A Thanksgiving prayer brings to mind a festive table filled with turkey, cranberries, and other traditional dishes. Families surround the table with mouths watering as young cousins eyeball pumpkin pies with whipped cream. Before the turkey is carved, the family joins hands with heads bowed and offers words of thanks for the meal spread before them.
There is no official ‘Thanks to God’ but prayers of gratitude have been offered since long before the 1620 American tradition began. It is the source by which the Pilgrims decided to begin with a prayer of thanks at this historic feast shared with the Wampanoag Indians. Years later, both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving history with their Thanksgiving proclamations.
We bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You’iv done
Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see
For joy and health, friends and family,
For daily provision, Your mercy and care
These are the blessings You graciously share.
So today we offer this response of praise
With a promise to follow You all of our days.
∼ Mary Fairchild
Thanksgiving Prayer: Where did the idea come from?
For a way to express their thankfulness for survival and the first harvest, the deeply religious Pilgrims looked to the Bible. They found the celebrated Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), or Feast of Ingathering. The ingathering of Israelites (delivered from the desert of Sinai) and their harvest were celebrated in this feast and is the most joyous of all feasts still today (Leviticus 23).
Another reference to giving thanks is found in the account of ‘setting’ what Samuel called the Ebenezer Stone. This was a memorial to remind them to be grateful for God’s help during an attack from the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:10-12). Actually, the Bible speaks of giving thanks nearly from cover to cover. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says “No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
All early celebrations had one common theme — God. Thanksgiving was directed toward God, their Creator, Protector, and Provider. They believed that all good things ultimately came from Him as they do today. Other verses that include thanks can be read in Psalm 100:4, Psalm 105:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:57.