GRATITUDE CAN BE CHALLENGING
Gratitude can be a challenging concept when chronic illness is our constant companion. Being with family and friends is a gift, but it is also a drain on already low-energy reserves. Inevitably, I will be more unwell or in a flare during or immediately after gatherings and celebrations, causing me to sit on the sidelines of these events. Yet while I may not participate in traditional, expected, or even hoped-for ways, I am offered a different gift: the Holy Spirit’s prompting to pray for those I love and for those who are harder for me to love. I can show gratitude through prayer as I remember each person.
GRATITUDE THROUGH PRAYER AND CHRONIC ILLNESS
As I prayed through and about Philemon 1:4 (I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.), I thought about Paul (who wrote this verse) and about his life and ministry as a person with a thorn — which many think was some form of chronic illness. Paul changed the world when his lens was altered by his physical limitations. God not only used Paul’s illness and grew his prayer life, but He did so much more in, with, and through Paul’s weakness, for in weakness, it is God’s strength that shines through.
The thing that struck me most powerfully is not that you and I are invited to pray, but that Jesus speaks the words of Philemon 1:4 over each of us. Stop for a moment. Slowly read this verse again, hearing Jesus speak these words over you:
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers.
GRATITUDE AND HOPE
Whatever excitement, sadness, joy, or challenge we face, Jesus is right there with us (Emmanuel – God with us), experiencing everything with us, giving thanks to the Father for us, and interceding on our behalf. That is hope and true encouragement. Jesus cares for every single detail of our lives. We can show Him our gratitude through prayer as we remember the hope we have in Him.
Let the word gratitude remind you that Jesus is grateful for you and is always interceding on your behalf.
Emmanuel, God with us, what an amazing gift You are! Teach us to be grateful for You and for those around us. We want to experience the gift of You in each moment. Help us to be fully present. Help us when we are not well enough to be part of gatherings and celebrations, and when we are, for there is a cost for both. Remind us to be thankful for the opportunity to pray for those around us, and to know that You are in prayer for us.
Be of special comfort to those in our community and families who are homebound, hospitalized, or too sick to be able to join in community and celebration with friends and family.
Together, we are:
- Praying for those in our community who are experiencing a flare, a loss, or are in the midst of grief.
- Thankful for all our Heavenly Father has done and is doing in and through the ministry of Chronic Joy.
- Praying for all those affected by chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, and disability, as well as their caregivers.
- Praying over the prayer requests received from our community at the Prayer Pond.
Prayer is the heartbeat of Chronic Joy. We are honored to pray with and for you.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
- What comes to mind when you consider that Jesus is always thanking God for you?
- Who are you grateful for? How might you express your gratitude, not only in prayer, but in tangible ways?
- What change(s) or emotions do you experience when you thank God as you remember others in your prayers?
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Chronic Joy®
Pamela, a leader and a visionary following God's call to inspire those affected by chronic illness, mental illness, and chronic pain, believes that every precious life impacted by illness is both vital and purposed.
Pamela is a wife of more than 35 years, the mom of three married children, and a grandma of six. She is diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos, chronic migraines, and many other chronic conditions. She enjoys baking sourdough bread, hot tea, being outdoors, and reading (almost always more than one book at a time).
You're invited to the Prayer Pond, your safe harbor. This is where you can share your prayer requests, updates, and shouts of praise. Whether a request, praise, lament, suffering, loss, hope, grief, or joy, each prayer ripples far beyond this day and the boundaries of our world. #PrayItForward by praying for others.
Gratitude through Prayer
Gratitude can be a challenging concept when chronic illness is our constant companion. Being with family and friends is a gift, but it is also a drain on already low energy reserves.