(14th century) Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you said in your whole live was “Thank –you, That would suffice!”
(this prayer by Jon Humphries could be offered at different times in a service, but putting it in this section of ‘prayers of thanksgiving for safekeeping!)
Hebel הָ֫בֶל (Reflection on Ecclesiastes)
God who is,
You know the mystery of being
You set the depth of existence
You are source of wonder in everything
So much in our holding of reality is just…
Nothing in life can be fully grasped
We cannot know all truth
It cannot be held in our comprehension or understanding
Life is not fair
Life is not unfair
It is just as it unfolds
But you are there
In our lives with us
Working your good
Working for our good
Adapting to our choices and changes
Bringing into being the better,
Even though we do not fully know it
Even though we do not fully comprehend it
Even though we do not fully understand it.
For we are held in your love.
We are held in relationship,
And in relationship with you, each other and the cosmos,
We find meaning and purpose
Even though they slip through our fingers
In our attempts to grasp them and hold onto them.So we pray,
Opening ourselves to you work and love,
Joining with you and each other in communion
To make a positive difference
Bring the fragrance of grace into the world.
Thus may it ever be. Amen
(Source: Jon Humphries)
The whole of Creation shouts its adoration, to You our God;
our glorious world proclaims your power and love.
Every tree and flower tells of your might, the stars, the sun and moon, the changing seasons, of your amazing care of us.
What are we that you are mindful of us, what is humankind that you care for us so much.
What a gracious, faithful God You are, that Your love for us is new every morning and we awake to a new start as your new creations, ready to soar and fly, free from past mistakes and difficulties.
We thank you for this gift of creation, the gift of life, the gift of our lives,
we thank you also for the faculties which enable us to enjoy it; our eyes to see the wonders of your world, our ears to hear speech and the sound of music, our lips with which to talk and sing, our hands for working and our feet for walking.
Make us daily grateful for all your gifts and help us to use them all for your glory.
Forgive our neglect of you, our world and our neighbours.
Help us build a place of love, kindness, honesty, truthfulness and faith;
a touching place where we can all catch hold of your vision for us and your world; where everyone is gathered in.
Help us always to do what is right, to think what is right, and to say what is right, for the benefit of ourselves, those we come into contact with, and for you our Creator, through Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Source: Church of Scotland Starters for Sunday)
A Grounded Thanksgiving Prayer (2016) Diana Butler Bass
(written for Thanksgiving USA but adapted for more general use)
God, there are days we do not feel grateful. When we are anxious or angry. When we feel alone. When we do not understand what is happening in the world, or with our neighbors. God, we struggle to feel grateful.
But this day, we choose gratitude. We choose to accept life as a gift from you, from the unfolding work of all creation. We choose to be grateful for the earth from which our food comes; for the water that gives life; and for the air we all breathe.
We make the choice to see our ancestors, those who came before us, and their stories, as a continuing gift of wisdom for us today. We choose to see our families and friends with new eyes, appreciating them for who they are, and be thankful for our homes whether humble or grand. We will be grateful for our neighbors, no matter how much we feel hurt by them. We choose to see the whole planet as our shared commons, the public stage of the future of humankind and creation.
God, this day, we choose thanks. And we will make thanks, with strong hands and courageous hearts. When we see your sacred generosity, we become aware that we live in an infinite circle of gratitude. That we all are guests at a hospitable table around which gifts are passed and received. We will not let anything opposed to love take over this table. Instead, we choose to see grace, free and unmerited love, the giftedness of life everywhere, as the tender web of all creation. In this choosing, and in the making, we will pass gratitude onto the world.
Thus, with you, and with all those gathered here, we pledge to make thanks. And we ask you to strengthen us in this resolve. Here, now, and into the future. Around this table. Around the table of our nation. Around the table of the earth. Amen.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
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 our selves.
We thank you for setting us in communities:
who nurture our becoming,
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.
We thank you for this day:
and one more day to love,
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
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.
Source: Adapted from “Prayers of Our Hearts” © 1991 Vienna Cobb Anderson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.