In a worldwide video presentation Friday, global faith leader President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called upon all people to feel the healing power of gratitude.
Nelson offered a new message of hope, healing and unity, he said, “to help lift the world out of the depths of COVID-19 and eradicate other plagues such as hatred and incivility.”
He said he was speaking as a man of science and a man of faith.
Nelson noted the COVID-19 virus is not the only the plaguing the world.
Expressing his own gratitude for the scientists and researchers who are developing a vaccine for COVID-19, the prophet — a former pioneering cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon — reminded those listening that “there is no medication or operation that can fix the many spiritual woes and maladies that we face” as a collective global society.
These include the vices of hate, unrest, racism, violence, dishonesty and incivility, Nelson said.
“There is, however, a remedy — one that may seem surprising — because it flies in the face of our natural intuitions,” Nelson said. “Nevertheless, its effects have been validated by scientists as well as men and women of faith. I am referring to the healing power of gratitude.”
As a message of hope and healing during the Thanksgiving week, Nelson invited all people to do two things to help heal fractured relationships and communities:
- Turn social media into a gratitude journal for the next seven days, using the hashtag “#GiveThanks.”
- Say a prayer of thanks.
Nelson then offered a prayer for the world, thanking God for the earth and the heavens. He prayed that people would repent from their pride and prejudices of any kind and end political strife.
In a uniquely transparent moment, Nelson shared his reason for why he offered the world prayer and why he felt offering the prayer was important.
“Have you ever had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night with a distinct thought or impression?” Nelson asked. “Since beginning my ministry as the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’ve had my share of unexpected awakenings. Many of these have proven to be special and sacred moments from God. I want to share one such experience related to the special video message that was released today.”
Nelson continued: “A few weeks ago, I woke in the middle of the night with the thought that I should offer a prayer of gratitude to God for all of His children around the globe. Thoughts flooded my mind of all of the things for which we should be grateful and how expressing that gratitude could become a healing spirit in our lives. As the inspiration came, specific details, including when and how I should share this message, came to my mind and heart. The video message shared today was not one that came by chance; it is one that came from heaven.”
One of the greatest gifts of God
Nelson said, since his service as president of the Church in 2018, one of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon his mind is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will.
“The marvelous privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children — available to every one of us,” Nelson said.
Nelson noted anyone can pray, in his case to a Heavenly Father, for guidance and direction in one’s life. That divine guidance can be given in large and small matters.
“I am grateful for the awakenings I have received in my life that have helped me to know that the heavens really are open today,” Nelson said. “Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the greatest example of both heeding the will of His Father and giving thanks in all things.”
In every thing, give thanks
Nelson said he has concluded that counting one’s blessings is far better than recounting their problems.
“No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a unique, fast-acting, and long-lasting spiritual prescription. Simply stated, “In every thing give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18).”
Residents can read and watch Nelson’s video messages — including translations in several languages — at GiveThanks.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.