One of the high points of my week is the forty-five minutes I spend in prayer with LCS parents each Tuesday morning. A brief passage of scripture is read and we pray together. I provide a list of prayer requests that includes our students, our staff, school families that are grieving, those facing a health crisis, various school activities and events, financial needs of the school and our families, and requests for God’s provision and protection in a number of settings. But what really helps restore my perspective is the free flowing expression of praise and thanksgiving that flows from the hearts of those who participate. This week we read Psalm 103.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.”
The barrage of reasons to give thanks continues on to the conclusion of the Psalm. It is a wonderful message of wonder and thanksgiving that restores the reader’s perspective.
We have so much to be thankful for! And yet it is so easy to focus, even in our prayer times, on what we don’t have- better health, a more fulfilling relationship, more financial stability, more compliant children, a less stressful life - and on and on it goes. We are, by nature, self-focused and a spirit of discontent often rules our hearts.
The growing body of research on spiritual formation in the Christian school identifies gratitude as the attribute that most often accompanies spiritual maturity. Students and staff that exude gratitude are healthier, happier, and more effective in their walk with Christ and with others. They are also more fun to be around!!
In contrast, the apostle Paul, writing in 2 Timothy 3:2 lists “ungrateful” and “unappeasable” among the negative traits of those who turn away from God. Basically, for those unfortunate ones described in this passage, nothing is ever good enough. They live in a constant state of discontent. What a sad way to live!
A former colleague of mine used to call us to an “attitude of gratitude.” Attitude is always a matter of choice. Psalm 103 and the wonderful modeling of these truths by the parents with whom I am privileged to pray each week, call us to choose gratitude. Look up and give thanks to God for all His benefits. Look around and give thanks to God and to those around you for the many benefits we enjoy that come our way from others!
And if you’d like to get in on the action, be reminded that the parent prayer time is open to all. We meet each Tuesday morning, 8:00-8:45 in the elementary office conference room. In the words of the old hymn, “Come ye thankful people, come!”
Dr. Mike Sligh, Headmaster, has served at LCS for more than 40 years. To contact Dr. Sligh, email him at email@example.com.
Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net