“In some quiet way, the expression and feelings of gratitude have a wonderful cleansing or healing nature. Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike,” according to Elder Robert D. Hales, one of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Gratitude, expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have, brings a calming peace,” he said, “a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future.”
Elder Hales listed some of the blessings for which he is most thankful: “How grateful I am for the scriptures, which give examples of Jesus’ expressing thanks to his Heavenly Father. … I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with the Lord’s anointed and for the opportunity to give testimony of those who have been called to lead us as prophets, seers, and revelators in this dispensation.”
“My deepest gratitude is for the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Elder Hales said. “I bear my testimony in all gratitude for the knowledge that our Savior lives, that he was resurrected, that there is a redemption and a salvation through the Atonement for all mankind—that all will be resurrected. I am thankful for that knowledge.”
Prayer is an essential part of conveying appreciation to our Heavenly Father. He awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents.
Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are taught to “live in thanksgiving daily.” (Alma 34:38)
Be Thankful for Each Experience
Elder Hales stressed that we should never forget to thank Heavenly Father for the blessings, gifts, and talents He has given to us. He also taught: “We [should] express thankfulness for what happens, not only for the good things in life but also for the opposition and challenges of life that add to our experience and faith. We put our lives in His hands, realizing that all that transpires will be for our experience.”
These comments on gratefulness were included in an address given by Robert D. Hales in 1992, shortly after he sustained a major heart attack. At that time, Hales was serving as the Presiding Bishop of the Church. He was called to the Apostleship in 1994, and is presently the eighth most senior member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve.