My prayer is that my first thoughts of the day be about gratitude, and thus of God. I want to wake up and think gratitude, but it usually ends up being my second thought, because out of habit, I immediately start planning my day. You know how it is; it probably happens to you. You immediately start figuring out what will be for supper, when you’ll get your car in for an oil change, or worse still, you remember the ‘stupid’ comment you made to someone the day before. So instead of starting the day thinking about God, I start thinking about me. Through prayer, however, I’m doing what I can to change that.
I read somewhere that gratitude activates dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters in brain particularly identified with positive affect. Nothing like encouragement from the scientific community to start the day. But more to the point, gratitude is the bedrock of faith. The Psalmists continually thank God. Paul starts his letters with expressions of gratitude. Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. How can we do that without gratitude? We can’t.