The beginning stage of bhakti comes from the association of those who are empowered to give Krsna. We should be very mindful of the good fortune that we have all received. When Gratitude, no small thing, enters the heart then Bhakti can grow. It can grow up to the stage of prema. And when gratitude is absent we are not going to get to prema. It is not going to happen. Our practice will be mechanical at best.
Adapted from a lecture by HH Romapada Swami entitled Back Home to Our True Shelter - Part1, Japa Retreat ISKCON of Central New Jersey December 2016