“Recognize, Remember, and Give Thanks,” Ensign, Aug. 2013, 4–6
God asks that we give thanks to Him for whatever blessings we receive from Him. It is easy for us to become mechanical in our prayers of gratitude, often repeating the same words but without the intent to give our thanks as a gift of the heart to God. We are to “give thanks … in the Spirit” (D&C 46:32) so we can feel real gratitude for what God has given us.
How can we remember even a part of all God has done for us? The Apostle John recorded what the Savior taught us about a gift of remembrance that comes through the gift of the Holy Ghost: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
The Holy Ghost brings back memories of what God has taught us. And one of the ways God teaches us is with His blessings; and so, if we choose to exercise faith, the Holy Ghost will bring God’s kindnesses to our remembrance.
You could test that in prayer today. You could follow the command “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7).
President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) suggested that prayer creates time to do that. He said: “The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much.”1
You could have such an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to count your blessings and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come, and so will gratitude.
You could try the same thing as you write an entry in your journal. The Holy Ghost has helped people with that since the beginning of time. You remember that the book of Moses says, “And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration” (Moses 6:5).
President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) described that process of inspired writing: “Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.”2
As you start to write, you could ask yourself, “How did God bless me and those I love today?” If you do that often enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes you will have gifts brought to your mind that you failed to notice during the day but that you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life.
I pray that we may make a continuing effort in faith to recognize, remember, and give thanks for what our Heavenly Father and our Savior have done and are doing to open the way home to Them.