Thanksgiving may not look the same to you this year. You may be celebrating alone, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Some are even skipping the celebration entirely, opting to bypass with Christmas decorations and preparations instead.
Our house will not ring with the laughter of our larger family with kids and grandkids this year, due to distance. But my husband and I will not abandon celebrating the true season of Thanksgiving, even with just the two of us.
Our daily prayer time together every morning begins with thanks and praise to a faithful God who never changes. On Thanksgiving Day, that will only intensify.
No matter what your Thanksgiving looks like this year, here is a prayer for a COVID Thanksgiving that I pray will bless and encourage you:
Prayer for a COVID Thanksgiving
Lord, we enter into your presence during this COVID Thanksgiving with both a grateful and a somber heart. Nothing is the same this year. The pandemic has affected us all, and instead of abating, it is gathering speed like a tornadic wind. And the debris falls on the just and the unjust. No one seems exempt!
Thanksgiving in the Past
Lord, we remember better years in the past. At least they seemed better. Charities gave away turkeys to those in need, and churches fed both the homeless and the church members in traditional Thanksgiving meals. Families traveled in droves, jamming airplanes and cars on the busiest travel weekend of the year. Tables overflowed with traditional trimmings: turkey, dressing, cranberries, casseroles, pumpkin pies, and so much more.
A Different Thanksgiving This Year
And some of that will still continue. But while some may still risk the gathering, Lord, most of us will experience a different scenario. Hospitals, filled to capacity, will receive loved ones caught in the crossfire of COVID-19. Airplanes will sit on the tarmac, not waiting for departure, but grounded due to inactivity. Some chairs at the dining table will sit empty, many because a mysterious virus stole their Thanksgiving and their loved ones.
Lord, families still travel in droves, but they are not visiting loved ones; they are driving to line up for hours. Why? To receive a free Thanksgiving family meal because of job losses and possible evictions. Some ask, “Why?” Others ask, “How can we help?”
Hindrances or Blessings?
And, Lord, scenarios like these may appear as hindrances, rather than blessings this year. But if You are a faithful Father, and You are, then Lord, teach us to give thanks in all things and in all circumstances this year. We don’t thank You for this virus, but we do thank You in the midst of it.
We thank You for the lessons You teach us, even in the hard times. Thank You that Your love for us is unconditional, and that You never change. Thank You that You are always in control, no matter what. We give thanks that in sickness, or in health, You provide what we need.
Thank You for grieving with us, Lord, and for Your tender, caring heart. You comfort us as no one can. We owe You gratitude for showing us that because of our own losses or troubles, we can comfort others in their trials.
Thank You for what we still have, and for what we can still do. Protect us from negative thoughts that spiral us downward instead of helping us look upward.
Teach Us Your Lessons
Thank You, Lord, that difficult times can help us look up and out, and see life from Your perspective, not just our own. Teach us what You want us to know during this season. May our character become stronger, not weaker, as a result.
You have shown us the simplicity of life in the midst of complication. You have reduced our busyness to waiting. You have given us courage in our fear. And while we don’t always know how to handle it all, You do, Lord. Oh, how we depend on You!
Thank You for Others
Thank You that You give us gifts to help and encourage others who are facing situations much worse than our own. And thank You for the many who are literally laying down their lives in caring for those in need, or risking their own health by providing essential services for us.
Family means more than ever to us, Lord. Thank You that in Christ we can all become family as we share our faith in the One who died for us to give us eternal life. Thank You for helping us realize that all life is precious, and that we can relish friends, family, and relationships more than ever.
Open Our Hearts and Forgive Us
Forgive us, Lord, when we neglect to thank You and complain instead. Forgive us when we focus on ourselves and fail to consider the welfare of others. We have enough; You are enough. And we are blessed, so blessed to be Your children. We deserve nothing; yet You give us everything.
Our prayer for a COVID Thanksgiving, Lord, includes a plea to reveal Yourself to us as never before. And then open our eyes so we can know and experience Your love, peace, and truth in new ways. Open our hearts to see the needs of others so we can keep giving and blessing others, no matter how little or big our resources are.
Our Hearts Are Hurting, But Full
Lord, our tables may or may not be full. But our hearts are. They are filled with thanks and praise to You, the giver of every good and perfect gift. Draw us all close together in this time of crisis and hurt and need. Help us to see that through all of these things we are more than conquerors through the One who loves us so.
To those who invite You into their hearts and who follow You as Lord and Savior, nothing can separate us from Your love, Lord. Not even COVID-19. Not even death. Our destiny is set forever with You. Thank You for that eternal blessing and assurance. Help us to share that good news with others faithfully so we can increase Your eternal family!
May our prayer for a COVID Thanksgiving remain the same as other years in this way: We bless You; we thank You; and we recognize that everything we have or could possibly want is found only in You, Lord. You give; You take away; but Your consuming love for us remains the same. You have blessed us, every day of our lives, more than we could ever deserve.
You will work all things out for our good, Lord, if we will only let You.
We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28 NLT).
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38 NLT).
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV).
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 107:1 NLT).
*I wrote another Prayer for Thanksgiving last year before COVID-19 hit. If you’d like to see more specific ways to give thanks, you might enjoy reading that post. Another one I titled, Eight Unexpected Blessings from God, might also encourage you and even surprise you.
And to those who have never read my book, 40 Days in God’s Blessing, I hope you’ll check it out this year. In it, I related some truly unexpected blessings and timeless truths–the kind that revealed the heart of God to me in a new way.
It’s Your Turn
What’s different about your Thanksgiving this year? What’s the same? What are you most thankful for this year? I love to hear from readers. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info, and then the email will come to me. Your name or info will never be shared with anyone without your permission.
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