This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

By Owen Phelps, Ph.D.

In The Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus, we recommend that people who want to lead like Jesus should pray regularly.

Often when we think of prayer, we leap quickly to the notion of prayers of petition.

While there’s nothing wrong with them, they hardly exhaust the concept of prayer. Indeed, the workbooks we use in our Catholic Vision for Leading Like Jesus Encounters, a 1-day training experience, devote 11 pages to various purposes and kinds of prayer.

One prayer practice I have come to recommend ever more heartily over the past several decades is married couples praying together before they go to sleep.

My wife and I were married many years before we started saying prayers together before drifting off to slumber, but it has become something I really cherish now.

Then, just last week over lunch with a friend, I was graced with a new twist to this practice that has me really excited.

We were talking about the crucial role gratitude plays to our mental and spiritual health – and about all the new research that’s confirming this over and over again.

That’s when my friend volunteered that he and his wife not only pray together at night, they also make a point to each share three things in that day for which they are grateful.

My eyes lit up. What an idea! I couldn’t wait to get home and propose to my wife that we do the same thing. She liked the idea too, so we’re working on remembering to incorporate the practice into our routine of prayer.

Even at this very early stage, I know that some days our lists will be easy to compile. In fact, the hard part will be keeping the list down to just three things. But at other times coming up with three things is going to take real effort.

Still, I’m looking forward to it. Surely God deserves it. And a preponderance of research says the effort will be richly rewarding for us.

Prayer and gratitude – I know it’s a powerful force ... in my life and in the world.

Thank you for that, Lord. And for my friend who enlightened me with more of your grace just last week.