Joan O’Neill

When I was in 8th grade, I wrote a prayer for my English class about my gratitude for the gracious gift of life we have all received from God. I didn’t know at the time that my father had cancer and would leave us before we could celebrate another Thanksgiving together. He left behind 9 children who would later marry and bring 25 children into the world, who have to date given birth to another 32 children. Our family is so blessed.

But my father’s premature death gave me more than an appreciation for our life on earth. At his burial I saw our family gravestone for the first time, with the inscription “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  (Luke 23:43) That was when I understood the significance of God’s gift of eternal life, for I knew that even as I grieved the loss of my dad, that he was with our Father. I took great comfort in knowing that he continued to live and felt his presence as I navigated my way through my teenage years and entered the world of adulthood.

I will always treasure this plaque with my simple prayer because it reflects the feelings I have had my entire life, written in the simple language of a child of God.

Let Us Pray:

Lord God,
I thank thee for thy
gracious gift of life which
thou hast given me and
all the world.
And I beg of thee that
thou wouldst have others
learn to love it as I have.
Amen.

Perhaps you can list 2–3 things, people, or aspects
of your life for which you are thankful today.

Be a writer for gratitude: Kenilworth Union Church invites you to become part of a gratitude journey, diverse members within the church will author these devotions. Find out more here.

Posted on October 22, 2020