by Jon Strickler
Prayer creates a reservoir in us which overflows, enriching the lives of others. The month of November will concentrate on prayer to God through Praise and Thanksgiving.
The first step in prayer is to express gratitude; recognizing God’s gifts with thanksgiving. When I do something for another and that person shows appreciation, I am inclined to do more. On the other hand when the receiver of my gift does not acknowledge it, but rather asks for more, I am less inclined to give again. Certainly God would be most inclined to pour his blessings upon us when we glorify his generosity in thanksgiving, even magnify it through stewardship.
In nature, rain flows to streams then rivers, then lakes and reservoirs. The collected water sustains us in times of drought. So are the blessings we receive from God. 1 Peter 4:10 states: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
When we acknowledge God’s gifts in our lives with praise and thanksgiving, He can begin to guide us in how to use them for their intended purpose; to serve Him and our fellow man. Through this intended employment of our gifts we discover our mission and find true fullfilment.
In the coming weeks we will explore practical applications of thanksgiving and praise. We will study the lives of saints like Kateri Tekakwitha, and, perhaps, discover opportunities for acts of service in our own lives.
I encourage you to read Articles 2637 through 2643 of The Catechism Of the Catholic Church, for a deeper discussion into Prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise.