A Guided Walk of Gratitude

Based on Philippians 4

Things to Know

  • This activity could be done alone, in pairs, or with a group of people. You can do it with anyone of any age and adapt it to work best for you.
  • This exercise could be done on a drive, on a walk, or, with a little creativity, even from your living room chair! You can use your imagination as you “walk” through memories, scroll through pictures, or gaze out the window.
  • The purpose of this activity is to spend some time in thoughtfulness, to soak in the beauty of nature, to observe, to slow down, and to play.
  • There are no rules. Do what you want, how you want, when you want. Use the provided guide or do your own thing. Enjoy the exercise in any way that gives expression to your gratitude.

To guide you for this walk of gratitude, please download a printable copy at tinyurl.com/RW140Walk

Step 1: Breathing and Rhythm

Say: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

  • As you begin your walk, practice some deep breathing to help clear your head and get your rhythm.
  • Take a deep breath in, holding it for two seconds, and a long exhale. Do this a few times until your steps and your breathing are in sync.
  • Think about these questions: How does deep breathing change how your body is feeling? What is amazing about your body?
  • Express gratitude for something you are feeling right now.

Step 2: Looking Around

Say: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

  • As you walk along, look closely at what is around you. Look up, look down, look all around.
  • Here are some things you might want to try to discover. Maybe you could collect some of these things, take pictures, or just store them in your memory:
    • something with seeds
    • all the colors of autumn: red, orange, yellow, brown, green
    • a place where some small creature might live
    • a surprise where you didn’t expect it
    • a nest
    • something moving
  • Wonder about what you have seen. How will small creatures stay warm in the winter? How do those seeds find a place to grow? Why are there colors?
  • Express gratitude for what you have seen.

Step 3: Listening

Say: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5).

  • After a few more deep breaths, practice walking in silence and listening.
  • Perhaps you can hear:
    • bird songs
    • a gurgle of water
    • a big vehicle
    • your own heartbeat
    • something that chimes
    • something unexpected
  • Wonder about what you have heard. Why do birds sing? How do the sounds of the city mix in with the sounds of nature? Does everyone’s heartbeat sound the same?
  • Express gratitude for what you have heard.

Step 4: Praise

Say: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

  • Take more deep breaths. This time, while you breathe out, whisper, “Thank you.”
  • As you walk, think about or talk about some of these other things to be grateful for:
    • people in your life, past or present
      • friends and family
      • someone older than you
      • someone younger than you
      • someone you wish you knew a bit better
    • food
      • your favorite food
      • your least favorite food
      • the food that makes you feel strong and healthy
    • things you are doing in school, at work, at home, as a volunteer, with friends
    • something you recently learned or discovered
  • Express gratitude for these things.

Marja Fledderus is worship coordinator and faith formation ministries coordinator at Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Ancaster, Ontario. Two big titles that basically means she gets to be immersed in the work and abundant blessings of the community of faith every day.

Reformed Worship 140 © June 2021, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.