Gratitude Day 862
Psalm 107:1: Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
As important as the food and fellowship are on Thanksgiving, I think the crown jewel of the Thanksgiving meal is not a perfectly moist turkey.
Or a slice of heavenly pie.
Not even the best cranberry relish.
What is the crown jewel of Thanksgiving?
The table grace.
Yet, this maybe the part of the Thanksgiving meal that is only thought about mere seconds before it is time to eat.
People may spend hours preparing the food, decorating the table and creating a beautiful centerpiece but almost no thought about the grace until it is time to eat.
I get it. Preparing a table grace can feel daunting. Intimidating. Even more difficult than making your first turkey. To help you and your family out, I’ve pulled together 12 prayer options that you can use at your Thanksgiving gathering; really, before any meal.
One year, I lived overseas as a missionary. Yes, it was 25 years ago. One thing I remember another missionary saying is this: “Table grace is not the time to catch up on your prayer life.” What he means is that prayer should be a regular part of our lives outside of meal grace.
Over the years, there have been times when I have depended too much on a table grace as the prayer time in my life. Some days I am more intentional about prayer than others. Table grace is a gentle reminder that prayer should be a regular part of our lives that gets fully incorporated into our daily lives. Yes, at times, it will be a catch-all prayer time. The point is, God loves to hear from you at times other than mealtime.
Do you have a regular prayer that you use every Thanksgiving? If so, great! If you need a little inspiration, please read on. There are regular table graces mixed in with some other prayers as well. Table grace is a wonderful opportunity to involve all or someone else (including children) in your celebration. I hope these prayers will inspire you to think more creatively about your table grace this Thanksgiving.
Hubby Rick’s & I Regular Table Grace:
Believe it or not, I learned this prayer in college. Yep, with a bunch of other women. I belonged and lived at a women’s group in college. Four nights a week, Monday through Thursday, we ate dinner together. And this is the prayer that we shared before every meal. I have used this prayer at thousands of gatherings. It’s easy, simple and short. When I am in a more public setting, I will often use a prayer that reflects the event and add this little prayer at the end:
Thank you, God, for happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather.
Thank you, God, for the food we eat and that we are together. Amen.
Prayer for Children to Say:
Dear God, thank you for the sun and the warmth and life it gives. Thank you for the creation and the beauty it brings. Thank you for my family and friends and the fun and joy they share. Thank you for the food that gives me strength. But most of all, thank you for your love and protection over me. Amen.
Prayer for the people I love:
We give thanks for family – those relatives by blood, adoption, and friends that find me when I am alone. You’ve gifted and given talents to each member in my circle. You have plans for each one of us. And they are good. Thank you for those near and far. May we feel Your love and warmth as well as the joy of one another today. Amen.
We Thank Thee – by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For flowers that bloom about our feet, Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet, Father, we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For blue of stream and blue of sky, Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high, Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze
For beauty of the blooming trees, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
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. Amen.
Prayer for Many Blessings
Loving Lord: As I express my gratitude to you in prayer, may it be a pleasing, joyful sound to you.
Thank you, Lord, for your love. It brings me acceptance and significance.
Thank you, Lord, for your truth. It brings me guidance and direction.
Thank you, Lord, for your mercy. It brings me help and comfort.
Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness. It brings me stability and strength.
Thank you, Lord, for your beauty displayed in the earth. It brings me joy and delight.
Thank you, Lord, for your way, the cross. Amen.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Heavenly Father, I am so grateful today. My heart overflows with gratitude. For eyes that see, for ears that hear, for fingers that grasp, for knees that bend, for lungs that breathe. I am so thankful for my family, my home, my Savior. Today, I ask for nothing and thank you for all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Peace Prayer – by St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Common Table Prayer
Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. Thy creatures bless and grant that we may feast in paradise with Thee.
Prayer of Gratitude
O God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry. When I have work, help me to remember the jobless. When I have a home, help me to remember those who have no home at all. When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer. And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency, bestir my compassion, and be concerned enough to help, by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.
General Thanksgiving Prayer
O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work, and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.
Thanksgiving Prayer Poem – by Scott Wesemann
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 minutes 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. Amen!
A Simple Prayer of Thanks
Dear God, on this Thanksgiving Day,
I want to pause and thank you for your blessings.
For another day, for family, friends, for food on the table.
You are the source of all good things,
We praise you for the simple things that bring us joy.
Help us keep our eyes on you this day and every day
So our lives may be filled with praise and joy. Amen.
For the encouragement to pick a helpful Thanksgiving table grace, I am grateful.
Holy God – May we be encouraged to think of our table grace as an important part of our meal; whether it be during a Thanksgiving meal celebration or when we are eating alone. Thank you for these moments to pause and give You thanks. Amen.
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