There’s no denying that money is important, but too much focus on it creates stress and anxiety as well as marital and family conflict. Measuring success in terms of material wealth puts the focus on what we lack rather than on what we already have. Fortunately, gratitude prayers are one of the most effective ways to combat this when we could use a reminder that our needs are often already met.
The writers of scripture knew this: gratitude Bible verses tell us again and again to give thanks. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, for example, commands us to give thanks in all circumstances. It may seem like a strange command to give thanks when times are hard, but those are precisely the times we need to exercise gratitude the most. And it’s not just the Bible that tells us this. As it turns out, science agrees.
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The science of gratitude
Research has shown that gratitude makes us happier, healthier and more successful. HappierHuman.com compiled the results of more than 40 studies on the effects of counting your blessings, and here are a few of the findings:
- Makes you more positive and optimistic
- Makes you less materialistic
- Makes you less prone to envy
- Improves sleep
- Reduces stress
- Makes you a better boss
- Improves your networking skills
- Increases energy and productivity
It doesn’t take much to cultivate thankfulness. Simple gratitude exercises such as counting your blessings or keeping a gratitude journal don’t take a lot of time and can reap amazing benefits. According to researchers at the University of California, Berkley, simply taking time once or twice a week to write down five things you’re grateful for can drastically improve your overall outlook.
Berkley researchers also point out that when cultivating gratitude it’s more helpful to focus on who you’re thankful to rather than on the things you’re thankful for. This is where prayer comes in. Gratitude prayers serve not only as an expression of thanksgiving but also as reminders that we have a heavenly Provider who has promised to care for us and meet our needs. Here are some of our favorite prayers that you can use to cultivate more gratitude in your life:
- Heavenly Father, 1 Timothy 6:8 tells us that if we have food and clothing, we have everything we need to be content. Thank you for providing everything we need for this day.
- Gracious Lord, You promise to supply all my need according to Your glorious riches by Christ Jesus. I lay my needs down before You today with the assurance that they will be met according to Your sovereign will. Thank You for Your provision for my life and for all of the blessings that You have so graciously bestowed upon me.
- Moravian Blessing: Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be, and bless these gifts bestowed by Thee. And bless our loved ones everywhere, and keep them in Your loving care.
- Psalm 100: Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
- A Thanksgiving Prayer: Oh, God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; when I have work, help me to remember the jobless; when I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless; when I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer; and remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion. Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted. —Samuel F. Pugh
Whenever you find yourself worrying about money, take a moment to give thanks for what you already have. Gratitude prayers will help turn financial stress into financial peace. If you want to take this practice a step further, try signing up for the popular Simple Living Challenge.