It's amazing how good we can be at missing the point. When it comes to holidays like Thanksgiving, we can so easily move away from its purposes and allow the day to be taken over by alternatives like food and football. Don't get me wrong, those are two of my all time FAVORITE things about life. But even still we can end our day on Thursday being full of food and go to sleep no more grateful than when we woke up.
Thanksgiving was intended to be a celebration of unlikely friendships, people coming together across all boundaries, and acknowledging our dependance on God and our neighbors. We don't have to relegate these truths to an afterthought. Instead, we can begin new traditions and practices with our friends and family to help us all cultivate a heart of gratitude.
One simple, yet profound, way that you can do this is by reciting a prayer before your Thanksgiving feast begins. After you have all gone around the table saying what you are thankful for this year, consider doing another lap each reading a line of a prayer of thanksgiving. If your family is as big as mine, consider having the Oldest member of the family reading the prayer over the rest of the family and all agreeing with an amen.
Here are five prayers of thanksgiving that you can use to start a new tradition of gratitude:
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray
We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing
We’re slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold
But Lord, I’d like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for
For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head
I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know
Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure
That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace
So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited
- Scott Wesemann
Thanksgiving Dinner Prayer
Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day
We bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You’ve done
Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see
For joy and health, friends and family,
For daily provision, Your mercy and care
These are the blessings You graciously share.
So today we offer this response of praise
With a promise to follow You all of our days.
- Mary Fairchild
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.
*This article was inspired by this post written by David Peach
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Jonathon grew up in six different states across the Western United States. He made his way to Southern California to attend Vanguard University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. Currently, he is pursuing a Master's of Divinity Degree at Azusa Pacific University where he also works doing campus ministry with college students. Jonathon is passionate about discipleship to Jesus and innovation, especially when those two spaces meet. He aspires to encourage people to live well-curated lives of purpose and passion. You can find Jonathon living in his beloved city of Costa Mesa, California with his amazing wife, Cyndi. Oh yeah, and he is a HUGE Raiders fan.