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4 Prayers of Thanksgiving

Here are four prayers of thanksgiving for Thanksgiving Day as the family gathers dinner. Don't miss a moment to carve out a memory that can last forever.

One time a year our nation celebrates a day of thanksgiving. This day, which in attitude we should celebrate every day, is observed on the fourth Thursday of November. While it holds historical significance (read more here) the general theme is a day set aside for us to reflect beyond our selfish needs and turn our attention to God and what he has done in our lives by enjoying a day of celebration and rest. While this day is often commemorated with a meal that results in a food coma bookended with couch time watching the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys take on opponents thanksgiving is much more than this - or is it.

During days like this, I often recall two classic movie moments.

National Lampoon Christmas Vacation

Who can forget the prayer of Aunt Bethany inĀ National Lampoon Christmas Vacation?

Clark: Since this is Aunt Bethany's 80th Christmas, I think she should lead us in the saying of Grace.
Aunt Bethany: [turns to Lewis] What, dear?
Nora Griswold: Grace!
Aunt Bethany: Grace? She passed away thirty years ago.
Uncle Lewis: They want you to say, Grace.
Uncle Lewis: The BLESSING!
Aunt Bethany: [they all fold their hands for prayer] "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Clark: Amen.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Or how about the sacrilegious prayer of Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Rick Bobby?

Ricky Bobby: Dear 8 pounds 6 ounce... newborn infant Jesus, don't even know a word yet.

Why Not Make Thanksgiving Day Special With A Great Prayer?

Why not this Thanksgiving Day invest a few more minutes of time in making this day special by setting a family and spiritual tone with a great pre-meal prayer?

So here are a few prayers you could pray before the meal that might give a little focus to this event and spiritual tone of the day. They might not be as entertaining as Ricky and Aunt Bethany's, but they may set a tone for the day that might bring spiritual meaning back to this great day.

ONE | A Prayer For Relationships/Togetherness
Thanks for bringing us together today. While it's sometimes hard to make time to be together, we pray you will help us to enjoy these next few hours together. We are reminded that today is about relationships, not just a meal, but the people (the friends and family) you have gathered here. Help us to enjoy the laughter, conversations, and the memories we make on this day. Thank you for the holiday that makes this day possible. Thank you also for the hands that have prepared the meal, and we pray the energy we receive from it will empower us to do what is pleasing to you and speak your love, grace, and mercy to others. Amen.

THREE | A Prayer For Thanks In A Hard Year
God, this year has been hard for many of us at this table. While this is a sweet moment, it's also hard. The challenges we have faced this year have been overwhelming, and as we gather today, we cannot ignore the fact that these feelings still linger as does the pain. But for these next few hours, we remember that you are a God who loves us, cares for us, heals us, and forgives us. Help us to enjoy this time. In the lingering bitterness give us peace. We thank you for this meal and pray a blessing for our strength. Amen.

TWO | A Prayer For Those Who Cannot Be With Us
God, today we gather in a way that others may not be able. We enjoy the blessings of warmth, shelter, and provision. Thanks for giving us this time and this meal. You are The Provider, so we give you first thanks. And God thank you for the family and the friends who are joining us today. May our conversations be bright, may we be grateful for each other, and give us the courage to be appreciative of each other. For those who cannot be with us today, we remember them and celebrate them in their absence. Bless this meal to our bodies. Amen.

FOUR | A Prayer Of Thanks In Loss
God, we are thankful for this time and this meal. While one who was among us this year is not with us today, we know you have welcomed them into a heavenly home. It's hard to be here and be thankful without them today. A chair is empty this year. But we know you save a seat at a heavenly meal today. That they are dining at a heavenly feast. And while our meal might not match with theirs, we miss them at this table and are yet still jealous for them. God thank you that we will meet them again in heaven at the same feast. So, God, we thank you today not only for this great meal but for salvation and the opportunity for eternity together - until we meet one day again. Amen

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