On numerous occasions, being Opa and Oma gave us the honour to tuck our little granddaughter in for the night. She always wanted to be first to say her prayers and then it was our turn. “Thank you God, that you made such a beautiful world! Thank you that the leaves can soon come. Thank you that the grass is going to turn green. Thank you that when the leaves fall again, it’s going to be my birthday. Thank you that I could go to school today. Thank you that Daddy got to call. Thank you that we could have a long talk. Thank you that Opa took me to the bus today. Thank you that he picked me up after school. Thank you that Oma gives the best hugs. Thank you that we can love each other soooo much. Thank you for my cousins. Thank you for my family. I really, really want to be a kind and good princess. Amen”
Thank you, thank you, thank you and some evenings the list went on and on. And then she’d finish with, “Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord myself (yes, that’s how she says it!) to keep. Angels guard me through the night and wake me with the morning light. Amen.” “Now it’s your turn, she’d say joyfully to me.”
In the purity of this little four-year-old’s heart, I heard only words of thanks. I was deeply moved. Here was a lesson for me. Not once had I heard, “Jesus, I want a bike; other kids have one and I don’t. I want some new Barbies. I want a new jacket just like my friend’s. I need a new computer game; I want, I want and on and on with a shopping list to the Lord. I’m sure that as she grows, those kinds of self centered prayers will unfortunately come soon enough. Meanwhile, I am rejoicing that her little heart is full of thanksgiving.
So, I’ve been thinking that if I would count my blessings more, I wouldn’t have one moment’s time to remember the pains and problems of life. What I really need to do as I come to the Lord with thanksgiving and praise is to think on these things: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy! Filling my mind with all those positive thoughts would simply displace the negatives. Let’s get started!
“Father, thank you for making such a beautiful world and all the people in it! Thank you that you are in control; of everything. Thank you that your will is being done in all the earth. Thank you for salvation through Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary for the whole world; not just for me. Thank you for such perfect, everlasting love! Thank you for the powerful work of your Holy Spirit in our lives. Thank you for the gift of faith, family, and friends! Thank you for the Body of Christ where we can help each other to grow and mature in you. Thank you for your faithfulness in our lives. Thank you for your amazing grace and bountiful mercy. Thank you for every deep valley and every pain that draws us closer to you. Thank you for new joy every morning. You alone are worthy of praise for you are an awesome God and a wonderful Abba! Everything you have made declares your glory. May we, your people, praise your wonderful, matchless name forever! Thank you for every blessing and blessing in disguise. May we truly love each other enough so that the world will know that we are Christians.” And on and on we could go – for hours!
Whether we thank and praise audibly or in the silence of our spirit, “In everything give thanks. Pray without ceasing. Rejoice evermore! And don’t forget to count your blessings – one by one! Come to think of it, you’ll never get done!