Build-Your-Own Worship Service (or Series) on Gratitude
As a faith practice, gratitude is our response of thankfulness for God’s goodness, love, provision, and grace. It is the undercurrent of all other faith practices—the well out of which they flow.
Pick and choose from the ideas below to shape a worship service or plan a series. Also see our Worship Service on Gratitude and Intergenerational Activities on the Faith Practice of Gratitude.
- Foundational Essay: Gratitude: Responding to God’s Goodness
- Bible passages
- Psalm 100: A song of thanksgiving
- Luke 17:11-19: The healing of ten lepers
- Luke 7:36-38: Lavish gratitude
- Colossians 3:15-17: Freely flowing gratitude
- Additional Helpful Resources from the Faith Practices Project
(We’ve indicated the songs from our hymnal Lift Up Your Hearts with “LUYH.”)
- “Give Thanks” (LUYH)
- “Goodness of God” by Bethel Music
- “Gratitude” by Brandon Lake
- “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” (LUYH)
- “How Great Thou Art” (LUYH)
- “Ten Thousand Reasons” (LUYH)
- “To God Be the Glory” by Andre Crouch (LUYH)
- “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship
- “When I Think About the Lord” by James Huey
Your favorite Thanksgiving songs would work well too!
Below you’ll find ideas that can be modified and woven into a worship service as a way for people to experience this practice.
- Share the story. Arrange in advance for someone to share a story from their own life about the challenge of being grateful in hard times and what they are learning about God’s goodness in every circumstance.
- Reflect. Share these words from the resource 5 Ways to Grow Grateful Kids: “As Christ-followers, we don’t just practice gratitude because it’s good for our health (although it is!), or only when things go smoothly. Our gratitude flows from an awareness that, regardless of our circumstance, God loves us and is with us.” Pause to provide people time to reflect on how they experienced God’s love during a hard time and to express gratitude to God for that. Acknowledge that there are times when it may feel like God isn’t there; encourage those who are at that place now to simply rest in the promise of God’s love today.
- Pair a passage with a picture book. Follow a reading of Psalm 136:1 with a reading of the picture book Thank You, God, by J. Bradley Wiggar.
- Express gratitude. Create a gratitude wall or walls in your sanctuary, perhaps by printing “Thank You, God” as a heading on sheets of easel paper and attaching them to the wall(s). Provide each person with a pad of sticky notes and a writing tool. Invite everyone to use the sticky notes to name what they are grateful for and to add their notes to the designated wall. The remaining sticky notes are theirs to keep as an encouragement to continue the practice at home.
- Picture it. In the week(s) leading up to your worship service, invite people of all ages to submit via email or text messaging, images of things they are grateful for. You might provide daily prompts like these: What people are you grateful for today? What color are you grateful for today? What food are you grateful for today? Where did you see God’s love today? How has God provided for you today? And so on. Create a slide deck from the images and play it at an appropriate time during worship.
Encourage and equip people to continue exploring this faith practice by providing them with a resource to take home. Some ideas:
- Sticky notes and an encouragement to create a sticky-note-covered gratitude wall at home.
- Gratitude jars, one per household. For an example of a gratitude jar (and other great ideas) check out the post How to Help All Households Grow in Gratitude at Thanksgiving and Beyond!
- 5 Ways to Grow Grateful Kids for each household with children.
- The booklet Faith Practices: Holy Habits That Help Us Love God and Our Neighbor, Listen to the Spirit, and Become More Like Jesus.
Digital Images You Can Use
Use these memes for PowerPoint presentations, social media shares, print pieces, and so on.