Blessed Thanksgiving

A Blessed Thanksgiving

Today, Americans of every race, creed, religion and belief gather to give thanks. It is a day for family and friends, for feasting and for favor.

In 1863, when our country was literally torn apart by civil war, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of thanks. Even in the midst of great conflict and animus, Lincoln prayed that every American be able to give thanks.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

May we all enjoy a Thanksgiving of abundance, of reverence, of mercy and the tender care of those who are most in need.

answer prayer

Answer To Prayers

“How do we ask for things?” I reminded my 4-year old daughter for the umpteenth time that day.

“Mommy may I please go in the backyard?” she asked.

“Well, I’m making dinner, so you will have to ask Daddy to go out with you,” I explained, “and he can say yes or he can say no, but the choice is his, not yours and you have to be OK with either answer, all right?”

This conversation is typical in our house with a 5-year old, 4-year old and 2-year old. As I read today’s Gospel, I was struck at how easily one could take it as a magic formula: I ask God for something and He gives it to me. Except we know that God and prayer don’t work that way.

Prayer is a conversation with God and prayers of petition are certainly an important part of the conversation. However, our prayer conversation is incomplete if we only utilize this single form. The other forms of prayer – thanksgiving, intercession, praise and adoration – along with petition work together to develop our relationship with God. It is important to realize the other 4 forms of prayer encourage us to grow in our understanding of our true needs and how we ask for them to be fulfilled.

We give thanks for what we have been given, rather than focusing on what we do not have. We intercede for others, recognizing that their needs are just as important as our own. We offer praise to God for His goodness and mercy. We adore God, acknowledging our complete reliance on our Creator. In this light, our true prayers of petition are found. And most importantly, we learn how to accept the will of our Father as the fullest answer to our prayers.

What is one prayer form you would like to grow in this week that will help you petition God in a deeper, more meaningful way?

Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of prayer and thank you for modeling the ultimate prayer of petition in the garden before your Passion. Please open my heart so that I can learn to ask for God’s will to be done in all things.


Today’s guest blogger is Kate Taliaferro, an Air Force wife and mom of 3 under 4. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God’s presence everywhere, be it in cooking, cleaning, homeschooling or just the everyday ordinary. Follow her blog, Daily Graces, to join her family as they strive for sainthood amidst playgrounds, art projects, and lots of imagination. This reflection has been used with permission from

A.C.T.S. prayer

A.C.T.S.: A Way To Pray

We all experience times when our prayer lives need a boost. Maybe we slip out of the habit of praying without intending to. Maybe we have a crisis in our life and the only prayer we can think of is “Help!” Maybe we just get stuck in a rut.

Here is a simple way to pray: A.C.T.S. or ACTS.

A: Adoration. We praise Almighty God! We praise Him for his promises kept, for His goodness to us, His beauty in nature. We praise His for the gift of Christ Jesus, His Son, who gave His life that we may have eternal life. We praise the Holy Spirit for endowing us richly with gifts that sustain us. Adoration acknowledges that God is God Almighty, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega.

C: Confession. We fail. We sin. We stumble and fall. Sometimes it takes us a while to get back up again. The Church has a wonderful tradition of examining one’s conscience every night before sleep. Of course, if we are in the state of mortal sin, we must avail ourselves to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, regularly acknowledging our failings and asking God for his mercy and forgiveness is a valuable part of a solid prayer life.

T: Thanksgiving. We all have things to be thankful for, even when life is difficult or we are facing a crisis. We can be thankful for a kind co-worker, for the offers of prayers from others. We can be thankful for family and friends. We give God thanks for our safe travels, our homes, and every small blessing we receive every day. The habit of thanking God reminds us that no matter what is going on in our lives, God is present.

S: Supplication. Finally, we present our needs and the needs of others to God. We all need protection from evil. We may ask God for healing and restoration, whether from illness or a broken relationship. Of course, God knows all our needs before we even approach Him in prayer, but by bringing our needs and others’ to Him, we acknowledge God’s power in our lives, in our world. We know His promise of answering every prayer perfectly.

If you need a “boost” in your prayer life, try this simple method: ACTS. May we always praise God for His mercy and love!