Happy Thanksgiving! Today we celebrate the gifts of friendship and family with a Thanksgiving meal. Take time to honor where it comes from with the Bible.
The first Thanksgiving between Wampanoag Native Americans and Puritan colonists occurred in 1621 and is sparsely recorded, but forms the basis for the modern celebration. The 3-day celebration occurred in Plymouth, present-day Massachusetts, and was prompted by a good harvest. However, it is unknown if turkey was on the menu. History.com writes:
While no records exist of the exact bill of fare, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow noted in his journal that the colony’s governor, William Bradford, sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the three-day event. Wild—but not domestic—turkey was indeed plentiful in the region and a common food source for both English settlers and Native Americans. But it is just as likely that the fowling party returned with other birds we know the colonists regularly consumed, such as ducks, geese and swans.
Whatever the menu, the first Thanksgiving did not immediately catch on. It did not become an annual affair until the 1660s and it was not until the American Revolution that George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration on November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”
It was during the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving date as a federal holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, according to Abraham Lincoln Online.
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Celebrate this special day with these inspirational Bible verses for Thanksgiving:
1. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” — 1 Chronicles 16:34
2. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” — Philippians 4:6
3. “And you will say in that day: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.’” — Isaiah 12:4-5
4. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” — 1 Timothy 4:4-5
5. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.” — Psalm 100:4
6. “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
7. “Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
8. “I will give you a thank offering. I will call on the Lord’s name.” — Psalm 116:17
9. “Thanks, therefore, be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” — 2 Corinthians 9:15
10. “Let the peace of the Messiah also rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body, and be thankful.” — Colossians 3:15
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends and reflect on the blessings of the last year. Many of us experience renewed hope and faith during the Thanksgiving holiday because we turn our eyes onto what is most important. What if we spent time each day in giving thanks and prayer? How could God grow out faith and trust if we lived a life of thanks through all seasons and not just Thanksgiving time? When your heart is filled with gratitude, there is little room to worry or complain.
We would love to encourage and help you along the way toward greater hope and joy! Below are 7 thanksgiving prayers you can use not only for Thanksgiving day but throughout the year. Start living out the promises of God that Jesus came “that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10.
- 1 Prayer 1: A Daily Thanksgiving Prayer
- 2 Prayer 2: A Prayer for a Thankful Heart
- 3 Prayer 3: A Short Prayer of Thanks
- 4 Prayer 4: A Prayer to Teach Kids Thankfulness
- 5 Prayer 5: A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
- 6 Prayer 6: Thanksgiving Song (makes a wonderful prayer!)
- 7 Prayer 7: 17 Statements of Gratitude
- 8 Thanksgiving Prayers from Scripture:
- 9 Free PDF Download
- 10 21 Giving Bible Verses
- 11 Tips to put more money in your pocket & Biblical principles on how to handle it.
- 12 Do you have a favorite?
- 13 Take a look at these other Thanksgiving articles from the archives:
Prayer 1: A Daily Thanksgiving Prayer
“Dear God, Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives, thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us. Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life. Forgive us for when we don’t thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you’ve given. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh. Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy. We love you and we need you, this day and every day. We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
– Debbie McDaniel, Crosswalk.com Contributor
Prayer 2: A Prayer for a Thankful Heart
“Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving and praise in all my daily experiences of life. Teach me to be joyful always, to pray continually and to give thanks in all my circumstances. I accept them as Your will for my life (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I long to bring pleasure to Your heart daily. Break the power of the enemy in my life. Defeat Him through my sacrifice of praise. Change my outlook and attitude into one of joyful contentment with my present circumstances. I thank You for…
Jesus, I want to be like You who obeyed the Father without complaint. You embraced the chains of humanity when You walked this earth. Convict me whenever I complain or compare myself with others. Give me Your attitude of humility and thankful acceptance. I want to be like the Apostle Paul who learned contentment in every circumstance. I choose to continually offer You a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that give praise to Your name (Hebrews 13:15). I long to bring a smile to Your face. Teach me the power of a thankful heart. I know that Your truth dwells in a thankful heart.
“I will give thanks to the LORD because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 7:17-18:1). In Jesus’ name, amen.”
– Debbie Przybylski, Intercessors Arise International
Prayer 3: A Short Prayer of Thanks
“God, sometimes life gets me down and I find it hard to see things to be thankful for. Open my eyes to see the gifts you’ve given me in my life. I’m going to start by thanking you for loving me enough to come to earth and die so we can live together forever. Amen.”
– Wendy van Eyck, Contributor
Prayer 4: A Prayer to Teach Kids Thankfulness
“Lord, I pray that the message of Christ and his sacrifice is the root of gratitude in my heart. That His gracious gift leads me to thankful living, setting an example for my children. That they will have their own relationship with Jesus one day, and that You would grow gratitude in their hearts out of the acceptance of Jesus as their Savior. Lead us to do everything in the name of Jesus and give thanks to You through Him.”
– Marie Osborne, Contributor
Prayer 5: A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
“O Heavenly Father:
We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service.
That Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.”
– “Dear Abby” Columnist
Prayer 6: Thanksgiving Song (makes a wonderful prayer!)
“Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
Blessed that we are able.
Grateful for this sheltered place
With light in every window,
Saying welcome, welcome, share this feast
Come in away from sorrow.
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend and friendless;
All together everyone in the gift of loving-kindness.
Grateful for whats understood,
And all that is forgiven;
We try so hard to be good,
To lead a life worth living.
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend, and friendless;
All together everyone, let grateful days be endless.
Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.”
– Mary Chapin Carpenter – Thanksgiving Song Lyrics
Prayer 7: 17 Statements of Gratitude
“Thank you, God for the times You have said “no.” They have helped me depend on You so much more.
Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what’s best for me, even when my opinion differs from Yours.
Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.
Thank You, God, for the doors You have closed. They have prevented me from going where You would rather not have me go.
Thank you, Lord, for the physical pain You’ve allowed in my life. It has helped me more closely relate to Your sufferings on my behalf.
Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in my life. Those times have forced me to lean in closer to You.
Thank you, God, for the uncertainties I’ve experienced. They have deepened my trust in You.
Thank You, Lord, for the times You came through for me when I didn’t even know I needed a rescue.
Thank You, Lord, for the losses I have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are my greatest gain.
Thank You, God, for the tears I have shed. They have kept my heart soft and mold-able.
Thank You, God, for the times I haven’t been able to control my circumstances. They have reminded me that You are sovereign and on the throne.
Thank You, God, for those people in my life whom You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth keeps my heart longing for heaven.
Thank You, God, that I have an inheritance in the heavenly places…something that this world can never steal from me and I could never selfishly squander.
Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give me: forgiveness through Your perfect Son’s death on the cross on my behalf.
Thank You, God, for the righteousness You credited toward me, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a righteousness I could never earn or attain on my own.
Thank You, Father, that You know me, You hear me, and You see my tears. Remind me through difficult times that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.
And thank You, Lord, not only for my eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford every day of my life as You save me from myself, my foolishness, my own limited insights, and my frailties in light of Your power and strength.”
– Cindy McMenamin, Author
Thanksgiving Prayers from Scripture:
Psalm 100Psalm 118:29Philippians 4:6Psalm 103: 1-5Psalm 28:7Psalm 136:1-5
Read more Bible Verses for Thanksgiving at BibleStudyTools.com
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
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Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersThe Prayer of JabezShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessIntercessory PrayerIrish Prayers and BlessingsAdvent PrayersChristmas PrayersThanksgiving PrayerEaster Prayers
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It’s that time of year again – I love Christmas!
Can you imagine what it would be like without giving being such a major part of it?
If you are a bit jaded about Christmas (like we all can become sometimes) I encourage you to really step back and try to become joyful about your giving.
We have the opportunity to let the gifts we purchase be an obligatory purchase or we can choose to give a gift.
I think this was what Paul was talking about when he said, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
The attitude behind it really matters.
There is a huge difference between buying stuff that you feel (or are) obligated to, and intentionally (and cheerfully) giving something to another person.
And when you consider the possibilities of making homemade Christmas gifts that will be remembered it can really help put new meaning to giving gifts.
So if you need a little boost to your giving attitude this year, do a little meditating on the scriptures below.
And for extra credit you can check out some of these inspiring giving quotes.
Free PDF Download
If you would like to download (and print off) the 21 Bible verses about giving just click here for an immediate download!
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21 Giving Bible Verses
I decided to do a little study to find a bunch of verses about giving just to help me get my heart back to where it needed to be. These are 21 of the more popular giving Bible verses – feel free to add others to the comments…
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
1 Chronicles 29:9
Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.
…the righteous gives and does not hold back.
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him wouldn’t perish, but would have eternal life.
In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.
…Or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
2 Corinthians 9:10
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you send a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account.
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
Any other giving verses that you can think of?
If you have been inspired by these Bible verses, dig in further and explore what the Bible says about money! To get you started, check out my article: 5 Bible verses about money!
Tips to put more money in your pocket & Biblical principles on how to handle it.
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Thanksgiving is a word that appears before the word Thanksgiving Day and after thanksgiver in the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary online. One of the definitions of the word is “a prayer expressing gratitude”. The first use of the word dates all the way back to 1533 . The Old English word from which it is derived is “pancian” (to give thanks) . It is translated in other languages as:
zahvaljivanje (Croatian), díkůvzdání (Czech), taksigelse (Danish), dankzegging (Dutch), pagpapasalamat (Filipino), action de grâces (French), Danksagung (German), hálaadás (Hungarian), gratiarum actione (Latin), dziękczynienie (Polish), mulțumire (Romanian), благодарение (Russian), zahvalni dan (Slovenian), acción de gracias (Spanish), şükretme (Turkish), diolchgarwch (Welsh)
No matter in what language you speak, thanksgiving prayers are often written in the form of poems or songs. These ten thanksgiving prayers can be used around the dinner table this November or any time of the year. One of the beautiful things about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it gives us a specific time to reflect on the wonderful blessings we all enjoy. While we may not have as many things as other people have, we can all be thankful for friends and family who love us and the life God has given us.
Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care.
We Gather Together Hymn
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, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
-Theodore Baker (translator)
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.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
We Give Thanks
Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.
We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.
We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.
As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.
This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.
– Harry Jewell
Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer
O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
-Samuel F. Pugh
Thanksgiving Dinner Prayer
Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day
We bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You’ve 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.
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray
We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing
We’re slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold
But Lord, I’d like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for
For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head
I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know
Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure
That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace
So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited
We thank you for the turkey,
The gravy and the dressing.
Dear Lord, this table overflows
With Thy abundant blessing.
Let us always be aware
That all gifts come from You,
And may we serve Your heavenly will
In everything we do. Amen.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
Humorous Thanksgiving Prayer
When turkey’s on the table laid,
And good things I may scan,
I’m thankful that I wasn’t made
-Edgar A. Guest
Do you have a favorite?
We would love to see your favorite thanksgiving prayer. We would also like to know how you say Happy Thanksgiving in your native tongue. Share it in the comments below.
Take a look at these other Thanksgiving articles from the archives:
- Thanksgiving Bible Verses
- 21 Christian Thanksgiving Quotes and Sayings
- 10 Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise
Resources: They Holy Bible, King James Version. www.youtube.com “Thanksgiving Song”- Mary Chapin Carpenter. merriam-webster.com. etymonline.com. translate.google.com. Image courtesy of/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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