On being thankful in a time of anxiety and loss

“Let your prayers go forth in ties of blessing and times of loss, for God is with us in both.” Photo: Doidam 10
Published September 29, 2023

In this month of October, it is hard not to be anxious as wildfires this summer have ravaged homes and lands; floods and strong storms, rising temperatures and tornados have touched many and uncertain futures walk with us. Our natural world ravaged by our greed and ingratitude humbles us all to waken our eyes and hearts to changing our ways. Nature’s true power humbles rich and poor, faithful and faithless alike. And when we, either individually or collectively fail to foresee the inevitable, or lose the ability to forestall it, and when we have nowhere else to lean … we humbly turn to prayer. Through all our churches in every diocese we have raised our prayers and hearts to all affected.

On Oct. 4 we close the Season of Creation liturgical ministry that many churches have been following. In so doing we look now to Thanksgiving and harvest for the month that God has blessed us with. Many, however, will also be looking to what they have lost. Some people were told to evacuate their homes immediately; many of them paused to look for possibly the last time on all that they possessed and treasured, and a few said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the memories and the blessing of God in those things of home and security. They may also have humbly prayed to God for help—Almighty, through whom all blessing flow, guard us and grant us safety through this trial and lead us always in your light and peace, that we may see your face and promise in the days ahead. Amen—before gathering their true treasures, their family members, and fleeing to safety.

How can we be thankful in prayer when all seems lost, when it’s so easy for anger and resentment to rise up within—so easy to turn a hard word even against those who are trying to understand what it’s like to lose everything? It’s easy to shake a fist against heaven and turn your back. But God is faithful and knows our need. Prayers across the land ascend, and God knows the prayers that fall to the ground from tear-filled eyes. So let your prayers go forth in times of blessing and in times of loss, for God is with us in both. God is faithful in all seasons, and for that we should be truly thankful.


  • Archbishop Chris Harper

    Archbishop Chris Harper is national Indigenous archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Related Posts

Skip to content