Friday, June 24, 2011

A Spiritual Practice of Gratitude

In the Good Shepherd Atrium, with our three to six year olds, the most common prayers we hear are prayers of thanksgiving. Young children are quick to thank God for a special friend or a treasured pet, for sunshine or a birthday party. In a recent sermon at Christ Church (which you can read here), Rev. Peter invited all of us into the spiritual practice of being grateful. This summer we are encouraged to list things we are thankful for each night before we go to bed. Rev. Peter was inspired by a post on Episcopal Cafe by the Rev. Donald Schell who recently began a practice of gratitude. Rev. Schell cited a study which showed that people who kept a journal about things they were grateful for were, as Rev. Schell put it, "noticeably happier, more productive, and were sleeping better at night."

I came across several things on a beautiful blog called A Holy Experience written by Ann Voscamp that might be useful to us as we take on a practice of gratitude. In addition to keeping this wonderful blog and writing for several other online and print publications, Ann is the author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. She is a farmer's wife and a homeschooling mother of six!

Ann wrote a lovely post on the topic of raising grateful children, which includes some nice ideas to try yourself and with your family. There is also a page that Ann has designed that you can print and fold into a gorgeous little booklet to keep track of the things you are grateful for each night.

I hope that you and your family will participate in the spiritual practice of being grateful this summer!


  1. Thank you for this article, Leslie. I've passed this on to the ecumenical mom's group I attend at Garfield Memorial UMC in Pepper Pike!

  2. So important in our world that often revolves around consuming and moving onto the next thing! Thanks for the tip about Ann's blog, too.


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