When President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, he did it by proclaiming it “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in the heavens.” In keeping with the spiritual component of the holiday that Lincoln spoke of, some contributors to the The Washington Post’s local faith leader network have shared their religion’s prayers of gratefulness and thanksgiving.
A General 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 him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.
For all the universality of this prayer, thanking God for just about everything, what I appreciate most is that includes those things that we are most likely not that excited about, disappointments and failures. Viewed through a different lens, though, even these things contain great blessings and opportunities for us, perhaps some of the best in our lives over the long haul. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the many gifts in our lives, even those that are a little bit harder to receive and recognize.
O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.
— Shastri Purushotma sits on the governing council of the Bahai’s of Washington, D.C.
Expressions of gratitude to repay the kindness of the Buddhas whose words open the door to liberation, to our mothers for their boundless love, and to our enemies for assisting us in developing patience: