What is a gratitude journal?
A gratitude journal is similar to a daily diary, but it focuses especially on what we can be grateful to God for.
We might feel thankfulness that we coped with a busy day or had the courage for a difficult conversation. We may be grateful that we’re saved by grace alone or that God’s promises never fail. Or perhaps we simply want to say ‘thank you’ for good health, a roof over our heads, or the loved ones in our lives…
Below we give lots of journal prompts to direct your attention towards thankfulness as you create a simple gratitude diary. The more we look for blessings to thank God for, the better we become at seeing them. And this can flood our hearts with joy, appreciation and the peace that God has promised us.
Why start a gratitude journal?
There’s lots written about the benefits of gratitude for maintaining a positive mindset. An ‘attitude of gratitude’ is good for our mental health and overall well-being. But what does the Bible have to say about the difference it makes for Christians to practice gratitude?
G K Chesterton said, ‘I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.’
Christian thankfulness is about more than using positive psychology and affirmations to boost life satisfaction. It’s about recognising that ‘every good gift is from God’.
How to start a daily gratitude journal
These undated Gratitude Journal templates are ready for you to download and start using today.
Take some time alone or use one with a prayer partner or members of your family. They can be personalised, with plenty of room to add extra Bible verses, notes and to colour. Why not try adding some Bible verses about love to truly make it yours?
Each day, take time to choose three reasons you’re grateful, making sure they’re different each time.
Use our Gratitude Journal Prompts to give inspiration for you and your family
The beauty of a gratitude journal is the encouragement it gives us to notice so many reasons, big and small, to feel thankful. Create your DIY appreciation journal by using the prompts below or come up with your own ideas—the best gratitude journal is the one that’s personalised by you!
- What promise of God are you most thankful for?
- Which Bible verse helps you feel most loved?
- What is it about prayer that you find most helpful?
- Who are you grateful for today?
- Who from your past can you give thanks for? What qualities did they exemplify?
- Who encourages you in your walk with Jesus?
The natural world
- What do you love about God’s creation?
- What have you seen today in nature that you can thank God for?
- Which season do you love most and why?
- What daily needs can you thank God for providing? Food/Shelter/Transport/Clothes…
- What is the smallest possession that makes you smile? (a keyring, your favourite mug or lip balm…)
- Think of something to thank God for, relating to each of your senses (sight/sound/touch/taste/smell).
- Which of God’s promises is helping you cope with a challenge at the moment?
- What is going on in your life (or the lives of your loved ones) that you can rejoice over today?
- What answers to prayer have surprised you recently?
Your Christian life
- Give thanks for how you came to put your trust in Jesus Christ.
- Think about a time when God saved you from a mistake – by closing a door or saying no to your prayer – reflect upon His guidance and thank Him for how you’ve grown as a result.
- Think about a time when God answered your prayers with a surprising ‘yes!’ that was more than you had asked or imagined. Praise Him for what it showed you about His love.
- Give thanks for this moment of reflection. Shut your eyes and enjoy the silence. Thank God for His peace which passes understanding.
- Give thanks for rest and fun. List your favourite hobbies and thank God for them.
- What words of encouragement do you remember someone giving you? Thank God for them. Who could you encourage today?
Child-friendly gratitude journal prompt
Here are ten additional prompts to spark appreciation and gratitude for younger ones in the family…
- What are your favourite colours? Imagine if the world was black and white! Thank God for all the colours in our world.
- Name 3 things you like about yourself. Thank God for the way He’s made you.
- What are your 3 favourite animals? Why do you like them? Thank God for His creation.
- What are your favourite sports or hobbies? What skills can you thank God for today?
- What is your favourite story in the Bible? How does the Bible help us know that we’re loved by God?
- What do you find difficult? How does God help and teach us through our weaknesses? Can you thank God for what He is teaching you?
- Who are your friends? What would you like to say thank-you to God for about them?
- Who brings you comfort and help when you are sad? Thank God for the people who care for you.
- What is a favourite memory – a holiday, or party, or an outing with a friend? Thank God for these happy memories.
- What is the simplest thing you can thank God for? Maybe it’s your toothbrush or having warm water. Maybe it’s break-time from lessons, or a special toy. Why do you think it’s good for us to appreciate even the smallest things in our lives?
Be inspired by Abigail’s thankfulness during challenging times
Abigail from El Salvador was eight years old when a tropical storm destroyed her family home. In the heavy rains, Abigail lost all her possessions.
The family was absolutely overjoyed when their local church, who partner with Compassion, provided a new home. An extra financial gift from Abigail’s sponsor meant the family were able to equip their home with essentials.
Abigail, now fifteen, dreams of becoming a lawyer. She’s an active participant at her local Compassion project, and loves receiving letters from her sponsor.
She says, ‘I’m so thankful for how my sponsor offers me support and encouragement. All her letters inspire me—she tells me that she prays for me every day! I want to be a blessing to others, as she has been a blessing to me.
‘One of the ways God blesses me and my family is by having a sponsor who shows that she cares about me. I think thankfulness helps us to show love to others. It helps us to share and to appreciate all that we have. Thankfulness helps me to trust God.’
What does the Bible say about gratitude?
When Paul writes ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances’ he isn’t saying ‘give thanks for all circumstances.’
You can see in these ‘thankful Bible verses,’ that scripture encourages us towards gratefulness in the midst of every circumstance. We don’t have to pretend that there aren’t challenges in life, but Christians can still give thanks to God because His love endures forever, and He is faithful to all His promises.
Here at Compassion, we feel such gratitude for our supporters who join us in partnership with local churches around the world. Together, we pour our efforts into restoring hope by empowering children with access to opportunities that enable them to overcome the barriers of poverty. Thank you for partnering with us.