Zion Online

Finding Hope in Hard Times: Seven Spiritual Practices

#1 Count Your Blessings
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? (Matthew 6:25-27)

We are living in anxious times. What began as an economic slowdown has turned into a deep recession, the likes of which we have not known since the Great Depression. Many have lost jobs or fear their jobs are on the line. Many have lost homes or have seen the value of their home plummet. Years’ worth of conscientious savings have evaporated. At the same time, our culture lulls us into believing that what we wear, what car we drive, what neighborhood we live in defines us. It is easy to lose sight of our true value, of our inherent blessedness as beloved children of God.
It is easy to focus on what we want and what we fear rather than on what we have. Sometimes the lines between what we want and what we need become so blurred it is difficult to discern the difference. However hard life seems, we have things we can be thankful for.

Action: Write down the things you are thankful for. Share your gratitude list with someone you know. Set aside time each day to give thanks for all the ways God blesses you.

Pause for Reflection: As well as being thankful, we need to acknowledge our anxieties. What money worries do you have? Write them down. Share them with someone you trust. Share them with the Lord in prayer.

You may find the following prayer helpful: Lord God, we live in disturbing days: across the world, prices rise, debts increase, banks collapse, jobs are taken away, and fragile security is under threat. Loving God, meet us in our fear and hear our prayer: be a tower of strength amidst the shifting sands, and a light in the darkness; help us receive your gift of peace, and fix our hearts where true joys are to be found, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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