9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord….
12 And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.
(Ether 6:9, 12)
An important part of my prayers is an expression of gratitude for blessings I have received. But reading about the gratitude expressed by the brother of Jared and his family, I recognize that most of my expressions of gratitude are relatively superficial. Of course, the events described by Moroni in the verses above–the miraculous sea journey of the family and their safe arrival in the promised land–represented an unusual experience in their lives. Still, I’d like to learn more from their extended and heartfelt expressions of gratitude. A few observations:
- In verse 9, they praised the Lord all day and all night as their barges were driven by strong winds and by fierce winds toward their destination. As a manifestation of their faith, they expressed gratitude while they were still in the middle of the uncertainty, not waiting for everything to be resolved before thanking and praising the Lord.
- They expressed their gratitude in a variety of ways: in song, in prayer, and in humble “tears of joy.”
- They were acutely cognizant of the Lord’s “tender mercies” toward them. They could easily have focused on the discomforts and difficulties they experienced during the journey, but they chose instead to focus their thoughts on the blessings they had received. This is the essence of gratitude.
Today, I will follow the example of the brother of Jared and his family as I express gratitude to God. I will not wait for blessings to be fully realized before thanking Him. I will express my gratitude in multiple ways. And I will be aware of the tender mercies of the Lord rather than be distracted by the discomforts and the challenges of the day.