To say a prayer is not enough. One has to believe that it’s possible for that prayer to be heard.
- Rabbi Marvin Hier
Many years ago my son asked, “Mom, why do I have to say ‘I’m sorry’ when I’m not?”
I replied, “Because sometimes our words nudge our hearts in the right direction.”
I was reminded of this yesterday when I found myself rolling my eyes at yet another admonition to be thankful this week. You see, I love the Thanksgiving holiday, and I have many things for which I am profoundly and genuinely grateful, but I tend to dig in my heels at being told how to feel. This is especially true when it comes to saying thanks for things I ought to be thankful for but am not.
Yet there’s value in saying "thank you" to God for things that don’t resonate in my heart. There’s the value of admitting that I’m not as thankful as I like to believe. There’s the value of taking a first step toward changing my attitude. There’s the value of resolving–again–to be truly thankful every single day of my life. And finally, there’s the value of remembering that someday I will stand with the angels and elders who proclaim, “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:12)
There’s a lot to this thankfulness thing, and we’ve got to start somewhere. Saying thanks on whatever level we mean it is a start. And hopefully, our hearts will follow.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.