In the world we live in today it is so easy to focus on what we don't have instead of what we do. Our society puts so much emphasis on having the right clothes, the newest electronics, and the coolest gadgets. At times it can seem like we are at the bottom of the totem pole. In reality, we truly have so much to be grateful for.
I love this quote from Elder Bednar's talk in the October 2008 General Conference.
"As we strive to make our prayers more meaningful, we should remember that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21). Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts."
When I am good about frequently offering prayers of only heartfelt gratitude I am happier and feel more joy.
Says President Monson:
"Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings. This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.
We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
When I went to Time Out for Women a couple of years ago, one of the speakers had us do an activity that I found quite profound. First, she had us write down five things that we were grateful for. Then, she put a twist on it-- she had us write down who we could thank for those blessings. Doing this helped me cultivate an attitude of gratitude toward those around me. If you've never done an activity like that before, I challenge you to do so. Writing down my blessings and whom to thank for them helps me realize how much we truly do have.
We are so blessed to have a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to know that we are sons and daughters of God and that He has a plan for us. I hope that we will all take more time each day to remember our many blessings. I know when we do, we will truly feel more joy.