One of the fundamental tenets of any spiritual journey is the need to express gratitude prayer to the universe. This sentiment is a powerful part of just about every major religion, but it applies to all of us in our individual spiritual lives, regardless of what creed we believe in and how we choose to live.
But how? Gratitude prayers can be either formal or informal—or both, for that matter—and they can also be either individual or part of organized worship. A specific path isn’t required, but it does help to have a plan, so here are some tips and guidelines for how to express gratitude to the universe as part of a series of prayer topics.
The Fundamental Questions About Gratitude Prayers
First things first—where and to whom should you direct your prayers of gratitude? There are the major religions, obviously, plus all the sects they spawned. But one of the most powerful ways to pray is through pantheism, which is a wide-ranging religious belief the incorporates the idea of God.
In this path, God is everywhere, all around us, not just in a church or a house of worship, and this opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to gratitude prayers and using them as a part of a specific request from the universe.
The second question when offering a prayer of gratitude is about knowing the exact purpose of your prayer. Are you giving thanks for something good that just happened to you? Are you referring to some kind of transformational shift that’s changed you or your life?
In general, the most powerful goals in prayer is to communicate with a higher power and shift your energy to a higher level. For some people, this means a shift from fear to faith, while others consider it an act of surrender.
Usually, the more you understand about your prayers of gratitude, the more powerful they’ tend to be. Whether your gratitude is specific or general, part of your daily routine or related to something special, self-knowledge is an essential part of the process, so keep that in mind as you formulate your prayer of gratitude.
Gratitude Prayers with a Purpose
Now let’s talk about some of the specific areas toward which you can direct your prayer of gratitude.
Asking for help is one of the most obvious purposes for a prayer of gratitude. The format can be anything you want, but the general idea is to thank God or the universe for what you already have, then ask for an extension of that that pertains to a need or a desire you have.
One of the things to remember in prayers for help is the need to avoid selfishness. Prayers of gratitude directed at an obvious “next step” in your process or journey often don’t come true, or the outcome can be manifested in ways that can be partially fulfilling, but also perplexing and confusing.
Think of phrases like “give me the strength to continue to do good work” or “help me to make the world a better place” when you formulate your request after a gratitude prayer. If you do this, there’s a strong chance you’ll like the results you get a lot better.
Prayers of Gratitude for a Family Problem
Now let’s look at another example that’s more specific than asking for help. Say you’re dealing with a family issue that’s both complex and baffling, and you feel like you need help finding a solution.
Rather than praying for a specific solution, send out a prayer of gratitude for having a family at all, keeping in mind that many people don’t and that this absence becomes a hole in their life that can be difficult or impossible to fill.
Then consider the issue from a different angle. Think about the principles who are involved in the problem, be they parents, children, friends or an outside source.
Thank the universe for the positive qualities they bring to the situation, and recognize that we are all have flaws and we all make mistakes from time to time.
Once you’ve expressed this gratitude, ask the universe for help in increasing the love within your family. Then ask that this love be directed at a possible solution, and listen to how the universe follows up and gives you an answer.
Think of phrases like “help me to restore love to my family” as part of your specific prayer, or “help me to be the best father/mother/son/daughter/sibling I can be,” depending on the specifics of your situation.
Prayers of Gratitude for Money
At first glance, this one seems at odds with the basic purpose of prayer in the first place. Many people associate money with greed and avarice—think about the old expression, “money is the root of all evil” They believe that prayer shouldn’t enter into the financial arena at all and that it’s somehow a corrupt thing to do.
But there’s a fundamental flaw with this approach. In nearly all societies, money is necessary to do good works, and few would argue that poverty, which is rooted in the lack of money, induces considerable suffering.
So thank the universe for the money you have, then pray on the purpose of your request for money. Tell the universe what you wish to do with the money and how it would benefit not just you but others, and once again listen and follow the response the universe gives you.
“Show me the best way to integrate money into my life” is one possible phrase, or you could go with “Please provide me with enough money to continue to do good works.”
Prayers of Gratitude for Guidance
Asking for guidance in a given situation is another reason many people offer prayers of gratitude. The situation may be a difficulty you’ve encountered, or you may be at a point in your journey where you need some kind of “next step” guidance.
Offering a prayer of gratitude is an excellent way to to this. Start by thanking the universe for the positive aspects that brought to this spiritual place where you need guidance; this may actually help you to look at the problem in a new light.
Once you’ve done that, phrase your request for guidance in a general way. Ask for guidance that will give the best outcome for all involved in the situation, and ask for openness as you consider your next step and whatever guidance the universe offers you.
“Show me the right way” or “show me the best way” can be an excellent template after you’ve offered a prayer of gratitude, at which point you can simply listen and watch as the situation evolves and you take whatever steps are necessary to help produce that best outcome.
Prayers of Gratitude for Healing
Prayers of gratitude and prayers for healing often tend to go together. This may not seem to be the case at first glance—if you’re in pain from some physical, emotional or spiritual malady, your judgement may in fact be clouded as to how to proceed, but this is exactly why you need to express gratitude to start your prayer process.
There are often lessons in prayers dealing with healing, so express gratitude for whatever brought you to a situation where you need healing. This may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes it’s the best way to understand the situation and find the healing power you need.
“Help me to heal and love” is one possible template for this, and “help me to heal so I can function in the universe as my best possible self” might be another.
Adding these things to a prayer of gratitude for whatever brought you to where you are now is a powerful way to understand your situation and heal whatever it is that’s causing your trouble or pain.
Prayers of Gratitude for Manifestation
Prayers of gratitude also go hand in hand with manifestation, and this is a common goal of many affirmation or manifestation programs.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Gratitude can function as the foundation for any effort to manifest a particular desire, condition or outcome.
If you express gratitude before you try to manifest something or someone, you give the universe the ability to understand your situation and help provide the best solution in your manifestation.
“Help me to manifest friends and friendship to lead a fuller life” might be one way to do this. “Fill me with positivity to overcome depression so I can live my best possible life and help others” is yet another template, but don’t be afraid to create your own.
What we’ve discussed here is just a starting point. It’s one way to integrate prayers of gratitude into your personal process, but obviously there are many other ways to do this.
As you do, remember that you can use the phrases of others if you need help, but as you become more familiar with how prayers of gratitude work you may find yourself coming up with your own.
Don’t be afraid to do this—it’s your best way to reach the universe, and it can lead to results that are powerful in ways you never expected.
[I decided to structure this as a tutorial about how to combine gratitude prayers with a request. Used the keyword up front, mentioned some specific phrases here and there, and I followed your basic guidelines. Please let me know if you need anything else.]