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Lent Day 24: Gratitude

March 24, 2020 John and Sungshim Loppnow Lent

If you missed the previous posts in this Lent series, you might find it helpful to start with Lent Day 4: Getting Started with Practices.

This Week's Breath Prayer*

  • Pause, be present to God in this moment, and notice the effect that this prayer has on you. Pray this prayer twice as follows:
  • Breathe IN: "Peace"
  • Breathe OUT: "Be still" -or- "still"

*For more detail on this breath prayer, see Lent Day 23: Prayer.

Go Deeper with Gratitude (optional):

  • Set your intention to remember God’s goodness.

    Option 1: After engaging in breath prayer, pause and think of time(s) or event(s) in your life when you personally experienced Jesus calming a great storm; when you felt afraid, alone, and in despair because you didn’t have the power or resource to take care of the problem you were facing. Yet in spite of this, Jesus’ powerful presence and action in your life brought peace; and you were amazed by it. It is so easy for our brain to remember the painful and negative things that happened in our life. However, it is difficult for our brain to recall the pleasant and positive experiences. This is called the “brain’s negativity bias.” If we want to overcome this bias, we need to regularly and intentionally engage our mind and body in the act of remembering the good moments/experiences.

    Pause and ask Jesus to refresh your memory bank so that you can remember moments when He brought peace to you.

    Option 2: After engaging in breath prayer, pause and name a few things in your life or surroundings that do not change. Examples: things in nature - mountains, sky, clouds, trees, rocks, etc. Things around us change so fast these days and leave us feeling unsettled. By paying attention to the things that do not easily change, and appreciating their presence in our life, we are able to ground ourselves better.
  • Have a conversation with God about your gratitude for His goodness.

    Option 1: After you recall a time or event when you experienced Jesus calming the great storm, write in your journal and tell God how grateful you are for His powerful presence that brought peace to your life. After you express your gratitude, pause and be curious of how He might respond back to you. We call this practice ‘interactive gratitude’.

    Example:

    - “Dear God…”
    - “Dear child of mine…”

    Option 2: After you name a few things that do not easily change, pause and give thanks to God and take a moment to hear His response to your gratitude. One helpful way is to take a look at the list of things you wrote earlier and circle a few that you like: mountain, sky, cloud, trees, rocks, ocean, river, etc.

    Example:

    “Dear God, I am so glad that you created mountains. I like mountains so much. Whenever I look out my window, I see a big mountain. It’s always there. It does not move, but stays in the same place. How can the mountain remain so sturdy? It never demands my attention or appreciation, but it always gives me a sense of sturdiness and steadiness. Thank you for letting me get a glimpse of who you are through this mountain. If it can be that sturdy, how much more would you be like that?”

    “Dear child of mine, I am so glad to hear that you enjoy the mountains. I see you smile as you tell me about the mountains. I hear you say in your heart, “I get so much benefit from having this mountain near me. What did I do to deserve this beauty so near me? What do I do to let the mountain know that I am so thankful for it?” I understand how much the mountain means to you. It reminds you of my unchanging presence and love. Oh how much your heart brings me joy, my child! I am glad that you and I can talk about the mountain. The fact that you appreciate and enjoy my creation means so much to me. I am your sturdy mountain, my child! You can count on me!”
  • Take in the sweetness of the connection with God. Take a few seconds more to linger in the connection you experienced with God through interactive gratitude. Notice how your conversation with God (interactive gratitude) affects your SIFT (sensation, images, feelings and thoughts) and note this in your journal.
  • Share your interactive gratitude journal entry. Reading your journal entry out loud to someone you trust is a powerful way to strengthen your neural pathway of gratitude. You can also share your entry with your family or close friends as a way of creating a community where gratitude is practiced and lived out.

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Tags: lent, gratitude, practices

1 Comments

Flor Dubowski on March 24, 2020 9:54am

I'm so grateful for these messages! I thank Jesus for allowing me to receive them and I thank him for you who prepare them and share them.

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