Practical Ways to Cultivate Gratefulness

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,
and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night.
Upon an instrument of ten strings,
and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.
For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work:
I will triumph in the works of thy hands.”
Psalm 92:1-4

To conclude our series on cultivating thankfulness both personally, and as a family, we’ve gathered some practical ideas on ways to be intentional about expressing gratitude. Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list, we would love to hear your ideas, feel free to share them with us in the comment section!

1. Pray 
Ask God to give you a thankful heart.

2. Fill Your mind with Scripture 
Scripture declares itself to be key in being a part in fighting sin, for Psalm 119:11 tell us “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” One way to fill your mind with Scripture is to simply read it: perhaps start in the Psalms and look for things for which to be thankful. Or memorize verses that specifically address the attitudes of heart, such as Philippians 4:8, Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

3. Music
Hebrews 13:15 gives the encouragement to “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Music is one specific way to turn your heart towards Him. Fill your heart and home with songs that remind you of God’s goodness and His blessings, such as Count Your Many Blessings  and My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness. 

4. Accountability 
Commit to sharing with your spouse or a friend one thing that you are thankful for each day. Ask them to check in with you when you start to slack off. Ask them to pray for you in this specific area and to lovingly point out when they start to see an ungrateful heart popping up again in your conversations/actions.

5. Gratitude Sheet on the Fridge
As a way to involve the whole family, put a “gratitude page” on your fridge. With it being in a public place, the entire family can jot down things they are thankful for as they think of it. This is a fun, easy way to cultivate thankfulness as a family!

6. Confess ungratefulness as sin/Ask for forgiveness
Many of the ideas here are ideas on how to correct a lack of thankfulness. However, it is important to remember that ungratefulness is something that should be confessed to the Lord and repented of.

7. Keep a Gratitude Journal or Gratitude Jar
This could be either personal or for the entire family. Have a jar with some slips of paper next to it or an open notebook in the entry-way of your house with a sign next to it that says “Today I am thankful for…”

8. Think on Christ 
 If thoughts of ungratefulness are invading your heart and mind, renew your mind by thinking on Christ. This can start with simply expressing gratefulness to Him for the salvation He has so richly provided.

9. List 5 things from yesterday
Sometimes it doesn’t seem like much happened the previous day, but sometimes the simple exercise of stopping to think about it for just a few minutes reveals many little blessings that are often overlooked.

10. Verbalize thankfulness during everyday situations
For example, Dad may have been sick but is now getting better. Or maybe a toy was lost but now has been found. Use such situations to include children in expressing gratitude to the Lord by simply declaring “God has answered our prayer for Dad to get better! Thank you Jesus!” or “Look! We found that toy you were looking for! Thank you Jesus for helping us find the toy!”

11. Use sticky notes around the house with verses/quotes about thankfulness. 

12. Thankful Tree 
Cut out a brown paper tree. Cut out colorful leaves and write down things you are thankful for on the leaves before taping them onto the tree.

13 Read a book on thankfulness 
Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss is good book on gratefulness!

We hope this Thanksgiving series has been as encouraging to you as it has been to us as we’ve worked on writing it!