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Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. —William Arthur Ward, writer

It’s day 12 of our prayer journey. You still with me? If you’ve fallen off, no biggie—get up and get back with the program!

Today, we’re thanking God for the social blessings we enjoy, relationships in our lives. This morning, thank God for your family. Think especially of the adults who shaped you as a child. While this seems like it might be the easiest, most obvious, no-brainer prayer of the journey, for many it’s a tricky prayer to pray. That’s because all of us come from families that have been impacted by the power of sin and death.  No one had a perfect mom. No one had a perfect dad. (Well . . . Jesus . . . ) For example, I came from a really strong healthy family, but of course we’re not perfect! We struggle. We sin. We fail. And in the midst of our brokenness, God is still God. And God is at work in each of our lives.

I want to invite you to offer a twofold prayer of gratitude for your family today. First, thank God for the gifts you received from your family. Maybe your dad sang you lullabies at night. Maybe your grandma taught you how to pray. Maybe you had an older sibling who protected you. Maybe your mom made sure you had a healthy lunch every day. Thank God for the goodness you received from your family.

Second, thank God for the challenges you faced in your family. I know it’s counterintuitive! But do take a moment to notice the challenges you faced in your home growing up, and then thank God for being present with you in every moment. If you notice strong feelings of sadness, fear, or anger, offer those to God and jot them down in your prayer journal so that you can continue to process them. (If they feel overwhelming, get help from a pastor or counselor.)

Beloved, God has been at work in your life since your birth through your family. Thank Him for the good and release to him what has been difficult.

Afternoon prayer is a fun one today! This afternoon you get to thank God for the good gift of relationships He has given you with those outside of your family.

  • Thank God for that BFF you had when you were ten years old.
  • Thank God for the buddy who helped you get through high school.
  • If you attended college, thank God for your freshman roommate!
  • Thank God for the ride-or-die girlfriend you know you can count on when life gets rough.
  • Thank God for the staff person at work who makes your days brighter.
  • Thank God for the barista at the Starbucks drive-thru who’s got your back every morning.

Really have fun with this prayer this afternoon. Let the Spirit remind you of that girl you shared a bunk bed with at summer camp twenty years ago or the sister-in-law you went camping with last weekend. Thank God for the friends, peers, and colleagues in your life.

How are you coming on your gratitude list? Did you forget about it? Grab your journal and find a piece of paper, quick! Start a new note on your phone, or if all else fails, write one or two things you are grateful for on the palm of your hand. Mondays are about thanking God for what He’s done and who He is. Your assignment is to walk through your day looking for what’s good, right, and better than it otherwise could have been. Choose joy. Pause right now to thank God for something, anything, because when you do, your choice will change you.

Tonight, I’m inviting you to pray for the people in your life who have shaped who you are today. For this prayer, I welcome you to mentally journey through your life and notice the folks who impacted your life for good.

  • If your birth was precarious, thank God for the doctor in that delivery room.
  • If you attended vacation Bible school, thank God for the adults who poured into your spirit.
  • If you thrived as a Girl Scout, thank God for your troop leader.
  • If you had a grandparent or another adult who was a rock for you during a difficult childhood, thank God for that person.
  • If you attended youth group, thank God for those who cared for you.
  • If there is one particular person who led you to Christ, thank God for that person.
  • If there was a teacher or coach who affirmed your potential, thank God for that person. 
  • If there was a mentor who invested time, energy, and love into your life, thank God for that person.
  • If there was a boss or colleague who helped you get to the next level, thank God for him or her.

Prayerfully walk through each year of your life, asking God to show you the people who shaped the person you are today. Thank God for each one.