Thanksgiving Day prayer starters can be as important to the overall success of your holiday meal as the mashed potatoes or the pumpkin pie. That’s because Thanksgiving Day prayer starters are geared to accomplish two purposes for you and your guests. First, Thanksgiving Day prayer starters reduce the pressure that people often feel when everyone settles in around the table and waits for someone, anyone, to give what often becomes a stiff and hurried thanks. It’s not that people aren’t legitimately grateful, but rather that there is a certain awkwardness that seems to come when it is time to openly verbalize that internal feeling of thanks. Using a Thanksgiving Day prayer starter means taking the heat off.
Secondly, Thanksgiving Day prayer starters can provide those who wish to give thanks with simple and fun ways to organize and present their gratefulness.
Thanksgiving Day prayer starters are best served up after the main meal and before desert. This is because when folks come to the table the food may be ready to be served and folks naturally want to go begin eating their meal. For those who want to use Thanksgiving Day prayer starters it is suggested that you simply provide a brief but sincere grace before the meal, enjoy your dinner and then in the down time before deserts are served take time as family and friends to really open up to the spirit of Thanksgiving by using one of these Thanksgiving Day prayer starters.
Each of these five Thanksgiving Day prayer starter can be introduced by the host, hostess or any willing guest. Each requires some type of response by all present but you can of course make a provision to allow guests to simply say “pass” when a turn to give thanks comes to them.
1. Thankfulness for friends and neighbors. The host: “Almighty God we give thanks to you for all your blessings but today we each give special thanks for those gathered around our table. I am grateful for” then the host says why he is especially grateful for the person seated to his right. When he has given thanks for this person in his life, the host then invites that person to turn to the right and give thanks for the person sitting there. This prayer of thankfulness circulates around the table until all have had a chance to give thanks. Host concludes: “For the gifts which you allow us to share with one another day after day we thank you Father.
2. A Colorful Thankfulness. Children love to be included in the prayer process but some don’t know where to begin or alternately are so thankful that they don’t know how to stop. Host: ” Father of us all, we have so much for which to give thanks. Our lives are filled with your gifts coming to us in every color of the rainbow. ” Then the host gives thanks for a gift he or she is grateful for that happens to be the same color as the outfit he or she is wearing. For example if the hostess is wearing a blue dress she might say “Thank you father for the beautiful blue sky ( or blueberry pie, or my brand new blue jeans ). Each guest is then invited to consider what color he or she is wearing and give thanks for something of the same color.
3. So For What Are You Truly Thankful?: You can add an element of suspense to your family expression of thankfulness by randomly taking turns selecting the next thanks giver.
Host: “Father I am thankful for my good health. I know what I am thankful for, but I am wondering what Uncle Max is thankful for.” Uncle Max then picks up the signal, indicates what he is thankful for and wonders what another guest ( whom he names) might be thankful for. This continues until everyone has had a chance to offer his or her personal thanks for something in their lives for which they are grateful.
4.For How Many Things Are You Thankful ? People generally like picking their own poison, so to speak. At Thanksgiving this fact can be recognized by writing the numbers 1-5 on several pieces of paper, then on one piece of paper also write the number 10. Put the papers in a sack so that guests may blindly choose a number and then name and give thanks for the number of things that they find on the slip of paper. Let all the guests know what numbers are in the bag so that they will hope not to get the 10. Put as many total slips of paper into the bag as there are guests. Once a number is drawn do not return it to the bag. In this way only one person will get the number 10.
Host: “There are so many things for which we thank you Father. Sometimes it is hard to count them all, but we will try.” Host chooses a number from the sack and proceeds to name and give thanks for as many things as the number he has selected. The sack is then passed around the table and each person gives thanks according to the number chosen.
5. Hints for Our Thankfulness. A second Thanksgiving Day prayer starter also requires the use of a sack and slips of paper. Count up the number of your guests and then write gift defining words on each slip. Some examples might be: something tiny, something tasty, something brand new, someone special, a personal treasure, something very large.
Host: “Almighty Father, sometimes I feel like I have so many things for which to be thankful that I might forget to mention them all in prayer. The words in this sack can help us all to remember at least one special gift we might have forgotten.” Then draw a word from the sack, read the word and share something in your life that fits the descriptive word on your paper and for which you are truly thankful. Then pass the sack.
Thanksgiving is about turkey, football and lots of pies. But no matter how good all of those things may be the day rather misses the point if we don’t find a way to give thanks for all that has been given to us. Thanksgiving Day prayer starters can help you to make that happen with ease.