When God established the feasts in the Old Testament, he set milestones to remind his people about who he was and how he had rescued them (over and over). While many Christians no longer celebrate the feasts, there are still plenty of places on our calendars where we can slow down to remember God.
And even if it feels like there’s little to be thankful for, we can still share these prayers of praise and thanksgiving with family and friends.
1. A Prayer of Thanksgiving from The Book of Common Prayer
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.1
2. Prayer of Thankfulness by Timothy and Kathy Keller
Lord, I thank you that there are an infinite number of things to thank you for, if I reflect for even a moment! Now help me to take that time and to give you thanks for your many gifts I take for granted. Then let thankfulness begin to transform all my attitudes, toward you, myself, others, and life. Amen.2
3. ‘My Thankful Heart with Glorying Tongue’ by Anne Bradstreet
My thankful heart with glorying tongue
Will celebrate your name,
Who has restored, redeemed, re-cured
From sickness, death, and pain.
I cried; you seemed to take some pause,
I sought more earnestly.
And in due time you supported me,
And sent me help from high.
Lord, while my fleeting time still lasts,
Your goodness let me tell.
And new experience I have gained,
My future doubts repel.
A humble, faithful life, O Lord,
Forever let me walk;
Let my obedience testify,
My praise lies not in talk.
Accept, O Lord, my simple gift,
For more I cannot give;
What you bestow I will restore,
For of your alms I live.3
4. We Offer Our Firstfruits to You from Apostolic Constitutions
We give thanks to you, O Lord Almighty, the Creator of the whole world, and its preserver, through your only begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord, for the firstfruits which are offered to you, not in such a manner as we ought, but as we are able. For who is there that can worthily give you thanks for those things you have given them to partake of? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, and of all the saints, who made all things fruitful by your Word, and commanded the earth to bring forth various fruits for our rejoicing and our food—some for our necessities, some for our health, and some for our pleasure. On all these accounts, therefore, you are worthy of exalted hymns of praise for your beneficence by Christ, through whom glory, honor, and worship be to you, in the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.4
5. ‘The God Who Yearns and Waits for Us’ by Walter Brueggemann
We are strange conundrums of faithfulness and fickleness.
We cleave to you in all the ways that we are able.
We count on you and intend our lives to be lived for you,
and then we find ourselves among your people
who are always seeking elsewhere and otherwise.
So we give thanks that you are the God
who yearns and waits for us,
and that our connection to you is always from your side,
and that it is because of your goodness
that neither life nor death
nor angels nor principalities
nor heights nor depths
nor anything in creation can separate us from you.
We give you thanks for your faithfulness,
so much more durable than ours. Amen.5
6. A Prayer of Morning Praise and Thanksgiving by John Wesley
Psalm 90:17; 98:8; 104:27; 145:10, 15; 148:8; Hebrews 13:15
O God, the great Creator and Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, Father of angels and men, Giver of life and Protector of all your creatures, mercifully accept this my morning sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, which I desire to offer, with all humility, to your divine Majesty. You are praised, O Lord, by all your works, and magnified by everything which you have created. The sun rejoices to run his course, that he may set forth your praise who made him. Nor do the moon and stars refrain to manifest your glory, even amidst the silent night. The earth breathes forth each day perfumes, as incense to you, her sacred King, who have crowned her with herbs and trees, and beautified her with hills and dales. The deep utters his voice, and lifts up his hands on high to you, the great Creator, the universal King, the everlasting God. The floods clap their hands, and the hills are joyful together before you; the fruitful vales rejoice and sing your praise. You feed the innumerable multitude of animals which you have created: “These all wait upon you, and you give them their meat in due season.” You made light for our comfort, and brought forth darkness out of your treasures to overshadow the earth, that the living creatures of it might take their rest. “The fire and hail, snow and vapour, wind and storm, fulfill your Word,” and manifest your glory. Inanimate things declare you, O Lord of life; and irrational animals demonstrate their wise Creator.
Amidst this universal jubilee of nature, do not allow, I ask you, the sons of men to be silent; but let the noblest work of your creation pay you the noblest sacrifice of praise. Pour your grace into my heart, so that I may worthily magnify your great and glorious name. You have made me and sent me into the world to do your work. Assist me to fulfill the end of my creation, and to show forth your praise with all diligence, by giving myself up to your service. “Prosper the work of my hands upon me,” O Lord; prosper whatever I shall undertake this day, that it may tend to your glory, the good of my neighbour, and the salvation of my own soul.6
7. You Have Not Taken Away Your Mercies from Apostolic Constitutions
2 Chronicles 30:9; Hebrews 12:28
We give you thanks for all things, O Lord Almighty, that you have not taken away your mercies and your compassions from us; but in every succeeding generation you save, and deliver, and assist, and protect. What life is sufficient, what length of ages will be long enough, for us to be thankful? To do it worthily it is impossible, but to do it according to our ability is just and right. Glory and worship be to you, through Jesus Christ, now and ever, and through all ages. Amen.7
Find more prayers of thanksgiving in books like these:
- The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Timothy and Kathy Keller
- Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans edited by Robert Elmer (also available in print—makes a great Christmas gift!)
- Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann
- The Episcopal Church, The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (New York: Church Publishing Incorporated, 2007), 836.
- Timothy Keller and Kathy Keller, The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms (New York: Redeemer; Viking, 2015), 356.
- Anne Bradstreet, “My Thankful Heart with Glorying Tongue,” in Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans, ed. Robert Elmer (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019), 216.
- Elliot Ritzema, ed., 400 Prayers for Preachers (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012). Adapted from “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles,” 497.
- Walter Brueggemann, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann, ed. Edwin Searcy (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 135.
- Elliot Ritzema, ed., 400 Prayers for Preachers (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012). Adapted from Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, Vol. 11, 232–33.
Elliot Ritzema, ed., 400 Prayers for Preachers (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012). Adapted from “Constitutions of the Holy Apostles,” 475.