When You Cannot nor Do not Feel Like Being Thankful this Thanksgiving, Why Should we Pray? 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18English Standard Version

Final Instructions and Benediction

12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[a] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Signs of the Thanksgiving season are everywhere this week.

Everywhere we go we are consistently reminded by everyone an everything we see we are to give thanks for all that we have, especially our friends and family.

But what if maybe you an I do not feel thankful?

Maybe this year we are unable to locate one single reason to be thankful.

Maybe you an I are lacking close relationships or recently have gone through a major breakup or loss of a loved one. Maybe you an I do have others in our life, but our relationships are too complex, too conflictual or way too disappointing.

Perhaps the economic climate in our families precludes our usual shopping day.

Perhaps we have lost our job or have serious or chronic health problems, which make it difficult to feel thankful.

Or we might struggle with homelessness, a new high risk of homelessness or addictions, or depression or other mental health problems that make getting through every day a huge challenge we do not feel like confronting.

Maybe there is someone in our family who has become seriously ill and is now unable to participate in the festivities, maybe they have moved far away, there is no money anywhere for anybody to travel the distance now between you both.

Maybe our loved ones are members of the Armed Forces of our countries and the situation is such that no one is able to get those “orders” to travel home.

Perhaps we now have no home to go to because of major weather events which have destroyed the home or flooded it out or made it uninhabitable an unsafe.

Perhaps the home you knew or had just bought, has burned to the ground.

Perhaps the home you knew is now the home you can never go back to because you are a refugee or an immigrant fleeing a dangerous and unstable situation.

If one of these situations resonates with you, or resonates with me, we might not be feeling very thankful this season and we pray others to leave us alone.

For some other people, reminders to be thankful can bring joy. But what are the effects of being prompted to be thankful when you just aren’t feeling thankful?

Unfortunately, when you aren’t feeling thankful, even the minutest, smallest of reminders to be thankful are “offensive,” can make you and me feel even worse.

When you are struggling, being prompted to be thankful may seem insensitive.

You may feel misunderstood, alone, or isolated.

You might feel like everyone around you is thankful and full of joy, and you are alone in your thanklessness.

You may feel annoyed or even angry if it seems that others want you to be thankful to fit their schema for the holiday. If you have tried to feel thankful and just cannot bring yourself to do it, you may feel disappointed in yourself.

I confess… some days I don’t feel thankful. On those days I can still make of list of all my blessings, but instead of it propelling feelings of gratitude it makes me feel that much more guilty its not there, you cannot put it there. 

It’s a horrible feeling to be trying with everything you have to feel something you know you should be feeling but are not and do not believe you are allowed. 

Does that ever happen to you?

Is this a familiar sensation?

If this is how you feel, getting through the holiday can be challenging.

Here are some ideas for making it a bit easier.

1. Accept your feelings and be compassionate with yourself. 

You may think that you are supposed to feel thankful on Thanksgiving.

This is especially true if there are some aspects of your life that are positive, such as good health or a steady job.

However, sometimes our struggles weigh heavily on us, making it difficult to appreciate our blessings.

If this is happening to you, that is alright.

It happens to the best of us.

Not being able to feel thankful doesn’t make someone a “bad person.”

You may be having a tough time, and the tough times may be fleeting or may be more longstanding.

Either way, please see yourself as a good person, and treat yourself with the compassion and understanding that you deserve.

Accepting your feelings is important because it can bring you more peace than trying to fight them.

In addition, accepting your feelings is important because denying feelings can lead to other problems.

“Fake it till you Make it?”

If you are determined to stride into Thanksgiving pretending to feel something that you don’t, this façade can crumble in a hurry during the day, leading you to feel embarrassed or even worse than when you started in the first place.

2. Make a plan for challenging interactions. 

Many holidays have fallen apart as a result of quibbling throughout the day or full-blown arguments.

If you somehow anticipate being annoyed, irritated or provoked by someone during the day, whether it’s your mother-in-law, third cousin, or own spouse or child, make a plan now for how you will react. First, foremost – Pray to God!

Thanksgiving dinner is definitely not the most opportune time for proving that case you are right or making a case for something controversial that is vitally important to you, especially if you are out of sorts and not feeling your best.

Instead of trying to win those arguments, try embracing the goal of getting through the day with as much of God’s grace and God’s peace as possible.

To do this, you need to think about what you will do when someone sets you off or gets under your skin that will deescalate the tension.

This could be ignoring a comment, agreeing if you can, agreeing to disagree, changing the subject, or saying you aren’t going to talk about a particular topic.

Doing any of these things will probably mean that you are being the bigger person. This may not be “fair,” may seem like you are avoiding, but it will increase the chances of you making it through your day with less stress.

3. Make a plan if you are going to spend the day alone. 

For any number of reasons, many people find themselves dining alone on Thanksgiving when they rather would spend the day with others.

There are ways to get around this: inviting others to your home, asking a friend if you can join them (even if doing so is a little awkward), or volunteering at a church or at a homeless shelter or other location serving Thanksgiving dinner.

If none of these ideas appeal to you or are possible, you can still make peace with the holiday on your own. The irony here is that many of us would typically be thrilled to have a day to ourselves with no expectations for productivity.

However, the day can feel mightily empty when it’s a holiday.

Now is the time to start re-framing how you think about this day on your own.

This may not be what you wanted, but it’s what you have.

So, how can you make the best of it?

What would you do if the day were not a holiday?

Thinking about this now is important so you can research what shops or restaurants will be closed and gather whatever you need for your day now.

Remember too that a good plan does not necessarily mean that you won’t have feelings of sadness or disappointment.

But a good plan for filling the time with things you enjoy should help the hours roll by faster and with more pleasant moments.

4. End the day with something to look forward to. 

What do you most enjoy doing in the hour or two before going to sleep?

Maybe it’s a cozy spot with a good book, or a bath and glass of wine, or a long drive, or walk outside.

Whatever it is, do it.

If you have a busy day with friends or family, prioritize carving out and protecting this time.

If you are on your own, save these activities for the end of the day.

Doing this will serve two purposes.

First, you will have something to look forward to as you make your way through your day.

Second, it is a way of rewarding yourself.

By evening, you will have made it through a day that you found challenging.

This is not an easy feat, and you should take pride in what you have done.

How Does the Word of God encourage Us during particularly Hard Times?

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18New American Standard Bible

Christian Conduct

12 But we ask you, brothers and sisters, to recognize those who diligently labor among you and [a]are in leadership over you in the Lord, and give you [b]instruction, 13 and that you regard them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14 We urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the [c]unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek what is good for one another and for all people. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

As believers, we are taught to pray.

But what are we taught to pray?

The Word of God for the Children of God

– Begin to Reflect upon something an someone far, far greater than yourself,

Upon God, the Father an Go the Son and Holy Spirit,

Even if you do not know the words – Sing Psalms ….

For example ….

Psalm 42English Standard Version

Book Two

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil[a] of the Sons of Korah.

42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation[c] and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

But why should we pray when we do not feel like it?

But why should we pray when we cannot bring ourselves to do it?

Prayer, even the most silent and most anguished of prayers brings us into a time of sacred communion with God, the maker and sustainer of the universe.

God gives us life, and he sustains our daily living.

We should pray because God has everything we need and wants us to flourish.

What’s more, we should pray, even in silence, even when we feel like crying because in prayer we give thanks to God for all that he is and all that he does.

In prayer, even the most silent and anguished prayer, we recognize our ­utter dependence on God. It can be hard to admit that we are completely dependent.

But at the same time every anguished prayer opens our hearts to more fully experience the breathtaking scope of God’s amazing grace and mercy for us.

Thanksgiving in prayer is not just a good idea or a suggestion, though.

It’s a command, as the apostle Paul reminds us.

By rejoicing always, praying continually, we obey the will of God for us in Christ Jesus who taught His disciples to pray, under any and every last circumstance:

From the Scriptures:

He (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.
–Luke 11:1-4 (NRSV)

Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
For if you forgive others of their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
–Matthew 6:9-15 (NRSV)

Sometimes we think of such “continual” commands as an even worse burden.

But obeying this command (1 Thessalonians 5:12-18)will bless us beyond measure, put us in the best position for loving and serving God in the world.

So when you pray today (and always), spend time communing with God, ask him for whatever you need, in the living Word of God and feel the strong rush of his grace and mercy resulting in a sense of gratitude that shapes all you do.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Creator God, your mighty hand threw chaos aside, your hand created heaven and earth, your hand threw the stars into space and the same hand which created me, now reaches down to me with the very gentlest and healing of touches. Yet God, I don’t have the strength to deal with the situation I am facing right now. I pray please uphold me with your stronger than my own righteous right hand. I don’t know what else to do now, or who else to turn to, please help me. You say that I do not need to be afraid, do not need to let my heart be troubled or dismayed because you are my God and you are with me. Still I hurt! Help me to know your presence in the midst of my circumstances and draw strength from you. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

One thought on “When You Cannot nor Do not Feel Like Being Thankful this Thanksgiving, Why Should we Pray? 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18”

  1. Have you ever stopped to think why the entire World celebrates Christmas? And what exactly are we celebrating?

    The simple answer to why the World celebrates Christmas is because the Bible is translated in over 704 languages world-wide and another 1551 languages for the New Testament. The first book of the New Testament is Matthew which defines the events leading to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. “But while he thought on these things behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying , Joseph, thou son of of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost”. Matthew 1:20.

    “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins”. Matthew 1:21

    The Bible describes how Jesus was conceived in Mary and that Joseph was chosen to be the father by God. Joseph, the son of David who was one of God’s most trusted earthly prophets, and yes, the same David from David and Goliath lore. While the world celebrates Christmas and Peace and Goodwill towards your fellow man, it is important to remember the true meaning of the celebration. The celebration is much more than the birth of Jesus, it was actually the birth of a man being the only son of God who walked on this earth for but a few years as a human. In his time on earth he tried to impart the word of God on everyone and everywhere he went. He also waged battle against Satan. He performed miracles along the way and was eventually crucified on a cross out of fear that Jesus was blasphemous and pretending to be someone he was not. In todays times, more than ever we need to steady our spiritual relationship with God and Jesus Christ. A great way to start is the first book of the New Testament Matthew. You will truly be immersed in the story and hopefully have more thought on what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.

    In search for your meaning of life? The answer is in your Journey.
    As of this writing, we are now over 3 years of a post Covid era. The Covid era has had a major impact on lives around the world. Lost family members, friends,…
    Jesus is Confronted by Satan
    Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 4:2 And when he had fasted forth days and forty nights, he was…

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    Each day ends with the same two prayers: Memorare to St. Joseph and Prayer to St. Joseph.

    The text for each day is below the photo.

    Or click here to view it.

    Memorare to St. Joseph
    Remember, most pure spouse of Mary, ever Virgin, my loving protector, Saint Joseph, that no one ever had recourse to your protection or asked for your aid without obtaining relief. Confiding, therefore, in your goodness, I come before you and humbly implore you. Despise not my petitions, foster-father of the Redeemer, but graciously receive them. Amen.

    Prayer to St. Joseph
    (The Prayer that Never Fails)
    Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so prompt, so strong, before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers. Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departed souls – pray for me. Amen. *

    * This prayer was found in the fiftieth year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it, or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death or be drowned, nor shall poison take effect on them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy, or shall be burned in any fire or shall be overpowered in any battle. Say for nine mornings in a row for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail. Imprimatur: September 25, 1950 Hugh C. Boyle, Bishop of Pittsburgh

    Novena to St. Joseph
    DAY 1
    Holy patron, thee saluting

    Here we meet, with hearts sincere;

    Blest St. Joseph, all uniting

    Call on thee to hear our prayer.

    O great St. Joseph, with feelings of unlimited confidence, we beg you to bless this novena that we begin in your honor. “You are never invoked in vain” says the seraphic St. Theresa of Jesus. Be you then to me what you have been to that spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and graciously hear me as you did her. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 2
    Thou who faithfully attended

    Him whom heav’n and earth adore;

    Who with pious care defended Mary,

    Virgin ever pure.

    O blessed Saint Joseph, tenderhearted father, faithful guardian of Jesus, chaste spouse of the Mother of God, we pray and beseech you to offer to God the Father, His divine son, bathed in blood on the Cross for sinners, and through the thrice holy name of Jesus obtain for us of the eternal Father the favors for which we implore your intercession. Amid the splendors of eternity, forget not the sorrows of those who pray, those who weep; stay the almighty arm which smites us, that by your prayers and those of your most holy spouse, the Heart of Jesus may be moved to pity and to pardon. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 3
    May our fervent pray’rs ascending

    Move thee for our souls plead;

    May thy smile of peace descending,

    Benedictions on us shed.

    Blessed St. Joseph, enkindle in our cold hearts a spark of your charity. May God be always the first and only object of our affections. Keep our souls always in sanctifying grace and, if we should be so unhappy as to lose it, give us the strength to recover it immediately by a sincere repentance. Help us to such a love of our God as will always keep us united to Him. O glorious St. Joseph, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ and for the glory of His name, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 4
    Through this life, O watch around us!

    Fill with love our ev’ry breath,

    And, when parting fear surrounds us,

    Guide us through the toils of death.

    Saint Joseph, pride of Heaven, unfailing hope for our lives, and support of those on earth, graciously accept our prayer of praise. You were appointed spouse of the chaste Virgin by the Creator of the world. He willed that you be called “father” of the Word and serve as agent of our salvation. May the triune God who bestowed upon you heavenly honors, be praised forever. And may He grant us through your merits the joy of a blessed life and a favorable answer to our petition. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 5
    Happy saint, in bliss adoring Jesus,

    Savior of humankind,

    Hear thy children thee imploring,

    May we thy protection find.

    O holy St. Joseph, what a lesson your life is for us, ever so eager to appear so anxious to display before the eyes of men the graces that we owe entirely to the liberality of God. In addition to the special favor for which we plead in this novena, grant that we may attribute to God the glory of all things, that we may love the humble and hidden life, that we may not desire any other position than the one given us by Providence and that we may always be a docile instrument in the hands of God. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 6
    A just man honord from above,

    A silent man, a man of love,

    St. Joseph served the Lord alone

    On exile’s road, in fam’ly home.

    O glorious Saint Joseph, appointed by the Eternal Father as the guardian and protector of the life of Jesus Christ, the comfort and support of His Holy Mother, and the instrument in His great design for the redemption of mankind; you who had the happiness of living with Jesus and Mary, and of dying in their arms, be moved with confidence we place in you, and procure for us from the Almighty, the particular favors which we humbly ask through your intercession. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 7
    A man who acted on the word,

    He carried out what he had heard:

    He took the Mother and her Child

    From scorner’s stone and tyrant wild.

    Oh faithful and prudent Saint Joseph, watch over our weakness and our inexperience; obtain for us that prudence which reminds us of our end, which directs our paths and which protects us from every danger. Pray for us, then, O great Saint, and by your love for Jesus and Mary, and by their love for you, obtain for us the favors we ask in this novena. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 8
    A man of faith, a man of trust,

    He bore whatever loss he must

    To keep the Mother and her Son

    Until his life’s great work was done.

    O blessed Joseph, to whom it was given not only to see and to hear that God whom many kings longed to see and saw not; to hear and heard not; but also to carry Him in your arms, to embrace Him, to clothe Him, and to guard and defend Him, come to our assistance and intercede with Him to look favorably on our present petition. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph

    DAY 9
    We praise you, God of majesty,

    One holy threefold Mystery;

    Be Father, Son, and Spirit blest

    By all who share in evening’s rest.

    O good Saint Joseph, help us to be like you, gentle to those whose weakness leans on us; help us to give to those who seek our aid, succor that they may journey unafraid. Give us your faith, that we may see the right shining above the victories of might. Give us your hope that we may stand secure, untouched by doubting, steadfast to endure. Give us your love that as the years increase an understanding heart may bring us peace. Give us your purity that the hour of death finds us untouched by evil’s breath. Give us your love of labor that we shirk no lot in life that calls us for honest work. Give us your love of poverty so that we live contented, let wealth come or go. Give us your courage that we may be strong; give us your meekness to confess our sins. Give us your patience that we may possess the kingdom of our souls without distress. Help us, dear Saint, to live that when life ends we pass with you to Jesus and His friends. O Glorious Saint Joseph, hear our prayers and obtain our petitions. Amen.

    + Memorare to St. Joseph

    + Prayer to St. Joseph


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