I'm Grateful, God

I'm Grateful God:
A Thanksgiving Prayer for Everyone


I’m grateful, God, for so many things.   Now, I know I’m not the most grateful person you know, God, so let me take some time to tell you what I’m thankful for.

I’m grateful, God, for the gift of life.  Without you I wouldn’t be here.  Without you nothing would be here.  Without you nothing would be at all. 

I’m grateful for my parents, God.  Even if they weren’t perfect, or completely functional, they loved me the best they could and worked hard to make sure that I had enough to eat, that I was clothed and that I had a place to sleep.  I’ll never know all that they did for me, like the things they did for me when I was a baby, but I can be grateful for the things that I know.  Help me to be a grateful child, and remind me to be grateful in person.  If my parents have ended their time on earth and are with you, help me to be thankful for their lives, and fill me with the hope of meeting them again in your company, where I’ll be able to say thanks again. 

I’m grateful for my friends, God.  Even if I have only one good friend in my life right now, I’m so grateful.  God, you show your love for me through my friends in ways that I sometimes overlook.  They give me advice, sometimes when I need it, sometimes when I don’t, which in both situations is a sign of their care for me.  They listen to me complain, which I do too much, and they celebrate with me, even if things aren’t always going well for them.  They help me to laugh.  And they help me to laugh at myself.  That alone is reason to be thankful.  Help me to be a good friend in return.

I’m grateful for my family, God.  Yes, I know that all families are a little nutty, and mine is no exception.  Even Jesus’s family tree had its share of complications.  But I’m thankful that, even with the nuttiness, I’m part of a family that has helped to make me the person I am.  I know that they try to love me the best that they can.  Help me to be a good family member, trying to help out when I can, make the phone call or pay a visit when they’re lonely, and keep my mouth shut when I should be listening, or when I don’t have anything sensible to add to the conversation.   

I’m grateful for my job, God.  It’s not always a bed of roses, but at least I have a place to work and I am able to make ends meet.  That’s more than many people have.  And I know the people I work with can drive me crazy, but they are doing their best, too.  Help me to be a good co-worker, to give people the benefit of the doubt, to care for the people with whom I work, and not to take everything so seriously on the job.  And help me remember that all work done freely and with a loving heart is worthy in your site.

I’m grateful, God, for all the things that I know many people in this world don’t have.  And that’s a long list.  So I’m grateful for food.  And clean water that is easily available.  And clothes.  And heat in the winter and air conditioning and screens in the summer.  I’m grateful that I can go to the doctor and get a check up and even get shots to help me avoid illness.  That’s a lot more than most people have.  Help me to be grateful and help me remember that I can help those who have less by being generous.  That’s one way of thanking you.

Did I mention how much I appreciate all the things you created?  For the color of orange autumn leaves against the deep blue sky?  For the smell of the sidewalk after a thunderstorm on a hot summer afternoon?  For the way that the frost makes crazy patterns on windows in the winter?  For the amazing smell of daffodils in the springtime?  While I’m at it, I’m also grateful for the beach (that’s a pretty great thing you created); the mountains (also great); and sunsets (really great).  And hamburgers, too.

Most of all, God, I’m grateful for your presence in my life.  You’re everywhere, and you invite me to meet you every moment of the day.  I know that it is you who turn my mind to thoughts of gratitude.  And when I’m tempted to focus only on the problems and worries and fears, I know that I’m being led away from you. 

Now, I’m not always as thankful as I should be, but today I am.  Today I will try to be grateful all day, since you, God, are generous all day to me, like you are every day. 


James Martin, SJ 



Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
5 years 8 months ago
This is a beautiful Thanksgiving prayer, Fr. Jim.  It is hard to add to it, but I  would like to add a personal thank you....To God, for giving me another chance at life and to you, Fr. Jim, for your inspiration that has meant so much to me.  Blessings  and wishes for a happy Thanksgiving Day for you and your loved ones.
David Pasinski
5 years 8 months ago
Great prayer, Fr. Jim, thank YOU... maybe I'll repeat part of it at our Thanksgiving Mass tomorrow... but I need to always acknowledge eecummings ("i thank you,god...") and Ina Hughes "Prayer for Children" which never loses its ainful pongnancy- especially perhaps at holidays...
Kevin Murphy
5 years 8 months ago
A bit verbose and sentimental.


The latest from america

 A photo panel shows Pennsylvania Bishops Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg, David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh, Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Alfred A. Schlert of Allentown, Edward C. Malesic of Greensburg and Lawrence T. Persico of Erie. The Pennsylvania attorney general released a grand jury report Aug. 14 on a months-long investigation into abuse claims spanning a 70-year period in the six dioceses. (CNS photo/courtesy of the dioceses)
The state’s attorney general said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims.
One of the leading novelists of our age on faith, fiction and his distrust of religious institutions.
James T. KeaneAugust 14, 2018
Panel members Ivor Frank and Alexis Jay at a public hearing of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (courtesy of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse)
The new report finds evidence of appalling sexual and physical mistreatment of students as young as 7, as well as a culture of secrecy, at two abbey schools.
David StewartAugust 14, 2018
The Gospel calls on all of us to get past “analysis paralysis,” where direct action is always put off in favor of more research and discernment.
Mary M. McConnahaAugust 14, 2018