Thanksgiving Day Prayers - Ideas And Traditions For Your Family

Here are some ideas and traditions you can start with your family as part of your Thanksgiving Day prayers, to celebrate the real meaning of the holiday.

Thanksgiving day prayers

One of the most meaningful Thanksgiving traditions is the Thanksgiving dinner prayer, where we gather around the table and say thanks before everyone eats the meal.

This can be a very special time for your family, that you and your children can look forward to and remember for the rest of your lives.

Here are some ideas for a special Thanksgiving prayer, to make sure it is meaningful.

Recite Or Sing A Hymn Of Thanksgiving As A Family

There is something comforting and wonderful about reciting the same Thanksgiving day prayers each year. I know my late Uncle Joe always recited the same prayer each time he was asked to pray, and it something I still remember about him fondly.

A great way to allow your family to participate is to say (or sing, if your family is musically gifted) a Thanksgiving hymn each year. The poetic nature of songs makes them easier for everyone to remember, even if it takes the kids a couple of years to learn.

Here is one of my personal favorites, but there are many more you can choose from. I found a great list of Thanksgiving Hymns, with lyrics here.

For The Beauty Of The Earth Hymn

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Another classic prayer of Thanksgiving is Psalm 136, which is a call and response prayer, where one person reads the verse and after each verse everyone else states, "His love endures forever." It starts with "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. Give thanks to the God of gods. Give thanks to the Lord of lords."

Allow Everyone To Participate In The Thanksgiving Day Prayers

While I appreciate and think it is wonderful to have a main person in the family provide the main part of the Thanksgiving dinner prayer, it is equally as wonderful to allow everyone to participate in the prayer too.

Many families traditionally go around the Thanksgiving table saying what they are thankful for. You can make this more spiritual by making it, instead of a statement, more about prayers of Thanksgiving to the Lord. Everyone in the family can provide their Thanksgiving prayers, including young children.

No matter what a child says they are thankful for, even if it is silly or funny to us, is appreciated by God.

Remember Everyone In Your Family, Present Or Absent, Alive And Deceased In Your Thanksgiving Day Prayers

The most important thing about Thanksgiving day prayers is not their formality, but their sincerity. That is what true family traditions are all about.

It will strengthen the bonds between your family and friends to mention each person present at your Thanksgiving celebration and say something you are grateful and thankful for, about each them.

In addition, consider mentioning anything big that happened in your family that year, whether joyous or sad, to bring everyone together in celebrating the family as a whole.

It can also be a special time to mention those who cannot be with us today. My father always makes a special point of mentioning all those who cannot be here with us today, and it is so special to me.

We remember those who physically aren't present, and also those who have passed before us, and remember and give thanks for each of them. Try it with your family, it can be quite special.

Bible Verses Regarding Thankfulness You Can Use Within Your Thanksgiving Day Prayers

Some people find it meaningful to use Bible verses in their Thanksgiving dinner prayers, and some do not. To each their own. If you like to use Bible verses here are a couple that deal with thankfulness. (All verses translated into the New International Version)

First, here are some Old Testament verses:

The entire Psalm 100 is about thankfulness, but verse 4 is the most relevant. It states, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Psalm 100:4

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Psalm 105:1

All of Psalm 30 is also about gratefulness to God, but especially verse 12, which states: "O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalm 30:12

Next, here is one verse from the New Testament:

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Enjoy And Pass On The Tradition Of Thanksgiving Day Prayers To Your Children

No matter how you and your family choose to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, pass on the tradition of a Thanksgiving dinner prayer to your children. It is such a special memory as you grow up and have a family of your own.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! My wish for each of you is to have a blessed day with your family and friends.

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