While recently studying the teachings of President Ezra Taft Benson, the 13th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I came across this statement from one of his associates:
“I have knelt with him and heard him pray. His prayers were always interesting. Almost without exception, they consisted, for the most part, of expressions of thanks. He asked for very little. He expressed gratitude for very much” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Farewell to a Prophet,” Ensign, July 1994, 40).
Later in my studies, I read this scripture passage from the Doctrine and Covenants (which is a collection of modern prophetic revelations):
“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (D&C 78:19).
It was then that I understood one of gratitude’s hidden secrets. Like many others, I was taught as a child—and have chosen as an adult—to live a prayerful life. I was taught to express gratitude to the Father for the blessings I receive. But have I truly received my blessings with thankfulness? Do I ask for very much and give thanks for very little?
The Son of God, speaking of the “things of this earth”, taught his disciples, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:32).
Consider this profound illustration of gratitude completing the blessing:
“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
“And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God.
“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
“And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:12-19).
In our heartfelt recognition of God’s grace and condescension He hears our pleading for another sunrise, another smile, another meal, another warm embrace, another answer, and another prayer of gratitude. He hears our plea for the rest of the healing that we did not know we needed.
This is one of gratitude’s hidden secrets.