Thanksgiving always digs its roots deeply into the soil of my heart. That was especially true on a car trip my husband and I took last year. As I looked out the window, I tried an experiment to see how many things/reasons I could find for being thankful. What started out as a simple experiment for a mile or two grew into an hour-long experience. Finally, I stopped in amazement.
One thing led to another. First, seeing a home made me grateful for my own modest house, for the roof over my head, and for the architect or people who designed it years ago (mine is an old house). Next, I thought about the contractors and workmen who built it, the ones who manufactured needed products involved, the ones who hauled the materials to the company/store, and the trees for wood or stone to finish it. That led me to the gardens now growing in my yard, the fragrance from the flowers each spring, and ultimately to God who created the natural products and beauty in the first place.
The Thanksgiving Trail Kept Growing
Seeing hospitals stirred up gratitude for the doctors, the nurses, the technicians, and the administrators. Then I thought of the cleaning staff, the cafeteria workers, the volunteers, the medicine, the ones who first “invented” some of the medicines. ER workers, the office personnel, the ambulances, paramedics, and the times they’ve all ministered to me came next. In addition, I remembered the care they gave to dying loved ones, times when God protected me and my loved ones from death or further danger, and His angel protection I’ll never know about this side of heaven.
Next, I thanked God for His love in caring for me and His faithfulness in providing our needs, and His gifts He gave to those in this helping profession. Then that led me to gratefulness for a fairly healthy body, for two arms and legs, eyes and ears, etc.
But each time I identified something, EVERYTHING involved the same process: Telephone poles, airplanes, cars, restaurants, highways–you name it–all led me on a lengthy thanksgiving trail that always led to the One who made it all possible, the One Who created us, gifts us, blesses us, and Who loves us unconditionally.
Thanksgiving Is Not Just a Day
Later, when I wrote the following Prayer of Thanksgiving, I discovered that Thanksgiving is not just a day to reflect on our blessings. In addition, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to remember every day who we are. Ultimately, it’s a time to celebrate who God is, Whose we are, and how richly God supplies our needs. It’s a time to appreciate what an awesome and amazing Provider He is, and how much we really need Him.
Last year on my Facebook profile page, I listed blessings with a picture each day. I included things, reasons, or attributes of God for which I was thankful. Funny thing about offering thanks, because the more you give thanks, the more you’ll give thanks. And the more thankful you’ll become. As you offer thanks at your table this year, take time to celebrate our wonderful Maker and Savior’s love for you.
Three Beans – Three Blessings
At our table every year we each take three beans and place them in a jar, because that reminds us of the mission trips we took to Mexico years ago at Thanksgiving. We ate tortillas and beans, not turkey. Each year we take turns voicing our thanks for certain blessings that particular year. Is that hard to do? Yes! Only three beans? Even our grandchildren agree, because we could go on forever. We keep those beans every year. After 30+ years, the jar is filling up.
If you need help remembering, here is a prayer of thanksgiving you can offer at Thanksgiving or any day:
A Prayer of Thanksgiving to Remember Daily
Lord, I ask you often for many things, but today, I only want to give you thanks. Thank you for being a great Father and God who loves me with all my faults. Thank you that you forgive me completely and teach me faithfully through your Word. Thank you for all the times you picked me up, and for all the times you carried me. Thank you for stationing angels to rescue me from danger and protect me from harm.
Thank you for family and friends, for placing people in my path again and again— those whose encouragement and kindness I will never forget. Thank you for the things I take for granted like clean water, a place to sleep, air conditioning, and food to nourish me. I’m grateful for your protection and your gentle prodding away from danger.
Thank you for answered prayers, for fun surprises, and for happy memories with loved ones and friends. Thank you for faithful servants who help make the world a safer place—like policemen, firemen, lifeguards, pastors, and teachers. Thank you for those who work long hours in low-paying jobs and contribute to my life and welfare through their service. Thank you for always providing for my needs, in big and small ways.
Thank you for children, laughter, and the beauty of nature you created so miraculously. For blessings both unreserved and undeserved, Lord, I offer a grateful heart. For arms to lift in praise to you, for a mouth to speak your praise, for legs to walk new pathways, and for a heart that beats for you, Lord.
For times of healing and amazing grace, for drawing me close and preparing a place for me to live with you one day. Thank you for your salvation offered freely to all through Jesus’ sacrifice—all because of extravagant love.
I’m grateful not only for good things but for blessings in disguise. Thank you for mistakes I’ve made and lessons learned, for pain and sorrow, too. For your comfort, Lord, your tender hand, for even things I’ll never understand, so in turn I can comfort others—thank you God.
In everything, for everything, good or bad, my prayer today brings an attitude of gratitude. May it always be so, Lord. Amen.
5 Inspiring Bible Verses on Thankfulness
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
This Thanksgiving prayer here was first published on crosswalk.com.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds (Psalm 9:1 NIV).
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU!
It’s Your Turn
What would you include in your thanksgiving prayer this year? I’d love to hear from you anytime. You can always write me through my contact page. Just fill out the basic name and address info, and then it will come to me. Your name or info is not shared with anyone.
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