10 Ways to Cultivate a Heart of Thanks

  Can you believe it?  Thanksgiving is less than a month away.   By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection…

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Deborah Haddix

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10 Ways to Cultivate a Heart of Thanks. Ideas


Can you believe it?  Thanksgiving is less than a month away.


By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

(Opening quote from the Thanksgiving Proclamation signed by George Washington, President of the United States of America, October 3, 1789)


This year (2017), Thanksgiving in the United States will be observed on November 23rd.  But for the one who believes in Christ, isn’t it true that thanksgiving should be an ongoing expression of gratitude not something relegated to a holiday that spans a mere twenty-four hours.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”13eVX” via=”yes” ]Our giving of thanks should be perpetual and as natural as breathing.[/ctt]


And if it is not, all is not hopeless. 


If we are not “feeling” thankful…, we CAN put things in place to help us grow in thanksgiving.  It is possible to cultivate thanksgiving within our hearts.


If our circumstances are hard making it difficult to “see” the good…, we CAN focus on God rather than our circumstance.  It is possible to grow in thanksgiving and to learn to express our gratitude even in the midst of our very hard situation.


16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.  18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  Romans 8:16-18


While Thanksgiving shouldn’t be something we express only once a year, the coming of the holiday does provide us a great time to begin to CULTIVATE our ongoing habit of thanksgiving.


In Need of Inspiration?

Use the list below to stir some ideas (especially if you’re not “feeling” thankful or if your current circumstances are hard to be thankful for):

  1. Keep a daily “Thankful” list throughout the month of November. Each day record a set number of things (1, 3, 5, etc.) for which you are thankful.
  2. Share your daily thankful list on social media.
  3. In #1 and #2 above, rather than writing out the things for which you are thankful, photograph them.
  4. Keep a Blessing Jar. Each day of the month, write out at least one thing you are thankful for and place it in the jar.  On Thanksgiving Day or on the first day of December, open the jar and read all the things you have written.  (Consider keeping a “family” Blessing Jar.)
  5. Today I Am Thankful For…. Print out this free printable, frame it, and grab a dry erase marker.  Place your framed print in an easy-access spot.  Each day write out something you are thankful for on the printable.
  6. Show thankfulness and honor to God by speaking His Word back to Himaloud. Choose any “praise” or “thanks” passages such as 1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 34:1, Jonah 2:9, John 1:16, or Colossians 2:7.
  7. Spend a little time each day during the month of November writing out Scriptures of thanksgiving. Use verses such as 1 Chronicles 29:12-13, Psalm 69:30, Psalm 100:4, Psalm 107:1, or Hebrews 12:28.
  8. Engage in a Thanksgiving focused Scripture Challenge.
  9. Cultivate Thanksgiving through journaling: Gratitude A-Z Journaling, Gratitude List Journaling, Gratitude Prompt Journaling, or Gratitude A Day Journaling.
  10. Build a Thanksgiving playlist. Let this be your November soundtrack.
It’s your turn.  Do you have a favorite way to cultivate thanksgiving?  I’d love to hear it.  Please share below in the comments.

10 Ways to Cultivate a Heart of Thanks. Ideas, tips, and inspiration for giving thanks.


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  • Hello Deborah, thank you for taking the time to share such thoughtful ideas to prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving. This year, we are going to give each of our grandchildren (6) an envelope with some cash. We will then explain to them how to use their money between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to express their love and gratitude for others: To do something for someone in need (physically, emotionally, or just because). Then at Christmas, write down how you spent your money in a Christmas card addressed to us (Pappy & Nana). This will be their gift to us, (and to Jesus). Suggestions: buy a gift for a Sunday school teacher, slipper socks for a nursing home resident, bake cookies for a neighbor, gloves for homeless person, etc. Deborah, I’ve been praying for your daughter. Love in Jesus, Charmé

  • […] make an intentional turn to gratitude and thankfulness. This week I saw Deborah’s post called 10 Ways to Cultivate a Heart of Thanks. I was able to think of a few ways to cultivate gratitude, but I clicked on her post because she […]

  • These are great ideas. We keep a grace jar in our kitchen. We use it to write down what we are grateful for and New Years Eve we read through them. Stopping by from Grace and Truth weekly link up!

  • Great Ideas, I love the blessings Jar, I am going to start one. And I love Theresa’s way of teaching her child how to see it as a blessing rather than a complaint. Gratitude is a better way to live. Visiting from Salt and Light Link Up! Pinned and will share of FB. Many Thanks! 8)

  • No! I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is so close, but I’m exercising my gratitude muscles even if I’m in denial regarding the calendar. My goal is to record 1,000 gifts each year in my journal, and my gratitude year runs from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving.

  • Great ideas. I know when one of my children was complaining a lot about having to stop playing and take a nap, I would turn his complaint into thanksgiving. He would say,” I hardly got to play. Now I have to stop playing,” and I would say, “look at all the time you got to play.” And then I would have him repeat it. Soon he would be getting ready to take a nap and he would be saying all by himself, “Look at all the time I got to play.” Every time we complain, there is always something to be thankful for. He is much older now, but when he starts complaining we still sometimes play the game of what can I be thankful for game. Only he is often finding the blessings himself now.

  • Roberta Vinyard

    Gratitude opens me up to God’s kingdom all around me! There is a great app I’ve been using for years called “thankful” by Eddy Street Productions, LLC. I daily record my thanks and on December 31st of every year I print it off and put it in a big binder. It will be a wonderful gift to my daughter one day! It is also a blessing to go back over my daily thanks in past years. It’s also an easy way to faithfully record my gratitude to God.

  • I agree, Debra. “Gratitude is a better way to live.” Thank you for stopping by today and for sharing!

  • I know!!! Just can’t seem to keep up with that calendar!! Thank you for sharing, Michele. I love the idea of recording from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving!!

  • Love the game idea for cultivating thanksgiving in the hearts of our children. Thank you for sharing, Theresa!

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About the Author

Deborah Haddix

I am a child of God, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, niece, and friend who loves nothing better than spending time with those I love.

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