How to Lead a Thanksgiving Prayer

Prayers can be fun image by Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski

The foremost theme of Thanksgiving, whether people remember it or not, is giving thanks. Gratitude is a glorious trait to have every day and it can especially be indulged on Thanksgivng. For starters, you may be gathered with family around a feast-filled table. You can lead a Thanksgiving prayer and remind everyone to be grateful with a few simple tips.

Instructions

Step 1

Get everyone’s attention. It’s hard to start a prayer if no one is listening. Gently clear your throat, clap your hands or starting humming “Om” until everyone quiets down to listen. Banging a spoon on a glass is cliché, annoying and may break the glass, so avoid that tactic for getting attention.

Step 2

Ask the guests to please join you in a Thanksgiving prayer by bowing their heads and joining their hands. This simple change of posture and physical connection with the people next to them sets the tone. It also creates a circle of energy in which the prayer can thrive.

Step 3

Greet whatever entity you are praying to. “Dear God,” is a common one. “Great Spirit,” “Powerful Universe,” “Glorious Eternal Energy that Guides Us,” are some others.

Step 4

Kick off the prayer with the obvious. “We are thankful for being together today, this delicious food in front of us and that we are still vertical and breathing on this day to give you thanks.”

Step 5

Add three more things that everyone around the table is probably grateful for. “We also thank the universe for our health, wealth and ability to think, see and eat with vigor.”

Step 6

Throw in some humor. Leading a prayer does not have to be a boring, solemn task. Have some fun with it by thanking God for the sun, stars and seismic meters so you don’t get killed by an earthquake. Thank him for the HDTV that’s airing the football game in the living room. Have some fun with this stuff.

Step 7

Keep it brief. People want to eat.

Tips and Warnings

Encourage participation. If your Thanksgiving dinner is fairly small and intimate and people are not clamoring for the mashed potatoes, go around the table and have each person add one item for which they are grateful. Kids are especially fun to engage in prayer, especially when they come up with funny responses like being grateful for their box of colored chalk or a little red wagon. If you happen to have an atheist at the table, or someone who simply refuses to join in the prayer, ask him to step back while the rest of you go forward. You don’t want the circle broken by one person who refuses to join hands.

About this Author

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.

Photo by: Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski

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