I can’t think of a more encouraging character trait to be around than gratitude. It’s why we train our kids from an early age to say “Thank you” when somebody does something nice for them. It’s deflating to be around people who respond to kindness without saying thanks.
So you start by saying to your kid, “Say thank you!” Eventually, you hope that you have trained the kid well enough to where all you have to say is, “What do you say?” and they respond with, “Thank you.”
The goal is that, eventually, when the kid’s birthday party rolls around, and he’s opening presents, you don’t even have to say, “What do you say?” The kid already knows what to say and hopefully he has learned some gratitude along the way too.
As Christians, we are trained for gratitude as well.
For example, the Lord’s Supper trains us to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and respond with gratitude. Likewise, one of the pillars of healthy prayers is giving thanks to God. As believers in Jesus, we recognize that salvation itself is a gift, not a wage, and so it is only appropriate that gratitude follows. Not unlike kids at their birthday party, sometimes we can forget to say thank you and we need prompted.
“The Lord’s Supper trains us to remember Jesus’ sacrifice and respond with gratitude.”
What’s really cool is when a kid gets a birthday gift, and the gift is so fantastic and unexpected that they don’t have to be prompted to say, “Thank you.” In fact, the “Thank you” they say is so obviously heartfelt that it makes other “Thank you’s” seem robotic by comparison. Sometimes a gift is so great that any prompt is completely unnecessary.
God’s grace is that kind of gift. It’s amazing. Yet, even still, we can go through seasons of feeling apathetic toward grace, needing to be prompted to feel grateful, and sometimes even then not really feeling the “Thank you.”
This numbness in place of gratitude is why it’s so important that we pray these short prayers to fuel big love. It’s going to be impossible to love big if we feel apathetic toward God’s grace. Showing extraordinary love toward others starts with really receiving God’s grace. But we’re probably going to feel apathetic toward grace more often than not if we don’t really see sin as sinful or if we don’t really see God as God.
“It’s going to be impossible to love big if we feel apathetic toward God’s grace.”
That’s why we pray these short prayers to fuel big love. They build on each other, and we’ll add a fourth and final one in Part 4. Here are the three so far:
The more I see God as He really is, the more I’m going to be able to see sin for what it really is. Experiencing the greatness of God will help me see the sinfulness of sin. And if I’m able to see my sin for what it really is, then God’s grace will hit me like the amazing birthday gift I never saw coming. When I see God’s grace, I won’t need prompts to say, “Thank you.” I won’t need shaken out of my numb apathy. Gratitude will be natural and sincere.
“If I’m able to see my sin for what it really is, then God’s grace will hit me like the amazing birthday gift I never saw coming.”
And if birthday gifts are any indicator, my gratitude will bring great joy to the Giver.
So please pray with me the third prayer to fuel big love:
Lord, open my eyes that I might see grace as amazing.