President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a call for gratitude in a special video broadcast in Chattanooga and throughout the world on Friday, November 20, 2020. Using #GiveThanks, he invited everyone to flood the world with gratitude.
Prior to his ministry as apostle and prophet, President Nelson was a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon and one of the research team that developed the first heart-lung machine to be used in the human open-heart operation. As a man of science, he notes that the current worldwide pandemic has been of great concern to him.
“I appreciate the critical need to prevent the spread of infection…and I grieve for the many whose lives have been upended by COVID-19,” he said. “As a man of faith, however, I view the current pandemic as only one of many ills that plague our world including hate, civil unrest, racism, violence, dishonesty and lack of civility.”
“Skilled scientists and researchers are laboring diligently to develop and distribute a vaccine against the coronavirus,” he continued. “But there is no medication or operation that can fix the many spiritual woes and maladies that we face. There is however a remedy – one that may seem surprising because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions. I am referring to the healing power of gratitude.”
“The book of Psalms is filled with admonitions to express gratitude,” President Nelson said citing Psalms 92:1 – “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord;” Psalm 136:1, “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good;” and Psalm 95:2, “Come before his presence with thanksgiving.” President Nelson taught how Jesus Christ frequently expressed gratitude and gave thanks to God.
President Nelson also stated that over his nine and a half decades of life he has concluded that “counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription. Does gratitude spare us from sorrow, sadness, grief and pain? No,” President Nelson said. “But it does soothe our feelings. It provides us with a greater perspective on the very purpose and joy of life.”
We can give thanks unto God for the beauties of the earth and the majesty of the heavens – for life, for our amazing bodies, for art, literature, music, for repentance, for the opportunity to start over, make amends and build character – for families, friends and loved ones – for the opportunity to help, cherish and serve, President Nelson continued. “We can even give thanks for our trials from which we learn things we would not know otherwise. Most of all, we can give thanks unto God the Father of our spirits, which makes us all brothers and sisters – one great, global family.”
“As a doctor, I know the value of good therapy. So dear friends may I prescribe two activities to help us experience the healing power of gratitude. First, I invite you just for the next 7 days to turn social media into your own personal gratitude journal. Post everyday about what you are grateful for, who you are grateful for and why you are grateful. At the end of 7 days, see if you feel happier and more at peace. Use the #GiveThanks. Working together we can flood social media with a wave of gratitude that reaches the four corners of the earth. Perhaps this will fill, in part, the promise God gave to father Abraham, that through his descendants all families of the earth shall be blessed.”
“Second, let us unite in thanking God through daily prayer. Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray by first expressing gratitude to God and then petitioning Him for the things we need. Prayer brings forth miracles. In that spirit, I would now like to offer a prayer for the world and everyone in it,” President Nelson said. “As I pray, I hope you will feel inspired to do the same pouring out your heart in gratitude for the countless blessings God has given you and petitioning Him to heal our hearts, our families, our societies, and the world at large.”
President Nelson then offered a prayer of gratitude. President Nelson’s message may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i51gcWCs-Ho. The story behind his global prayer of gratitude which he felt prompted to share may be viewed at https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/inspiration/the-story-behind-my-global-prayer-of-gratitude?lang=eng
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are participating in the #GiveThanks challenge and express their gratitude for their friends, families and neighbors – for everyone – in the greater Chattanooga area.