Prayer Exercise for Thankfulness

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His mercy, love, and kindness endure forever. Psalm 118:1

This exercise is designed to foster an attitude of thankfulness. It is a great remedy for depression, anxiety, and doubt. It begins and ends with Saint Francis’ Canticle of the Sun and uses it as a model for giving thanks to God for all things in our lives. Remember Saint Paul’s admonition, Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

As you pray through the exercise, read each statement of thanksgiving. Some may not apply to you. Feel free to skip them. Some will cause you to think of other things to be thankful for that are not listed. Pause and give thanks for them. Be as specific as possible concerning what you are thankful for and why. You may find it helpful to jot down notes as you go along.

You will probably want to allow 15 – 20 minutes for this exercise. Choose a time and place where you will not be disturbed for a while. Go through the exercise prayerfully and deliberately. You may want to repeat it weekly. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety or doubt of faith, you may want to repeat it more often. Eventually, this exercise will help you go through life as a more thankful person who is quick to see God’s blessings in daily relationships and circumstances. And, thankfulness is the gateway to joy.

We will begin this prayer exercise with some deep breathing.

Take a deep breath, as deeply as possible. Hold it for a second, and then let it out. As you exhale, constrict your diaphragm push the last remaining air out of your lungs.

Again, take a deep breath, as deeply as possible. Hold it for a second, and then let it out.

As you continue to breathe deeply, imagine breathing in the grace and peace of God. As you exhale, release anxiety and stress from your mind and your body.

Continue to breathe deeply and focus on relaxing your body and stilling your mind. Be aware of your neck and shoulders, your back, your arms and hands, even your legs and feet. Tell them to relax. Release all muscle tension in your body.

Thank you, Father, for Brother Sun who brings the day. Through his brightness you give light. Through his radiance you give warmth.

Thank you, Father, for Sister Moon. Through her beauty and the light of the stars you give beauty to the night.

Thank you, Father, for Brother Wind. Through him you bring every kind of weather to give sustenance to all creatures.

Thank you, Father, for Sister Water. She is very useful, humble, precious, and chaste.

Thank you, Father for Mother Earth. Through her you give us fruits, flowers, and herbs.

Thank you, Father, for my earthly family.

For my father who         ___________________________

      Provided for me by             _____________________

      Taught me to            __________________________

      Protected me from harm by            _______________

For my mother who       ___________________________

      Cared for me when             _____________________

      Taught me to            __________________________

      Comforted me when           _____________________

For my sister, _______________, who    _____________

      Was my friend when         ______________________

      Was my confident when         ___________________

      Was my partner in      _________________________

For my brother, _____________, who _______________

      Was my friend when         ______________________

      Was my confident when         ___________________

      Was my partner in      _________________________

For my spouse, ___________, who _________________

      Is my partner by _____________________________

      Brings me joy by _____________________________

      Encourages me by ___________________________

For my children, _________, who ___________________

      Give meaning and purpose to my life.

      Give me joy when they ________________________

According to your circumstances you can list by name other friends and relations. Be sure to thank God for something specific way they contributed positively to your life. (Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Close Friends, In-laws, Grandchildren)

Thank you, Father, for my employment, through which you bring provision to me and my family.

Thank you, Father, for my home, within which you shelter us from weather and give us a place to worship you.

Thank you, Father, for transportation that moves me to work and to worship.

Thank you, Father for recreation that my body and soul.

      Hobbies ____________________________________

      Sports _____________________________________

      Exercise ___________________________________

      Creative activities ____________________________

Thank you, Father, for health and strength through which I serve you in this life.

Thank you, Father, for my bodily senses through which I can see beauty, smell pleasing aromas, hear glorious music, taste wonderful delights, speak words of prayer and encouragement, and feel a gentle touch of love.

Thank you, Father, for my education, because of which I can explore worlds in books, find gainful employment, and use knowledge for the benefit of myself, my family, and my fellow man.

Thank you, Father for hardships and challenges, especially _______________________ through which you call me to greater faith and teach me perseverance, courage, and patience. Hardships come to all, and you deliver your faithful from every distress.

Thank you, Father for my deliverance fromm. While I may be in a night of weeping, I trust in your promise that joy will come in the morning.

Thank you, Father, for the passion, death, and resurrection of you Son, through whom you reconciled the world to yourself.

Thank you, Father, for you Holy Catholic Church, through whom you have imparted the knowledge of your Kingdom throughout the earth.

Thank you, Father, for your Holy Sacraments, through whom you give your grace to all who seek you.

Thank you, Father, for your promise of heaven where we will be perfectly united to you and reunited with our loved ones who have preceded us in eternal life.

Thank you, Father, for our perfect end. Blessed are those whose bodily death finds them in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm.