In English, we sometimes say “I’ll be sure to remember you in prayer.” This literally means “I will pray for you.” But it also suggests that I will not forget to pray for you, that I will keep you in mind, that I will be sure to remember to pray for you.
The Apostle Paul used a similar expression when writing to the Ephesians. The phrase translated for us as “remembering you in my prayers” reads even more exactly in Greek, “making memory [mneia] of you in my prayers.” As in English, it suggests both that Paul remembers those to whom he is writing and that he mentions them as he offers prayers of thanks and intercession.
Remembering is an essential component of thanksgiving. If you remember how God has blessed you, you will be inclined to thank him. If you forget, gratitude will be far from your consciousness. So, if you want to grow in gratitude, one of the first things you might do is to stop and take time to remember.
Remembrance that leads to thanksgiving focuses on our personal experience of God‘s grace. We bring to mind specific blessings, not the least of which is our salvation through Jesus Christ. But, as we recall the ways God has blessed us personally, we also consider his gracious work throughout the world and throughout history. For example, we might bring to mind the glory of creation. Or we might recall God’s patience with the children of Israel. Most of all, we remember how God became human in Jesus Christ in order that we might know him and have an intimate relationship with him.
In this season of thanksgiving, let me urge you to take time to recollect God’s goodness. Set aside an hour in order to remember so that you “remember in prayer” your thanks to the Lord. If it helps you, take a walk or write down your remembrances in a journal, thanking the Lord specifically for all the ways he has blessed you.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What helps you to remember God’s gifts to you, so that you might be thankful? When could you set aside an hour to focus on remembering God’s blessings?
PRAYER: O Lord, how easily I forget. How easily I take for granted your gifts. Forgive me!
Help me, I pray, to remember your goodness. May I do so each and every day. But, in this season of thanksgiving, may I also take time to allow your Spirit to bring to mind that which I have forgotten. Stir up memories of your goodness, Lord. Fill my heart with gratitude that spills out of my lips in praise to you. Amen.