It’s customary in many homes to say a prayer before Thanksgiving dinner. Yet, if you fall into the Spiritual but not Religious (SBNR) group like me, you may want to move beyond the traditional “Bless us O Lord” prayer into something that’s, well, more meaningful to you and your spiritual inclinations.
I’ve written before about “The Prayer of Gratitude” and it’s worth mentioning again. It’s a simple, participatory prayer of thanks, directed to God, the Universe, or whatever higher power you believe in. It only takes a few seconds and goes like this:
“I give thanks <to God> for all the good in my life. I am thankful for ___________”
You fill in the blank. You can complete the thought by simply giving thanks for the meal in front of you or the friends or family around you. You can express gratitude for any recent good fortune in your own life, even if it’s something as basic as the continued good health of yourself or someone around you.
This prayer is meant to be passed around the table. Ask each person to chime in with what they’re thankful for. If needed, prompt them with some of the ideas above. This simple group prayer has a way of uplifting everyone’s spirits, reminding even the sourpusses in your group that they have something to be thankful for.
3 New SBNR Thanksgiving Prayers
The idea for these new prayers came from Seth Godin and The Thanksgiving Reader, which he published several years ago. While the reader itself is composed of longer poems and prayer, I used some of the words found there to compose the shorter prayers below. I also need to give credit to the recently retired Reverend Donna Schaper who taught me that there are no real rules around prayer. You can make them up. The key is that they are meaningful to you and come from the heart.
Feel free to use these prayers verbatim, customize them as you see fit, or use them as inspiration to create your own short prayers. Whatever works for you.
Prayer #1: Let’s Give Thanks
Let’s give thanks for how fortunate we are.
Let’s give thanks for the food we’re about to share.
Let’s give thanks that we are all here together, sharing this beautiful day.
Thank you for these blessings <dear God>. Amen.
Prayer #2: May We Find the Light
May we experience happiness, today and all days.
May we find the light within us…and bring that light into someone else’s life.
May we allow ourselves to feel gratitude…and share that feeling with those around us.
This is our Thanksgiving wish. Amen.
Prayer #3: Appreciate This Moment
Let’s all sit silently and feel the magic in this room.
Let’s appreciate this moment…and all the moments that will follow today.
Let’s enjoy this meal….and let’s enjoy the company of the people around us.
For this, and so much more in our lives, we give our thanks.
Now, let’s eat.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.