A portrait of Johnny Cash in 1972 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Johnny Cash's 'Thanksgiving Prayer' Suits Times of Trouble

Thanksgiving Day tends be difficult nowadays for many Americans. There is continued disagreement between both sides of the spectrum. If your family is anything like the average family, this is a recipe for disaster over the dinner table. Doesn't really kick things off in a positive note for Christmas, does it?

In times of turmoil and doubt we obviously turn to Johnny Cash: an old, trusty favorite in country music who gives us some perspective on being grateful. In this obscure video, the Man in Black (or in this case, denim overalls) offers up a beautiful poem followed by an otherwise unreleased (we think) song. Cash sits down at a dinner table before sharing his Thanksgiving prayer. In it, a farmer gives his thanks for the warm sun and singing birds, despite not having a turkey to put on the table.

Cash offers perhaps the most pertinent and evergreen line in the whole performance with a Thanksgiving prayer. "And thank you for this country, too," he says. "We've troubles now, and pain. But with your help, Lord, we'll get back to where the road is smooth again." Watch the full video below.

There's not much information about what TV show it originally aired on. And, aside from this performance, there's no documentation of this medley or even a title for it.

The message of the Thanksgiving song, just like that of the prayer of Thanksgiving beforehand, rings true. Cash sings of cursing his aching feet and his measly pay. But then corrects his tune, remembering that he's really doing fine despite his troubles. Giving thanks for these simple gifts sets such a great example during the busy holiday season.

Before you engage in the inevitable family discussions —or arguments— next week, maybe play the Thanksgiving Prayer offered up by Cash and keep it all in perspective. Inspire your whole family to be truly grateful for what you have, even if it's just the sun shining.

In addition, Cash is credited with singing an equally beautiful song titled "Thanksgiving Prayer" in a 1994 holiday episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, a popular series which starred family friend Jane Seymour and sometimes featured Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash. That's a newer song though, written by show producer Josef Anderson and sometimes listed as "I'm Thinking the Lord He Made You." It's included on Cash's Unsurpassed American Masters album. Listen to a version by his sister, Joanna Cash, here.

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This story was originally published in 2016.