Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Prayers for Thanksgiving?

You’re going to be spending your first Thanksgiving with your Significant Other’s (SO) family and have been warned that you may be asked to say a prayer before the meal. This is their way of making you feel welcome and included in their family but, while you appreciate the sentiment, you’re at a loss for what to say. Maybe the prayer in your family has always been done by an older family member, or maybe your not religious and have no clue what will be expected of you.

Don’t panic. Here are some short prayers to give you an idea of what you might want to say. I’ve included ones that are specifically Christian, others that are non-denominational, and others that simply offer thanks (which would work for someone who is a humanist or an atheist).

Prayers that thank God and/or Jesus

The first is the third verse of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson (click the link for the whole poem):

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

The next is by Harry Jewell:

Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.

And here’s a few short ones. Some families might prefer something longer (ask your SO about their family), but the hungry among us appreciate brevity!:

1.Bless this food to our use
and Us to thy service.

Amen

2. Good and Gracious Lord,
Give us true and and thankful hearts

for the many blessings we are about to receive.
In Jesus name, Amen.

3. Jesus, thank you for loving us; And providing food, shelter, and each other. Every moment of our lives is a gift; And we appreciate all the time You have given us. Thank you for all our good fortune.
Amen

4. O, heavenly Father:
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.
Amen

5. God, we thank you for this food, this day, and for each other, and we ask your blessings on the sick and the needy, and all our loved ones.
Amen

This next one is a traditional Catholic prayer:

Bless us, oh Lord,
and these thy gifts
which we are about to receive
from thy bounty,
through Christ, our Lord.
Amen

If you want, you made do the sign of the cross after you say “Amen”.

 

The next one was written by Abigail Van Buren (advice columnist Dear Abby):

O Heavenly Father
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.
Amen

Bless this food we have before us, O God. Let it provide the nourishment we need.
Bless this family and our friends gathered around this table. Let us be nourished by our love and care for one another.

Bless those who have less than we have. Let our eyes be open to their needs.
Bless us as we bless your holy name on this day of thanksgiving. Let us praise and thank you always in Jesus’ name.
Amen

Here’s one for the Book of Common Prayer. It’s part of the Thanksgiving Day church service, but works well at the table too:

Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
Amen

Here are some Goldilocks prayers, not too long, not too short, they’re just right!

1. Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.
Amen

2. Father all-powerful, Your gifts of love are countless and Your goodness infinite. On Thanksgiving Day we come before You with gratitude for Your kindness: open our hearts to concern for our fellow men and women, so that we may share Your gifts in loving service.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

3. Bless this food we have before us, O God. Let it provide the nourishment we need.
Bless this family and our friends gathered around this table. Let us be nourished by our love and care for one another.
Bless those who have less than we have. Let our eyes be open to their needs.
Bless us as we bless your holy name on this day of thanksgiving. Let us praise and thank you always in Jesus’ name.
Amen

4. We thank you, Lord our God, you – who gives food to all, who heals the flesh of all, creates wonders in this world, who forged mankind in great wisdom and who gives refuge beneath the shadow of his wings.

God, from your wisdom grant us wisdom, from your love grant us love, from your understanding grant us understanding. Feed us when we are hungry, give us strength when we are weak, raise us up when we are bent over, set us free when we are enslaved.

Just as our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were blessed in all, from all, with all – may the Lord bless all of us together with a complete blessing: of peace, of strength – with the blessing of being thankful.

This one is also from the Book of Common Prayer. It’s a bit longer but you have the option of reading it directly from the prayer book:

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things..

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things.
Amen

Non-religious statements of thanks

We are thankful for the food on this table.
We are thankful for this time together.
Our thoughts go out to family and friends;
We hope that they are safe and well.

and

For the meal we are about to eat,
for those that made it possible,

and for those with whom we are about to share it,
we are thankful.

You can memorize one of these, or you can just use them for inspiration. Think about the things your are thankful for and talk about that. Say that you are thankful for your SO and his/her family, for friends, for having a job or being able to go to school, and of course, don’t forget to say you’re thankful for the food you are about to enjoy and for the people who prepared it.

Personally, I’m thankful for computers and smart phones, for modern medicine, my pets and chocolate. I could probably work being thankful for my pets into a prayer, I’m not too sure how gratitude over electronics would go over, though.

If you want, you can mention those less fortunate than you and ask that others keep them in their prayers (or thoughts, if you want to keep the offering of thanks secular). This can include the homeless, someone you know who is ill, victims of natural disasters or terrorism…pray for France.

french flag