“In some quiet way, the expression and feelings of gratitude have a wonderful cleansing or healing nature. Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike,” Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said.
“Gratitude, expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have, brings a calming peace,” he said, “a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future.”
Elder Hales listed some of the blessings for which he is most thankful: “How grateful I am for the scriptures, which give examples of Jesus’ expressing thanks to his Heavenly Father. … I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with the Lord’s anointed and for the opportunity to give testimony of those who have been called to lead us as prophets, seers, and revelators in this dispensation.”
“As the years pass, I become more grateful for my parents. They lived the gospel, studied the scriptures, and bore testimony of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ,” Elder Hales said. “I am thankful for a brother and sister who love the Lord and have remained true and faithful. … I love my dear companion, Mary, my two sons, Steven and David, and their families. … I express appreciation for all the joy they have brought into my life.”
“My deepest gratitude is for the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Elder Hales said. “I bear my testimony in all gratitude for the knowledge that our Savior lives, that he was resurrected, that there is a redemption and a salvation through the Atonement for all mankind—that all will be resurrected. I am thankful for that knowledge.”
Be Thankful for Each Experience
Elder Hales stressed that we should never forget to thank Heavenly Father for the blessings, gifts, and talents He has given to us. He also taught: “We [should] express thankfulness for what happens, not only for the good things in life but also for the opposition and challenges of life that add to our experience and faith. We put our lives in His hands, realizing that all that transpires will be for our experience.”
These comments on gratefulness were included in an address given in general conference in 1992. In his October 2011 general conference address, Elder Hales also said that if we endure with a grateful attitude, then that which we endure will strengthen us. “We realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. … Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son,” he said.
Elder Hales concluded, “I express gratitude that ‘in my Gethsemane’ (“Where Can I Turn for Peace?” Hymns, no. 129) and yours, we are not alone. He that watches over us ‘shall neither slumber nor sleep’ (Psalm 121:4).”