You probably want the grace you offer at your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow to be something special. But if you’re like me, the challenge of cooking drives the words plumb out of my mind and I’m left with, “Thanks for the food, Lord!” Maybe the following prayers will help.
A Puritan Prayer of Thanksgiving from the 1600s:
I thank Thee for the temporal blessings of this world. The refreshing air. The light of the sun. The food that renews strength. The raiment that clothes. The dwelling that shelters. The sleep that gives rest. The starry canopy of night. The summer’s breeze. The flowers’ sweetness. The music of flowing streams. The happy endearments of family, kindred, friends.
Things animate and things inanimate minister to my comfort. My cup runs over. Suffer me not to be insensible to these daily mercies. Thy hand bestows blessings. Thy power averts evil.
I bring my tribute of thanks for spiritual graces. The full warmth of faith. The cheering presence of Thy Spirit. The strength of Thy restraining will. Thy spiking of hell’s artillery. Blessed be my sovereign Lord!
Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. The President issued this in 1863, while the country was engulfed in Civil War, officially making the day celebrated since 1621 a national holiday:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God….
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them … commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!