Some Thoughts on Gratitude & a Prayer of Thanksgiving

It doesn’t have to be the
blue Iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot..
just pay attention, then
patch a few words together..
this isn’t a contest, but the
doorway into thanks…

– Mary Oliver, Praying

It begins with simply paying attention, noticing, seeing the countless gifts we are given every day: another new day itself, a safe, secure, comfortable night’s sleep, the first smell of coffee brewing, the sharp taste of an orange, a sweet morning kiss. We will be together this week with our dearest ones, spouses, family, friends, and we will be reminded again, not only of the amazing abundance we enjoy in this land and the priceless freedom that is ours, but more basically, the very miracle of our lives, the hours and days and weeks and years we have been given.

So, pay attention, notice, see, count everything for which you are grateful and find a way to say thanks.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Dear God, thank you for this amazing world, for sun and rain, wind and snow, for bright stars and soft moonlight, for changing seasons and nature perfectly attuned to sustain and delight us. Thank you for food and shelter, for security and freedom. Thank you for the people with whom we share the gift of life: our dearest ones, our spouses and partners and lovers, our parents and children, our closest, best friends with whom we laugh and grieve, hope and dream.

Thank you God for men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and who are separated from loved ones this Thanksgiving, particularly those who are in harm’s way. Thank you for all people who make possible our life together: police, firefighters, sanitation workers, first responders, Emergency Room doctors and Nurses – all those good people who serve the common good. And dear God, in the midst of our own plenty we pray for those less fortunate than we. Bless the needy and hungry and homeless and bless especially those who bring food and shelter and love to them.

Thank you for the feast, for the delicious food we will eat and those who lovingly planned and prepared and served it.

Thank you, Eternal God, for those with whom we have celebrated many Thanksgivings and who are no longer with us. Thank you for the gift of their lives and their love.

And thank you, dear God, for you, for your love that created us and that nurtures in us the greatest gift of being able to love and be loved. Thank you for your love from which nothing can ever separate us.

Hear this humble prayer of gratitude. Amen.

John M. Buchanan


  1. Dr. Buchanan,
    What a joy and privilege it is to be able to hear your sermons at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to hear you preach. Your remarkable insights into faith, theology, and the human condition have been such a blessing to my wife and me. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Tim and Becky Weaver

  2. Margaret Laing says:

    Thank you so much. It is a joy to read notes in my Bible — and today I found the verse “hold on to what is good” marked “Dr. Buchanan’s Benediction.” I think I’ll add “and blog title” now.

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