By Cindi McMenamin, Crosswalk.com
Regardless of the Black Friday advertisements and focus on football, Thanksgiving is about getting together with family, sharing in a bountiful meal together, and expressing our gratitude to God for His blessings throughout the year. But when there’s a crowded house, with hustle and bustle to get the meal on the table, and everyone is hungry, it might be tempting to fire off a quick prayer so everyone can dive into the Thanksgiving meal and then get off to the deals.
If you’d like Thanksgiving to be a little more meaningful and God-honoring this year, I understand. Consider reading one of these short, simple Thanksgiving prayers before your meal. You might even ask others at your dinner table to read the other blessings. (Bestow that honor on your father or grandfather, your oldest son or daughter, or the oldest one at your table and the youngest one at your table who is able to read.)
Whether you have all believers around your table, or friends and family members who know of your faith but don’t necessarily share it, these short, and to-the-point prayers, filled with thanksgiving and gratitude, will help you all to live out the scriptural command to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It will also help you and your family pause long enough to thank God for all He’s done in your lives over the past year.
A Prayer of Thanks for Food and Family Before the Meal
Thank You, Lord God, for this food we are about to eat. Thank You for the hands that have prepared it, for those sitting around the table who are here to share it, and for the ability to be here together under one roof, and enjoy these blessings at Your hand. We realize that everything we have comes from You and for that we are eternally grateful. We also thank You for what we don’t have this year, for we trust that You have withheld in Your goodness and out of Your protection for us. Thank You that Scripture says You are a Good Father who loves to give gifts to Your children. We sit here as evidence of Your goodness. Thank You for the gift of today and all who are here to share it with us. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Thanksgiving Prayer of Joy and Gladness
Praise to you, O Lord, for you have nourished us from youth and you give food to all living things.
Fill our hearts with joy and gladness and provide for all our needs, that we may abound in every good work; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To him, with you and the Holy Spirit be glory, honor, might, majesty and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.
Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, (Public domain in the U.S.)
A Prayer of Thanks for Blessings Past and Present
Lord God, we gather around this table to humbly thank You for all that You have given us this past year – not just what is on this table, but who is sitting around this table. Thank you for life and laughter, for health and happiness, for relationships and memories. Thank you, too, for the lessons learned and the tears we’ve cried because of Your ability to grow us through them. Thank You for Your comfort and Your presence, in light of good days and bad. Thank You for what we have now, for what we had yesterday, and for what You will continue to give tomorrow. Let us never take that for granted, but to always be grateful for every good and perfect gift that comes from You. May we have hearts full of thanksgiving not only today but every day of our lives. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Amen.
Thanksgiving for Family Dinner
Father, We have gathered to share a meal in Your honor. Thank You for putting us together as family, and thank You for this food. Bless it to our bodies, Lord. We thank you for all of the gifts you’ve given to those around this table. Help each member of our family use these gifts to your glory. Guide our mealtime conversations and steer our hearts to Your purpose for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
O Lord our God and heavenly Father, in your indescribable mercy you have provided food and drink for the nourishment of our bodies.
Grant us peace to use these gifts from your hands with thankful, reverent hearts.
Let your blessing rest on these your gifts, to our comfort and health.
Grant, good Lord, that as we hunger and thirst for this food for our bodies, so may our souls earnestly long after the Bread of eternal Life, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Source: Freely modified from George Webb, “Short direction for the daily exercise of the Christian,” London 1625.
A Prayer of Thanks for Who God is and What He has Given
Heavenly Father, it is with sincere hearts that we thank You for Who You are and all You have given to us, by Your grace. Thank You not just for this food, but for your Son, whom Scripture calls the Bread of Life. Thank You, God, for the greatest gift you could ever give us: forgiveness through the death of Your Perfect Son, Jesus, on the cross for us. Thank You for the righteousness You credited toward us, through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Thank You for the hope we have, through Jesus, that we will never die, but live forever in Your presence, when we trust in Him alone for our salvation. Thank You, God, for all that You have allowed and not allowed in our lives this past year so we could rely on You more. Thank You for answered prayer, as well as unanswered prayer. We acknowledge Your goodness in what You have decided to allow and what You have determined to withhold. We commit our lives anew to You this day and ask that You would continue to remind us, throughout this next year, that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good. Thank You, finally, that we can pray in the name of Jesus, who made our access to You – and a personal relationship with You – possible. Amen.
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Start a new Thanksgiving tradition this year by choosing someone around your table to say these prayers or putting a sticker on the bottom of three plates on your table to determine who will have the honor of saying the “blessings” before the meal. After reading the three blessings, have each person around the table say, in turn, one thing (in one or two words) that they are grateful for this year.
Go humbly and gratefully into Thanksgiving Day this year. You just might be the one person who gently brings God back to the Thanksgiving table.
Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, mother, and national speaker with more than 30 years experience helping women and couples come to know God more intimately. She is the author of 16 books, including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, and When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts. She and her husband, Hugh, co-authored the book, When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. For more on her speaking ministry, books, or free articles to strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
This article is part of our larger Thanksgiving Resource Library. Learn about the first Thanksgiving, what Thanksgiving means in the Bible, how to get along with your family, and ways you can make this celebration more meaningful.
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