It's no secret that Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks. Regardless of its history, many Americans come together each November in a spirit of gratitude to spend time with their loved ones and eat some delicious food. I know that it can be incredibly difficult to find things to be grateful for, but I thoroughly believe that there's at least one thing we can all be grateful for every day, even if it's just waking up for another day. I've learned to give thanks each day through my faith, so here are some prayers to help spark a spirit of gratitude, even if you're not sure what to give thanks for.
1. Vienna Cobb Anderson
God of all blessings, source of all life, giver of all grace:
We thank you for the gift of life: for the breath that sustains life, for the food of this earth that nurtures life, for the love of family and friends without which there would be no life.
We thank you for the mystery of creation: for the beauty that the eye can see, for the joy that the ear may hear, for the unknown that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder, for the expanse of space that draws us beyond the definitions of ourselves.
We thank you for setting us in communities: for families who nurture our becoming, for friends who love us by choice, for companions at work, who share our burdens and daily tasks, for strangers who welcome us into their midst, for people from other lands who call us to grow in understanding, for children who lighten our moments with delight, for the unborn, who offer us hope for the future.
We thank you for this day: for life and one more day to love, for opportunity and one more day to work for justice and peace, for neighbors and one more person to love and by whom be loved, for your grace and one more experience of your presence, for your promise: to be with us, to be our God, and to give salvation.
For these, and all blessings, we give you thanks, eternal, loving God, through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
2. Expressing Gratitude
Gracious God, in the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life.
My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.
I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning.
In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love.
3. Iroquois Prayer of Gratitude
We return thanks to our mother, the earth, which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams, which supply us with waters.
We return thanks to all herbs, which furnish medicine for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the corn, and to her sisters, the beans and the squashes, which give us life.
We return thanks to the wind, which moving the air has banished diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and the stars,
which have given us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun, that he has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit, in whom is embodied all goodness, and who directs all things for the good of his children.
4. Morning Prayer by Pat Bergen, C.S.J.
Thank you for the gift of today.
Refresh me. Invite me to discover your presence
In each person that I meet
And every event that I encounter.
Teach me when to speak and when to listen
When to ponder and when to share.
In moments of challenge and decision
Attune my heart to the whisperings of your Wisdom.
As I undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks,
Gift me with simple joy.
When my day goes well, may I rejoice.
When it grows difficult, surprise me with
When life is overwhelming, call me to
To restore your Peace and Harmony.
May my living today reveal your Goodness.
5. Prayer In Times of Transition by Joseph P. Shadle
God of Love,
You are with us in every transition and change.
As we enter into this new era with excitement and even some anxiety,
we recall your deep compassion, presence, and abounding love.
We thank you for the gifts, talents and skills with which you have blessed us.
We thank you for the experiences that have brought us to this moment.
We thank you for the work of others that gives breadth and depth to our own work.
Be with us as we move forward, rejoicing with you and supporting one another.
We ask this in your Holy Name.
6. A Prayer of Thankfulness
For today, I am grateful
For tomorrow, I am hopeful
For my life, I am blessed
I thank my ancestors for their labors and survival
I thank my contemporaries for their companionship
I thank my descendants for carrying me with them
For today . . . I do my best in all things
For tomorrow . . . I honor and heal the environment
For my life . . . I work to be a healthy cell in the body of the Universe
I honor the journey of my life with conscious living
and honor the lives of all I meet and those I will never know.
7. May We Be Grateful
We are blessed today, with enough to eat,
May we be grateful.
We are blessed with clothes to wear,
May we be grateful.
We are blessed with shelter from the elements,
May we be grateful.
We are very well blessed today.
May we remember that there are many people
who do not have these blessings.
May we be grateful enough to help others when we can.
8. The Examen
If nothing else, you can express gratitude through the Five- Step Examen, in true Jesuit fashion:
1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Don't forget to tell those whom you love how much they mean to you!