Gratitude journaling is about more than just listing the things we are thankful for. It’s a chance to slow down and reflect. When our teens keep a gratitude journal, their faith grows as they recognize and appreciate Who God is and what He has done for us.
But how do we encourage them to begin? Keep reading, Mom! There is Help for Growing Your Teen’s Faith!
Growing Your Teen’s Faith
Focus on Gratitude
It doesn’t take long to recognize that Thanksgiving is an important part of our Christian lives. Throughout the Bible we see God’s people thanking Him in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, says,
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
It’s not uncommon for teens to be wondering what God’s will for their lives is, especially as they get closer and closer to graduating from our homeschools. But God’s will isn’t as mysterious as we often seem to think it is.
He directly tells us so much of it in His Word, and part of His will is to give thanks in all circumstances.”
When our teens do the revealed will of God, they will be more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s leading in their lives when it comes to the decisions they will need to make. (They also need to know God is more concerned with how they live instead of what they do as long as it honors Him.)
How to Use Gratitude Journaling
Journaling is simply getting our thoughts down on paper. When we write, we are able to clarify and organize our thoughts.
We also have a record to go back to and remember.
It’s a place where we can be honest, make mistakes, and work out what we believe.
Journal entries don’t have to be complete sentences or have perfect grammar and spelling. It’s fine to use bullet points or even draw.
Keep Growing Your Teen’s Faith
When we combine the two: gratitude + journaling, we have a powerful tool for spiritual growth. It becomes more than just a place to list things we are thankful for. It’s a place to slow down and reflect.
Through gratitude journaling, teens will:
1. Develop an attitude of gratitude.
Attitude means, “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.”
When we are ungrateful it comes out in our words and actions. And thankfully, when we recognize how blessed we are it comes out in our words and actions, too.
2. Remember God’s faithfulness in their lives.
It’s often hard to recognize what God is doing in the middle of difficult circumstance. But when we look back, we see His hand working even in the hard things.
Writing down the things we are thankful for that He has done in the past helps us realize just how faithful He has been.
3. Focus on what they have, instead of what they don’t have.
Saying thanks turns our eyes toward all that God has given us. Often we take for granted God’s provision for our needs and so many of our wants too.
We have a gracious and extravagant God who lavishes His grace upon us (Ephesians 1:8). Now that is something to be thankful for!
4. Begin to recognize God’s hand in the everyday.
Our teens are so busy and so distracted these days. By stopping to really consider what they are thankful for, they will be able to see God’s work in the ordinary.
It’s like when a nature photographer looks through the lens of a camera and focuses on the beauty of a single leaf or rock. The lens helps then to notice what they don’t normally see.
5. Combat fear and worry.
Philippians 4:6–7 says, “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” [emphasis added].
When we give thanks it takes our eyes off of our circumstances and points them to the God of our circumstances. In that we can find peace.
6. See God’s character.
Thankfulness turns our hearts toward our God. Knowing God means that we understand His character.
We recognize who we are in light of who He is. And that is a powerful thing in the life of a growing Christian.
Gratitude Journaling Changes Hearts
Maturing in our faith is about becoming more Christlike. It’s hard to be Christlike though if we are focused on ourselves and if we are complaining and grumbling and always wanting more.
Maybe that’s why God emphasizes our need to give thanks. When our teens are grateful, it changes them from the inside out!
Grab Your FREE Gratitude Journal for Your Teen Below and get started!
Your Teen Gratitude Journal includes 7 days of verses and journaling prompts to get you started. There are additional pages to write, process and pray. The Teen Gratitude Journal includes everything your teen needs to jump in and begin!
Here are some ideas for using your Teen Gratitude Journal:
- Copy the Scripture and use it to inspire your journaling.
- Journal your thoughts using the prompts on this page to get you started. List what you are thankful for that day.
- Write out a prayer of gratitude.
Grab yours now! ⇓
Why not take a few minutes daily together to give thanks to the One who gave you everything? Gratitude will change your outlook and your attitude as well. It will also draw you into a closer relationship with the Lord.
This journal for Mom will give you Scriptures and prayers to guide you, as you seek to develop a heart of thanksgiving. As an added bonus, the appendix has a set of 12 beautiful prayer cards to print and post in visible places, reminding you to pray throughout the day.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.