4 Prayers You Could Pray This Thanksgiving

Once a year, the U.S. celebrates a day of national thanksgiving. This day of thanks, which we ought to celebrate daily, is observed on the fourth Thursday of November. While it has historical significance, the general theme is a day set aside for us to reflect beyond our selfish needs and turn our attention to God, recognizing what He has done in our lives. This is often done by enjoying a day of celebration and rest. It's frequently commemorated with a meal that often leads to a food coma, bookended by couch time watching the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys take on their opponents. But 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 in National Lampoon Christmas Vacation?

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

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

Make Thanksgiving Day Special With A Great Prayer.

Why not invest a few more minutes this Thanksgiving Day to make the day special by setting a family and spiritual tone with a great pre-meal prayer?

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

One | A Prayer For Relationships/Togetherness
God, thank you for bringing us together today. While it's sometimes hard to make time to be together, we pray you will help us enjoy these next few hours together. We are reminded that today is about relationships, not just a meal, but the people you have brought together. Help us enjoy the laughter, conversations, and memories we make today. Thank you for the day off that makes this 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 to speak your love, grace, and mercy to others. Amen.

Two | A Prayer For Those Who Cannot Be With Us

God, today, as we gather, we are acutely aware of those who cannot be with us. Thank you for this time of fellowship and the meal we will share. You are The Provider, and we offer you our heartfelt thanks. While we cherish the presence of family and friends around us, our thoughts turn to those absent from our table. We remember and honor them, feeling their spirit in our midst. May our conversations today be bright and filled with gratitude for each other and reflective of the love and memories we hold for those not present. Grant us the courage to express our appreciation for every moment and every person in our lives, near or far. We pray that those who are absent feel your comfort and our love, transcending the distance between us. Bless this meal to our bodies, and let it nourish us to continue sharing your love, grace, and mercy. Amen.

Three | A Prayer For Thanks In A Hard Year

God, this year has been challenging for many of us gathered here. While we find sweetness in this moment, we also recognize its difficulty. The trials we've endured this year have been immense, leaving us with lingering feelings of hardship and pain. Yet, as we come together today, we are reminded of Your enduring love, care, healing, and forgiveness. In these few hours, help us to embrace the joy and respite of this gathering. Amidst any lingering bitterness, grant us Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Let us find solace in each other's company and strength in knowing Your unwavering presence in our lives. We thank You for this meal, a symbol of Your provision even in tough times. May it not only nourish our bodies but also fortify our spirits. Bless us with renewed strength and hope that we may continue to face life's challenges with courage and faith. In this time of thanks, let us remember that your love and grace remain constant even in the hardest of years. 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. 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 compare with theirs, we miss them at this table and yet feel joyful for them. God, thank you that we will meet them again in heaven at the same feast. So, God, we thank You today for this great meal, salvation, and the opportunity for eternity together - until we meet again one day. Amen.

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Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.