumstance in your life proved that you are more capable than you thought you were?
What is something we have today you wouldn’t have had twenty years ago? How does it help you?
What are some of your favorite things?
What is a habit you have cultivated that has shown growth in your life?