What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday? Let that question sink in for a minute. Would you even be around today? Would your family, friends, job, home, food, clothing, car, parish, etc. be around today? The list goes on and on.
That question gets to the very core of stewardship — recognizing all the gifts we have been given and being grateful for them, every day.
I read that question about six months ago and it has changed the way that I pray. It also reinforced that prayer is the foundation of stewardship. Unless we talk and listen to God every day, how else are we going to know how He wants us to use our gifts?
When I get up in the morning I have a 15-to-20-minute prayer routine that I go through. Sometimes, when I'm lazy, I'll say, "I want to pray for all the people in my life" and leave it at that.
However, this question has helped me keep discipline and focus on my prayers. I now pray for very specific people, events and things.
This question has also helped me develop a stronger relationship with God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Let me explain. When I pray I sometimes get confused. Am I praying to God the Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit?
So, I really started focusing on the Holy Trinity and as I thought about the word "Trinity," the letter "t" started bouncing around in my head. This is led me to the three "t's" of prayer.
Here's the simple prayer that I'm working on...
God, the Father, thank you for all the gifts you have given me. Help me to be grateful and generous with these gifts and to nurture and develop them to help build your kingdom on earth.
Jesus, Our Savior, Itrust in you, in all circumstances, in every moment of the day, good or bad.
Holy Spirit, transform me, please guide my thoughts, word and actions.
I pray for the strength and courage that all that I do be for the glory of your name and with every decision I make, I take one step closer to you. Amen.
So, there's the three "t's" of prayer: thankful, trust and transformation. One "t" for each person of the Holy Trinity.
If you don't have a daily prayer routine, now is a good time to start. Use the reflection question at the beginning of this article to help you recognize all the blessings you have received. Encourage your family and friends to do the same.
Baranowski is the director of stewardship education in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He and his wife are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville. He can be reached at (314) 792-7215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.