A Truth-Telling Thanksgiving Prayer

autumn leaves

St. Ignatius urged his followers to converse with Jesus in the same way that one would speak with a very dear friend. In his book, Praying the Truth, William Barry, SJ, writes:

Prayer, as conscious relationship, is the royal road to finding God in all things and to a deeper friendship with God. We grow in friendship with another human being by becoming more and more transparent with each other…Friendship develops through mutual honesty, through truth-telling. (2, 6)

I have found that truth-telling before God has been key to my prayer life—and conversely, to my lack of a prayer life when I’m skirting the truth in prayer. So, while gratitude is front and center in my mind as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am noticing all kinds of other emotions present and worth talking with God about as well.

And so, this Thanksgiving, I pray:

God of all creation, Creator of the universe,  

I thank you for breathing life into me, 
     my loved ones, 
     my brothers and sisters throughout the world, 
     and all that inhabits our earth. 

I thank you for the winds that rustle the leaves, 
     the waves that caress the shores, 
     the sun that brings warmth and growth. 

I am grateful for the sustenance you provide for my body, mind, and spirit, 
     for the fresh waters that rain down, 
     the earth that nurtures, 
     for those that harvest, 
     for teachers and preachers, 
     and those who create technology that keeps us connected.  

I am grateful for all the gifts with which you fill my days:
     the laughter of my family, 
     the greetings of friends and neighbors, 
     the warmth of hearth and home.

Yet, my heart is heavy too, Lord. 

I miss loved ones around my table. 	

My heart hurts for others missing loved ones too 
     and for those who are alone, 
     for those who are ill, 
     those who have lost jobs, 
     those suffering injustice,
     those rebuilding from storms,
     those who have no home in which to place a table.

I am weary too. These days have been long. 
     I am tired of fear and of strife. 
     I miss hugs of greeting and farewell 
          and seeing lovely, unobscured smiles. 
     I miss community. 
     I miss closeness. 

Yet, Lord, I know that I am not alone in these heartaches. 

You dwell with us in our pain and brokenness.

You are here with us faithfully, 
     day in and day out, 
     breath in and breath out,
     you are with us. 

You are still loving us into existence 
     every moment of every day. 

You remind me of this in the strangers 
     delivering meals with a smile,
     caring for others at risk to their own lives, 
     and developing ways to protect millions. 

You remind me too in
     the giggle of the child outside my window, 
     the cry of the baby awaiting his mother, 
     the chatting of friends walking by,
     the dogs barking to each other,
     the song of the symphony on the hillside,
     and the brass quintet in the street,
     the smell of coffee in the morning,
     savory meals on the grill,
     caramel crisp leaves scuttling ’long the ground,
     and smoky backyard fires, warm and aglow. 

You are with us 
     all our days
     all our nights
     and all the moments in between. 
     You are with us. 
     Loving us. 

And, for this, I thank you, my Lord and my God.


  1. Thank you for this lovely prayer. Rebecca. Your words will continue to sustain me when I forget… They remind me that all of us in the world are blessed and loved by our compassionate creator, and when we serve each other, we serve God. Happy Advent!

  2. Thanks Rebecca. Happy Thanksgiving. Thus wrote Mahatma Gandhi: “Truth is the first thing to be sought for, and Beauty and Goodness will then be added unto you”.

    • Dr. Coelho,
      Thank you and thank you for sharing of Gandhi’s wisdom. I will remember these words.
      Prayers for you for a blessed and fruitful Advent!

  3. Thanks, Rebecca. Your prayer was read as the homily at this morning’s Thanksgiving Mass. It is very special and was so appropriate.

    • Hi Craig,
      How wonderful to be able to all raise our voices in prayer together at Thanksgiving! Thank you.
      Prayers for you for a blessed and fruitful Advent.

  4. A beautiful prayer, thank you.
    Jesus came in great humility and in the season of Advent I pray the great O Antiphons, so tied to Mary’s Magnificat, daily.

    • Greg,
      Thank you. I’m so glad that we were all able to raise our voices together to God this Thanksgiving!
      Happy Advent!

  5. Dear Rebecca

    I did so enjoy and closely relate to this writing of yours.
    Much of what you write at the beginning equates to The Canticle of the Sun – a wonderful outpouring
    of praise for all God’s creatures in nature by St Francis of Assisi.
    Various versions of this can be found online.


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