As I was talking about gratitude yesterday, I thought of a practice I started years ago but for some reason abandoned. It's called, "Gratitude By the Hour." It's very simple. Here's how it works:
You need a clock, timer, watch, or something like that. Program it to go off every waking hour. When you hear the alarm, stop whatever you're doing and say a prayer of thankfulness. The prayer can be about:
1. something you're doing - Lord, thank you for this computer that I can use to spread encouragement to other believers
2. something in general - Lord, thank you for air conditioning on these hot summer days
3. something specific - Lord, thank you for the wonderful church service we had last night
4. something the Lord lays on your heart at that moment - Lord, thank you for meeting our needs
This is not a time for a long prayer. It's not a time for asking. It's not a time for pouring out the burdens on our heart. That can be done during our regular devotion time. This is in addition to that. This is just taking a couple of seconds each hour to thank the Lord for something He's done or will do.
I remember when I was following this routine, I stayed more positive and hopeful throughout my days. Not only that, but it helped me to keep that open communication with the Lord. I don't know why I stopped doing it, but I intend to start again. After all, we can never praise the Lord too much, and He is SO worthy of our praise!