As I looked longingly at “all the things,” I realized that my sense of being in the doldrums and missing out was in danger of becoming chronic grumpiness. Couldn’t I find joy in any of the places where I was currently dwelling? I lifted my prayers to the Lord and cried out for Him to somehow bring a change — and in that shifting, there came a sense of something true that I WAS missing: thanksgiving. Could I seek to cultivate a joyous sense of thankfulness in my prayers?
Then a memory came to me. Into the middle of another dreary day, my adult son had texted me a cute “Grand-boy” story. I was all ears, eager to hear something cheerful for that day. He and his toddler son were looking at a Star Wars coloring book together when suddenly, little Grand-boy saw Luke Skywalker wearing his long billowing cloak, and he pointed proudly and said “Look, It’s Grandma!” Oh, I laughed and laughed, and suddenly the sadness I had felt only moments before about this very thing–my need to wear baggy and loose-fitting clothes because of my sensitive fibro-skin—had now become a source of laughter. My Grandson’s memory of his skirted Grandma had filled my heart with joy.
What had made the difference? Could it be that a childlike memory had shifted my heart to a place of joyous thanksgiving?
In pondering this story again, my thoughts were reminded of the words from a devotional gathered many years ago:
“One thing is indisputable: the chronic mood of looking longingly at what we have not, or thankfully at what we have, realizes two very different types of character. And we certainly can encourage the one or the other.” –Lucy C. Smith
In this community, we have chosen to identify ourselves with the name “Chronic Joy.” Yet, we can still choose to take on a different “chronic mood” and stay fixed on those things that we have lost in this chronic illness pathway — and we have lost so much.
What if, instead, we could ask the Lord to reveal what he has given to us? Is this precisely the place that Jesus wants us to seek (to pray) to cultivate a joyous sense of thankfulness in our moments and in our days?
We might find laughter bubbling up from a long-forgotten childlike heart, a thankful gift of chronic joy.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:4 NIV)
We have gathered four Scriptures and four prayers, one for each week of the month, to give us a beautiful opportunity. Will you join me in seeking to cultivate that joyous sense of thanksgiving?
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:7 NLT)
Dear Lord Jesus,
We are so amazed that you have called us to sink our roots into the soil of your own dear love. Help us to pause in the middle of our pain-filled and fatigue-ridden days to hear your voice calling to us. We want our faith to grow stronger in you. We want to see you in those moments giving us your own sure foundation. Our hearts overflow with rejoicing and thankfulness to you, our dear Savior.
In Your name, we pray,
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. (Hebrews 12:28)
We are in awe that you have called us to be part of your Heavenly kingdom. Even when our days feel so shaky and pain-filled, we are thankful for your help that lifts up our hearts to remember that your kingdom can never be shaken. Worship and gratefulness overflow from our lips to you now.
In the name of your son, Jesus, we pray,
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
We come to you in prayer today, even as you have asked us. Help us to be devoted to that praying, to be watchful of where others are hurting, and watchful of where you are working to bring your blessings. We are so thankful for your great love and care for each one of your children — and we are filled with that same love ourselves.
In the name of Jesus, we pray,
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. (1 Timothy 2:1)
Dear Heavenly Father,
We come before you with our petitions and prayers and intercessions. Our hearts are heavy as we see so much pain in this world and in ourselves. We long to lift up every burden before you, but it is not always easy to find thanksgiving in the midst of the heartache. Help us to bring our praises to you, because of who you are. You are the only God eternal who calls us into your family! Thank you for the love and grace you have poured over us.
In the name of your son, Jesus, we pray,
"Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him." St. Augustine
Prayer is a precious invitation from God. Let’s Pray! Often, we over-think prayer, complicating it by seeking the right words, the right time or place, or the perfect formula, so afraid of getting it wrong that we fail to pray at all.
Chronic Joy Contributing Writer
You can find Bettie blogging from her home in a small town in southeast Wisconsin - at bettiegsraseasons.com. She is walking forward with Jesus, in the middle of her own pain and weaknesses from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature is a joy that calls to Bettie, as do her family and nine young grandchildren. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great joy in their weekend coffee breaks together.