Joyce Meyer’s new book The Power of Thank You: Discover the Joy of Gratitude is an easy read filled with practical steps to help you live a more intentionally grateful life.
I cringed. More than once. 😖
That said, The Power of Thank You is a timely reminder that we can always find something to be thankful for—even during a global pandemic.
As a companion to the book, the author has simultaneously released the My Thank You Journal diary—filled with blank lined pages featuring mini-excerpts from the book and Bible verses about gratitude, thankfulness, and encouragement.
Together, the book, journal, and a nice pen would make a lovely gift for the Joyce Meyer fan in your life.
The Power of Thank You
Part memoir, part self-help manual, The Power of Thank You, is packed with down-to-earth advice for cultivating a holistic lifestyle of gratitude.
The book is written in a conversational tone with lots of first-person references and recollections. Reading it, you’re likely to feel as if Joyce Meyer, herself, is sitting right across the table from you at your favorite coffee shop sharing her latest insights about “God-winks,” thankfulness, and encouragement while you quietly sip your caramel macchiato.
The first chapter forms the foundation for the entire book. Based her strong conviction that “Thankfulness Is God’s Will,” the author pulls powerful stories from her personal life, the Bible, and a variety of websites to paint a picture of what life could look like if one were to live according to the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Christians in Thessaloniki:
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The book is structured like a mind map with each branch (chapter) representing a specific aspect of gratitude. Chapter topics range from contentment and humility to complaints and spiritual warfare.
But it’s more than that.
Meyer’s advice is practical and prescriptive—based as much on her personal experience as Scripture. She offers numerous tips and suggestions which methodically move the reader from internal perception and reflection to external awareness and action.
Action flowing freely from a grateful heart.
A masterful storyteller, Meyer explains the ripple effects of random acts of gratitude and illustrates how one simple action can change a person’s life. Literally.
The Power of Thank You takes the reader on a journey from understanding the importance of gratitude and practicing spiritual thanksgiving to cultivating a generous lifestyle and wielding gratitude as a weapon.
As much as I’d like to recommend this book with no caveats, I cannot. Some of the passages made me cringe because of the following reasons: (1) lingering tidbits of the prosperity gospel, (2) unchecked ableism, and (3) no trigger warnings.
Cringe #1: Prosperity Gospel
First, name it/claim it. Although the author has moved away from this false teaching (see the 2019 article in Relevant Magazine for more details), tidbits of prosperity gospel still found their way onto the page. On more than one occasion she explains how one’s thoughts control what God will and will not do.
If you are thankful for what you have, God is more inclined to give you what you are asking for. One time I was asking God for something, and as He spoke to my heart a thought came to me: Why should I give you more if you are complaining about what you already have?Page 47
The above assertion is more parental than biblical, like something a mom would tell her ungrateful child. But God isn’t like us. God doesn’t withhold blessings because our attitude sucks, and neither does He shower us with them simply because we’ve got a good attitude. You can learn more about how it’s okay to complain to God here.
Cringe #2: Ableist Tendencies
Second—and I write this with great trepidation because I’m calling out a woman who has an international ministry and has improved the lives of thousands and thousands of humans—It’s obvious to me that the author has ableist tendencies.
What, you ask, is ableism? According to AccessLiving.org:
Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its heart, ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’ and defines people by their disability. Like racism and sexism, ableism classifies entire groups of people as ‘less than,’ and includes harmful stereotypes, misconceptions, and generalizations of people with disabilities.
Meyer assumes her readers are healthy and able-bodied. It’s an ableist worldview, and since I’m learning about belonging and inclusion, I’ve become more aware of what it looks like. Here’s one example of ableism in this book:
I think we would all be surprised by our blessings if we would count them—and we would be healthier and happier. Think about this: Were you thankful this morning that you could jump out of bed and walk to the bathroom without needing assistance or a walker to get there? If breathing is something you do regularly without any effort, have you thought of what a blessing it is? All we need to do is watch someone who has a severe case of emphysema and has to carry an oxygen tank at all times, and we will be very thankful for the breath we usually take for granted.Page 54
I know her heart is in the right place, but framing her argument like this shows an ableist bias. We all need to be aware of our hidden biases and our tendency to “other” people who are different than us. As followers of Jesus, part of our mission is to stop “othering” and promote belonging. You can learn more about ableism here.
Cringe #3: No Trigger Warnings
Joyce Meyer has done a lot of work to come to terms with what she suffered as a child. If the reader is unaware of the author’s horrific background, the matter-of-factness with which it’s addressed could trigger traumatic memories.
There were no trigger warnings anywhere in the book, and some of the personal stories were shocking and detailed enough to make me wonder why. Although there’s a huge online debate about whether or not books should contain content warnings, and while readers who know the author’s background won’t find it shocking, those who are unfamiliar would definitely benefit from a little notice.
Caitlin Berve, CEO of Ignited Ink Writing, explains why trigger warnings matter in this brief video:
If you’re still reading this review, then consider this a trigger warning for the book. The stories Meyer shares are not graphic, but they are traumatic and could trigger an emotional response in readers who’ve lived through something similar.
In The Power of Thank You: Discover the Joy of Gratitude, you’ll be inspired to cultivate more gratitude in your life, motivated to mine thankfulness even out of the toughest circumstances, and equipped to encourage others who will benefit from your thoughtfulness. I recommend this book with the above caveats.
But Wait. There’s More!
As I mentioned above, the My Thank You Journal was created to accompany the book. The intent is for the reader to use it daily as a place to capture thankful thoughts, record blessings and “God-winks,” and keep track of prayer requests and praises.
Each page is beautifully laid out with a floral border and either a Bible verse or a quote from the book, and there is plenty of space for you to journal or draw. According to the listing on Amazon.com, the journal contains 160 lined pages (6.25″ x 8.3″); however, the pages are not numbered. They are thick, though, so your pen should not bleed through. 🙌
I suggest you number the pages as you go and reserve aside a couple pages at the back of the book to create your own index of special entries for quick reference. While the journal makes a perfect companion to the book, it’s also perfectly beautiful on its own. I highly recommend the My Thank You Journal with or without the book it’s based on.
Photo credits: Thanks postcard & latte. Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash. Person holding sign that says "Gratitude." Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash. Woman in Orange Top Sitting on Black Wheelchair. Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of the book mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I only recommend books I've read cover to cover and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”