PRAY: Prayer for Those Who Feel Their Efforts Go Unnoticed
Gratitude. This month, we emphasize it in ways beyond Thursday’s holiday. I’ve seen hundreds of Facebook friends posting lists of “I’m thankful for. . .” Ann Voskamp’s delightful One Thousand Gifts has many of us living lives of newfound thanksgiving. Gratitude. We get it.
Or do we? I often find myself feeling as though my efforts go unnoticed. That leaves me wondering: Where are all the grateful people? And, more importantly, why do I seek their responses?
If I make an effort to serve someone, I like to receive a word of thanks. If I do a job well, I like to know it’s appreciated. If I serve my family members in any one of the hundreds of small-but-large ways women do, I want them to notice—and let me know.
I believe in gratitude. I teach my children to express their thanks. I try to show my gratitude to others. But God has also given me the strong reminder that when I seek responses like this from anyone except Him, I’m not offering my work as true service. In looking for the temporal, I forget the eternal. I’m making what I do for others more about me than those I serve or the God I claim to follow. “Thank you” should come not as an expected response but a bonus blessing.
My knowledge of my own self-centered perspective leads me to offer the following:
Lord, today I confess to feeling as though many of my efforts go unnoticed. Others don’t notice what I do. They don’t see the time I spend or the care I take. And even if they do, they often fail to express their thanks. I want cheers or words of praise, but what I get—if it comes at all—sounds more like “Duly noted” than “Thanks so much!”
Father, when I feel this way, move me die to myself. Build into me an attitude of grace. Help me to appreciate and thank others in the way I like to be appreciated and thanked. Help me to offer myself, my time, my work, and my words all to you. Lord God, please turn any feelings of thanklessness into times of remembering to thank you for all the ways you bless me. You and your work go unnoticed far more than I do. May I never be guilty of ingratitude. And may I never run after words of thanks instead of finding my true fulfillment in you.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I ask for the gift of a grateful heart. I thank you for the ability to serve, to work, and to offer my gifts in freedom and love. In your holy name I pray—AMEN.
Do your efforts seem to go unnoticed? Do you struggle with seeking thanks or approval from the people you serve? Share your story and/or a way God is helping you deal with attitudes of less-than-gratitude.