11 Thanksgiving Blessings to Read at the Table This Year
Share the gratitude you feel on Thanksgiving with these Thanksgiving prayers and blessings.
Unlike many others, Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday and certainly does not have to be. But perhaps you would like to say grace around your Thanksgiving table—and are very familiar with the crickets that arise when someone asks, “So who wants to say grace?” This year, come prepared! These powerful Thanksgiving blessings are great ways to start off your dinner and provide reminders of the many reasons to be thankful. And a lot of them read as Thanksgiving poems, making them enjoyable to read and hear! In addition, you may know that the Pilgrims were seeking religious freedom, but it’s important to know that the history of Thanksgiving is a lot more complicated than that.
1. We Come to This Table (published in Reader’s Digest magazine)
We come to this table today, O Lord, humble and thankful and glad.
We thank Thee first for the great miracle of life, for the exaltation of being human, for the capacity to love.
We thank Thee for joys both great and simple—
For wonder, dreams, and hope;
For the newness of each day;
For laughter and song and a merry heart.
For compassion waiting within to be kindled;
For the forbearance of friends and the smile of a stranger;
For the arching of the earth and trees and heavens and the fruit of all three.
For the wisdom of the old;
For the courage of the young;
For the promise of the child;
For the strength that comes when needed;
For this family united here today.
Of those to whom much is given, much is required. May we and our children remember this. Amen.
Add some thoughtfulness and gratitude to your Thanksgiving feast this year with this simple Thanksgiving prayer. Once the solemn blessings are over, start up the fun with these Thanksgiving games!
2. A Thanksgiving to God, For His House by Robert Herrick
Lord, ’tis Thy plenty-dropping hand
That soils my land,
And giv’st me for my bushel sown
Twice ten for one.
All this, and better, Thou dost send
Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,
A thankful heart.
3. We Thank Thee by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
4. Untitled by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.
If religious blessings are part of your holiday celebrations, add this sweet stanza to your Thanksgiving traditions!
5. A Thanksgiving Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Thy mighty hand o’er all the land
Hath still been open to bestow
Those blessings which our wants demand
From heaven, whence all blessings flow.
Thou hast, with ever watchful eye,
Looked down on us with holy care,
And from thy storehouse in the sky
Hast scattered plenty everywhere.
Then lift we up our songs of praise
To thee, O Father, good and kind;
To thee we consecrate our days;
Be thine the temple of each mind.
6. Come, Ye Thankful People, Come by Henry Alford
Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home:
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear:
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.
7. Be Present by John Cennick
Be present at our table, Lord.
Be here and everywhere adored.
Thy creatures bless and grant that we may feast in paradise with Thee.
8. Dutch Hymn (translated by Theodore Baker)
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
While you’re sitting around the table, see who knows these pieces of Thanksgiving trivia!
9. Gratefulness by George Herbert
Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more—a grateful heart:
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose Pulse may be
10. Harvest Hymn by John Critchley Prince
Praise for the glorious harvest days,
And all the blessings that we share;
For the unbounded sunlight praise
And for the free and vital air;
Praise for the faith that looks above;
The hope of immortality;
For life, health, virtue, truth and love,
Maker and Giver, praise to Thee!
And finally, a reminder from Meister Eckhart…
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
This German theologian believes that prayers don’t even have to be religious! The most important thing—for Thanksgiving and always—is to be thankful, and mean it. Next, read these other Thanksgiving quotes that capture the spirit of the holiday.