Much prayer is in response to something God has done first. This is especially true in our prayers of thanks. While there may be much we are aware of and grateful for, a quiet pause before we begin can help us avoid long repetitive lists of thanks.
Take a moment to look over today or the day before and try to remember moments where something good took place.
Though I may have missed them at the time, where can I now see qualities like (from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) patience, kindness, honesty, joy, protection, trust, hope, perseverance? Were these ways in which God was showing love to me?
Similarly, we can look at the bigger picture of our whole life, noticing things we may have taken for granted: life-changing opportunities, people who have nurtured us, something that helped us overcome a difficulty or struggle. What has been good for me in my life and how do I now wish to show that I am grateful?
After offering our thanks to God, we may also feel moved to thank others when we see them next. This helps us join our prayers with our living, completing the cycle and begins to tune us in to the moments of God’s goodness throughout the day.