November brings with it the flurry of preparation for the upcoming holidays, and in these next few weeks as menus and guest lists are planned, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about the annual tradition of the Thanksgiving prayer or blessing.
Perhaps you give the blessing each year, or maybe you’ll be invited to lead a prayer
as a guest in someone’s home. If the latter makes you tremble like Tom Turkey in the barnyard, fear not— we’ve written a two part series, including some helpful tips on how to offer warm and gracious blessings and prayers full of gratitude.
Thank you…to whom?
Many people feel pressured on the “what should I say” moment during grace. You don’t have to be Christian, or belong to any religion, to offer a prayer of thankfulness. If you are a Christian, than your prayer very likely would include God and you could thank Him for being among friends and family and for the food you’re about to share. Some tribal traditions thank the animal that sacrificed its life, others address the Universe, and many acknowledge the Earth and those who worked and labored to produce the food. Taking time to speak gratitude out loud is a soulful gesture in itself, regardless of one’s tradition.
Think about what you’re thankful for:
Everyone has something to be thankful for, even if it’s simply being alive. Write down a list of people and things you cherish, and also think about things that have happened to you, or others that will gather with you, and speak positively about them.
Here are some thoughts to get you started:
- Think of the friends and family members you cherish
- Are people traveling to see you? Think about gratitude for safe travels.
- What about faithful pets? Give thanks for their companionship and comfort each day.
- A warm home and food on the table is more than many have, and worthy of much gratitude.
- Is someone ill and trying to heal? Think about offering thanks for the doctors and medical care they are receiving, or were fortunate to find.
- Maybe someone is waiting on a new job, or perhaps someone lost a job—you could give thanks for the blessings ahead, and the courage and strength to persevere.
Help words and phrases:
For those writing a custom Thanksgiving prayer, these words and phrases can be plugged into any prayer during Thanksgiving:
- giving thanks
- God’s gift of feast
- family harvest
- harvest gathering
- feast of life
- Autumn togetherness
- unmeasured appreciation
Hopefully, your mind is swirling with ideas, and don’t forget to check back next week with our follow up post which will include poems, graces and prayers you can use for your blessing.