Covid-19 has got everybody down in the dumps.
We have lost so much in this Covid-19 pandemic: Freedom to shop, hang out with friends, go to a movie or ballgame, or even visit our favorite restaurant. Others of us have lost jobs or income. We’ve all lost a sense of normalcy and security about the future.
And on top of it all, we can’t congregate at church — the very place we usually go for solace and hope.
What’s a congregational leader to do? Start a Prayerful Gratitude Campaign.
Teach people to focus on the blessings they still have rather than the things they have lost. It won’t change their circumstances, but it may help them to reframe how they think about and experience this pandemic.
Gratitude, so often cited as a key to stewardship and generosity, can also the unlock strength, courage, tenacity, creativity, longsuffering and endurance people need to make it through this pandemic.
As you start the effort, be sure to emphasize it is a “Prayerful” campaign. Prayer is intimate communication with the Almighty. We are not just being thankful, we are actively thanking the creator of the universe for what we have.
Here’s how a “Prayerful Gratitude Campaign” might work. (I’ve written this for congregational leaders, but you can do this on your own.):
1.) Tell everybody you are starting a Prayerful Gratitude Campaign. Publicize it on your website, in your mailings and congregational mailings (and emails).
2.) During the campaign, begin every virtual worship, Bible study , committee meeting or small-group gathering by talking about the power of gratitude and sharing something that you yourself are grateful for. It could be your health, your family, the stimulus check you got from the government, or a good night’s sleep.
3.) Invite others to share what they are thankful for. When all have responded who desire to do so, lead everyone in a prayer of thanks. By doing this, you are modeling “Prayerful Gratitude.”
4.) Suggest that folks start a “gratitude list” of things for which they can thank God. They can keep it on a computer file, an index card or a slip of paper. The important thing is that they write it down in the form of a list. They can begin with some obvious things, such as another day of life, food to eat, relationships, health. They should add to the list as much as possible.
Here comes the important part:
5.) Instruct everyone to pray over the list every morning and every night by going through it slowly, saying the words, “I thank you, God, for _____________,” and meditating on that blessing. If new blessings come to mind, they can add them to the list. (If they don’t pray the list, it’s doubtful anything will happen.)
6.) When gathered virtually again, ask folks to share what a difference the Prayerful Gratitude Campaign has made in their lives.
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© Copyright 2020, the Rev. Rob Blezard. Reprinted by permission.
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