Prayers of Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving Day

By Jennifer Gregory Miller (bio - articles - email) | Nov 24, 2016

Originally published in November 2015.

It’s been a long three days of cooking and cleaning preparing for our Thanksgiving meal. Twenty-five family members will be gathering around our table today. Only minor injuries were sustained during preparation.

Thanksgiving in the United States is a national holiday. It’s a day of joy and love and togetherness for most. Wishing others a happy Thanksgiving doesn’t result in controveries; most Americans honor this holiday regardless of religion.

It seems everyone has an idea of what Thanksgiving means to them, whether it be the food, family, friendship, freedom, country...the list can be endless. But as Catholics (or Christians in general), we recognize that first and foremost, “thanksgiving” is directed to God. Through all the celebrations of the day, we should start and continue with thanking God. While not a feast day of the liturgical calendar, the Church has a special collect for this day, and the mass “For Giving Thanks to God” which is recommended for use on Thanksgiving Day.

This week in preparation for this week’s atrium with the Level 2 and 3 children (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), I searched to find different psalms that expressed gratitude to God. I found lists of classification of the Book of Psalms, but they often differed, so it required some prayerful reading to find psalms and verses that were suitable.

I found many; in fact it was hard to limit. A few of my favorites were Psalms 8, 40, 92, 95, 100, 103, 113, 117, 118, 138, 145, 147, 150. And then the Church uses the Canticle of the Three Children from Daniel as the ultimate canticle of thanks.

I found some special decorative fall-themed papers that I copied a few of these verses in calligraphy. I shared these with the children so they could create their own prayer cards for their own families. We discussed how we thank God for all His gifts to us, and besides thanks and thanksgiving, other words like praise and bless also are part of the “vocabulary” of gratitude. I provided a variety because the children differ in writing and reading skills and I also wanted to make sure there were enough choices for the large group of children.

There are so many psalms of gratitude and praise. I found my sons also enjoyed exploring the Book of Psalms finding the verses of thanksgiving that spoke to them. Perhaps in a quiet moment today your older children could create a prayer card, either from the suggested psalms above, or through their own exploration.

While we are thinking of thanking God, a popular way to thank Him is before we take our first bites of the delicious Thanksgiving meal we can pray a special Thanksgiving meal prayer to thank Him for all His gifts. As a little Thanksgiving gift, I created a little prayer card to use for the Thanksgiving meal. The main prayer draws from the collect prayer for the Mass of the day, and the psalm quote is one suggested for today’s Mass.

Information for prayers and readings for Thanksgiving Day:

The Roman Missal Third Edition for the United States has propers for Thanksgiving Day, which includes a Collect and a Preface.

Entrance Antiphon:
Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts, always thanking God the Father for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Collect:
Father all-powerful,
your gifts of love are countless and your goodness infinite; as we come before you on Thanksgiving Day with gratitude for your kindness, open our hearts to have concern for every man, woman, and child, so that we may share your gifts in loving service.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer over the Offerings:
God our Father,
from whose hand we have received generous gifts so that we might learn to share your blessings in gratitude, accept these gifts of bread and wine, and let the perfect sacrifice of Jesus draw us closer to all our brothers and sisters in the human family.
Through Christ our Lord.

Preface:
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.

You have entrusted to us the great gift of freedom, a gift that calls forth responsibility and commitment to the truth that all have a fundamental dignity before you. In Jesus, through his death and resurrection, we find our ultimate redemption, freedom from sin, and every blessing.

As so, with hearts full of love, we join the angels, today and every day of our lives, to sing your glory as we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts, etc.

Communion Antiphon
I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.

Or:

How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? The chalice of salvation I will raise, and I will call on the name of the Lord.

Prayer After Communion:
In this celebration, O Lord our God, you have shown us the depths of your love for all your children; help us, we pray, to reach out in love to all your people, so that we may share with them
the good things of time and eternity.
Through Christ our Lord.

The Lectionary readings are taken from the Ritual Mass “In Thanksgiving to God,” number 943-947.

943 Reading from the Old Testament
1 Kings 8:55-61, Sirach 50:22-24, Isaiah 63:7-9, or Zephaniah 3:14-15

944 Reading from the New Testament
1 Corinthian 1:3-9, Ephesians 1:3-14, or Colossians 3:12-17

945 Responsorial Psalm

1. 1 Chronicles 29:10bcd, 11abc, 11d-12a, 12bcd R. We praise your glorious name, O mighty God.

2. Psalm 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 R. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever. or: R. Alleluia.

3. Psalm 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5 R. Lord, I thank you for your faithfulness and love.

4. Psalm 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

947 Gospel

Matthew 7:7-11, Matthew 11:25-30, Mark 5:18-20, Luke 1:39-55, Luke 10:17-24, Luke 17:11-19, John 15:9-17, or John 16:20-22

May God bless you and yours.

Thanksgiving Meal Prayers

Jennifer Gregory Miller is an experienced homemaker, home schooler, and authority on living the liturgical year. She is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org's liturgical year section. See full bio.

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