the good way

Gratitude and Grief

Session 8 • Maturity • Devotional

We begin with an invitation to be fully present, taking a few minutes to allow your whole self to be nowhere but here and now. Breathe deeply and invite God’s presence to draw near to you.

Close your eyes and pay attention to your posture

Focus on your breath. Breathe in deeply…breathe out slowly

Let go of what you need to let go of. You might find it helpful to name how you come into the space. Lord, I come to you today feeling…(blank) and try, without judgement, to sit exactly as you are under the loving gaze of God.

Go back to your breathing: Pray a short breath prayer as you exhale: Here I am God, Be still my soul, Come Holy Spirit, Lord, have mercy

Become present to the God who is always, even now, present to you.


“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.

Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.

The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord.

I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord—in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.” - Psalm 116

Review the Day

In this posture of gratitude we’re going to take a few moments to reflect on our day.

  • What were the first emotions or events or thoughts of the day?
  • How did you spend your day? Who did you see? What did you hear?
  • What were the preoccupations of your mind and your heart?
  • What did you eat and drink? What has been the condition of your body as you’ve moved through the day?
  • What did you give today? What were you given?
  • What moments of beauty stand out as you remember your day? Remember the little things you noticed: Maybe the taste of coffee, the beauty of the skyline, the smile on the face of a stranger

Try to hold in your imagination the best moment of this day. When did you feel most happy, most alive, most free? Take a moment to acknowledge that whether you recognized his presence or not, God was with you in that moment.


“My heart meditated and my spirit asked: “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” - Psalm 77

Review the Day

Today may also have held moments of hurt, pain or grief. Now as we review our day again, we will pay attention to the moments that were difficult or painful, maybe in what was said or done. Perhaps today you felt the pain of lack, or the pain of loss or confusion, maybe you experienced a small moment of humiliation. What was taken from you today? What did you fake today?

  • Pay attention to the dull hurts you’ve gotten used to - Anxiety, Restlessness, Depression, perpetually feeling that you’re “not enough”.
  • When did you experience moments of stress or worry?
  • Were there any interactions that left you feeling sadness, embarrassment, or shame?
  • Remember the unique griefs that happened to you: words, events, losses…maybe something you wept over and maybe something you pretended was fine.

Try to hold in your imagination, the worst moment of your day. When did you feel the most sad, or angry or lost? When were you at your lowest? And take a moment to acknowledge that whether you recognized his presence or not, God was with you in that moment also.

Hands Exercise

Open your right hand (rested on your leg). Picture one item in it that represents gratitude for you today (maybe a person, an object, a set of keys, a check…anything) When you’ve got it, extend your hand, offering it to God as a sacrifice of gratitude. Offer it as worship.

Open your left hand (rested on your leg). Picture one item in it that represents grief for you today (a person, an object…anything) When you’ve got it, extend your hand, offering it to God as a sacrifice of grief. Offer it as worship.

Now simply place yourself in the presence of our loving God. Behold God beholding you. Listening. Knowing you inside and out. Knowing your every thought and movement during this day. He is receiving your gratitude and your grief. He is celebrating with you and also weeping with you. Speak to him as one friend to another where he listens without judgement.

Gracious God, I believe that I am in your presence and that you are loving me. Lord Jesus, I believe that at this very moment with whatever is going on in my life, I am in your presence and you are loving me – without condition, without restriction, without limit. And so I choose to open my mind, my memory, my imagination, my entire self to your love. Amen.

You can do a version of this prayer reflection at the end of every day, using the Prayer of Examen. Over time, this prayer will help you to become more aware of your interior movements as you move through your day, and will help you become more attentive to the presence and activity of God.

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