21 Yea, and in the valley of Alma they poured out their thanks to God because he had been merciful unto them, and eased their burdens, and had delivered them out of bondage; for they were in bondage, and none could deliver them except it were the Lord their God.
22 And they gave thanks to God, yea, all their men and all their women and all their children that could speak lifted their voices in the praises of their God.
When we put our thoughts and feelings into words, we materialize them and make them more durable. In my own experience, words spoken aloud are more impactful than words expressed in my mind. The verbal expression, even if no one hears me, makes the words more tangible and more memorable.
After miraculously escaping from their Lamanite captors, the people of Alma took the time to express their gratitude to God for their deliverance. As Mormon tells us in the passage above, every one of them who was old enough to talk “lifted their voices in the praises of their God.” They could have assigned one person to offer a prayer of gratitude on their behalf. But under these circumstances, the blessing they had received was so great that every one of them felt a desire to express their gratitude to God personally.
President Thomas S. Monson taught that expressing gratitude is an essential part of being grateful:
A grateful heart…comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that “feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” (“The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” General Conference, October 2010).
Today, I will express my gratitude to God intentionally and verbally. I will also remember to express gratitude to the people around me, at work and at home. I will remember that my grateful thoughts and feelings need to be transformed into words and actions in order to realize their full potential.