The Bible records that when David was king of Israel he wrote a psalm that said, "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord" (I Chronicles 16:8-10). We can give thanks to God on any day, in any hour!
Gratitude is one of the purest and most effective forms of prayer because it is a recognition of what God has already done for us. The very first chapter in the Bible states that God created all that was made, complete and wholly good (see Genesis, chap. 1). Nothing can be added to what God has done, nor can anything be taken away. This fact is a basis for all gratitude.
Once a crowd of thousands gathered to hear Jesus Christ speak. They were hungry, and there were only a few fish and a few loaves of bread. The Bible says in Matthew, "He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled" (15:35-37). There must have been many people there who were skeptical that such a scant amount of food could feed so many. Jesus' gratitude showed his recognition that abundant good from God always exists. His spiritual understanding of God also satisfied hearts hungering for more than mere bread.
Again, Jesus broke bread with his disciples at the last supper before he was crucified, encouraging them to follow in his footsteps. The bread he shared was symbolic of his life of service to God and to mankind. Before commanding that all drink from a cup of wine, he gave thanks. One can imagine that Jesus thanked God for the harvest of good he daily bore witness to, and for the workers God had provided so that he could teach them to heal the sick and sorrowing and spread God's word.
Gratitude is both a catalyst and vital ingredient in true healing. In the following healing that happened in my own family, gratitude played an important role.
Our son had been riding a bicycle, holding on to the handlebar while at the same time carrying a bottle in each hand. He fell to the ground, breaking the bottles, and many shards of glass penetrated his arms.
While I helped him into our car, I reminded him that he had never fallen away from God's care or from his spiritual nature as the child of God. From what he'd been taught growing up in our Christian Scientist household, he understood these facts. I drove him to where he could receive the services of a Christian Science nurse, who gently cleansed the wounds of the glass that had come to the surface and then bandaged the wounds. But it was evident that one piece of glass lay completely below the surface.
While driving our son to see the nurse the next day, I thanked God for always taking care of His children, including this boy. I recognized God as the real Father and Mother of all. I praised God for keeping the boy pure and free from adulteration of any sort. I knew that the real healing needed at this time was for us to draw closer to God. When she changed the bandages, the nurse found that the piece of glass had been expelled from the arm. We recognized the healing action that had taken place during my few moments of gratitude to God; before we had left home, a small lump on his arm had shown the glass still completely below the surface.
There is a precious feeling of joy that accompanies thanks giving. In a chapter titled "Glossary," found in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, gratitude is listed as one description of the term tithe, which means the gift of a tenth part of one's income (p. 595). Gratitude often liberates us from feeling limitation in our lives. The giving of sincere gratitude doesn't cost a cent, but it does enable us to recognize more easily that God loves each one of us. This heals and is cause for great joy.
You can find other articles that discuss prayer in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.