In these or similar words ...

Dear Lord,

Today as I reflect on the world around me, it feels like gratitude is the first thing that comes to my mind. In the retreat this week I am trying to simply notice my life, to really see all of the wonderful gifts of nature that cross my path. Coming to work this morning, I couldn’t help staring into an incredible sunrise through the cloudy sky. It created colors that were indescribable. A small tree in my yard is already turning colors, with bright red leaves that contrast with every­thing else that is still green. My tomato plants are still bearing fruit and the fall flowers are starting to line my sidewalk.

I see these as gifts to us — us — but I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen them as a gift from you to me. How can I fathom the depths of your love for me — that you have created each flower, each leaf, for my enjoyment? I’ll be honest, God. I usually don’t tune into this kind of thing. I just don’t always pay attention to the gifts of nature that are literally under my feet.

Now as I pray, as I pay attention, I am moved by the phrase in the prayer guide this week, “God has an intense desire to help us achieve the end for which God lovingly created us.” Could you really have a real desire for my life? For what becomes of me, not just as one of the billions of people who inhabit this planet, but as an individual?

I look outside at nature and inside at the family and friends you surround me with and I am so thankful. Please, Lord, help me to fully express my gratitude to you for my life and for the way you care for me. Help me to see what your desire for my life really is. I want to make my life a way to serve you.

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