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Family Graces
from An American Thanksgiving

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We give thanks to God for our turkey and dressing
for without Him there would be no blessing;

We give thanks to God for bringing our families together
for we are creating memories that will last forever;

We give thanks to God for the freedom to pray
for we know one day it could be taken away;

We give thanks to God that we will all be here next year
for celebrating the holiday with love and cheer.

Tressa Hilburn, 2001

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I am from Bulgaria. [Thanksgiving] is very old American holiday, but it is absolutely unknown for us, Bulgarian people. I like very much this Indian Quotation,

Our Creator ... Shall continue to dwell above the sky, and this is where those on the earth will end their thanksgiving.

And another quotation,

The plant has its nourishment from the earth and its limbs go up this way, in praise of its Maker ... like the limbs of a tree.

Bela, 2001

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Taught to our family by The Rev. Walke,

Bless this food to our use
and Us to thy service

Amen

Swift Family, 2001

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My mother found this somewhere along her journeys and taught it to my brother and me. She said it was "well-known" wherever she found it (that's lost to the ages). We claim none of the original artistic nor poetic inspiration but find it to be a nice pause before meals. If someone does know its origin, we would love to credit the source accurately. I memorized this in early college days and use it when someone asks for an "unusual" grace.

For sun and rain, for fruit and grain,
For friends we love so dearly.
For gentle moments and kindly hearts,
We thank thee, Lord, sincerely.

Our table graces in childhood, which still well suit the purpose, were -

God is great,
God is good,
Let us thank Him for this food.
Amen.

And

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything.
Amen.

Joe Glassmire, 2001

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In the light of September 11 events, this year we are making a special thanks giving to the Lord as well as to the people of America who are fighting against terror.

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW

We have many things to be thankful for, God, and sometimes we remember them and at times we forget. When something large or small goes wrong, it fills our mind. And we forgot those things which thou has showered upon us.

God, shower blessings on every needy person, on every sick, and free us from bondage of fear.

God, we especially pray for American people who are using thy gifts for others.

Help us to remember the good things, God. To name them, to savor them, and to be thankful to YOU.

Joseph Gathia, 2001

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This prayer was made by me. Two people are selected to read from a paper given to them. They will take turns at alternating sentences.

Holy Father, We gather together to ask your blessing this Thanksgiving Day;
     God bless America, land that I love;
You stand beside us in times of need, as of September 11, giving Peace and Love to all;
     Stand beside her and guide her,
     through the night with the Light from above;

Your handiworks are our home where warm loving hearts of family ties are brought together;
     From the mountains, to the prairies,
     to the ocean white with foam;

We raise our voices in praise to you through Christ our Lord.
     God Bless America, my Home sweet Home.
Amen

Barbara Hawkey, 2001

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I was taught this prayer when I was a child and it was already old by then. I know it is several generations old.

Dear Jesus:
Thank you for this food.
Bless us all.
Keep us from harm.
Guide and direct us,
through all the way.
Amen!

Tomasello Family, Spring Arbor, MI, 2001

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As we bow our head
And hold each other's hand,
We listen for the returning peace
That surrounds our festive table.
The silence is so present
That it's loud with serene joy.
The warming skin reaches our heart
And recalls of Mother-love.
The prayer ends...
We don't want it to end.

J. David Boyd, 2001

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This is a Boy Scout grace. Raiment means clothing.

For food, for raiment,
For life, for opportunity,
For friendship, and fellowship,
We thank thee o' Lord,
Amen.

And this is an Irish grace.

Bless us O' Lord as we sit together.
Bless the food we eat this day.
Bless the hands that made the food.
Bless us O' Lord.
Amen.

Jim, NJ, 2001

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One I made.

Thank you Lord for the food we receive
and for the sun and rain that helped it grow.
Thank you Lord for happiness
from the sharing and caring you show.

Holland, Lexington, NC, 2001

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A seven year old boy says this blessing at each meal.

God bless our food and Family and Friends. Amen.

Diane Decker, 2001

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My Pappa Goodyear used to say this at each and every meal. I will never forget it.

Heavenly Father, Forgive us of our sins, and make us thankful for these and all other blessings. In Jesus name, Amen (and everyone says Amen)

In my own family we take turns with a verse like this:

God is Great
God is Good (My son)
Let us Thank Him for our Food (My daughter)
By his hand we are fed (me, Mom)
Thank you Lord for our daily bread (husband, aka Dad)
Amen (Everyone together and squeeze hands}

The Goodyear Family, 2001

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This came from my great-grandfather's family.

Good and Gracious Lord,
Give us true and and thankful hearts
for the many blessings we are about to receive.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Nordan-Deese Family, 2001

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When my children, nephew and nieces were little (just starting to put sentences together) they always wanted to say grace before any meal. We gave them a very simple grace that is used today at all our meals.

Thank you God, For this food,
our family,
and friends,
and all that you do.
Amen

Mike Connor, 2001

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Thank you Heavenly Father, for this Day and this food we are about to receive. For it is in Christ Jesus we say these things. Amen

Fonseca Family, 2001

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I saved this from an Ann Landers column years ago. She ran it each Thanksgiving and I think it's timeless.

O, heavenly Father:
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That thy gifts to us may be used for others.

N. Mims, 2001

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Thank you, God, for the birds that sing, the family that we love, and the food that we eat. Please be with those who are hungry and those who suffer. Thank you. Amen

Alexandra and Kristina, 2001

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God, We Thank You

God, we thank you for this wonderful food in front of us.
God, we thank you for bringing all of us together again.
God, we thank you for all of the things you do for all of us.
God, we thank you for watching over us from above, everyday.
God, we thank you most of all for the wonderful life that you have given all of us.
We pray for all the people of the world.
God, thank you.
Amen

D'Alessandro Family, 2001

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The Merrick family in Nashville has a quirky little blessing ritual. For our nightly dinner-table thanksgiving we take turns, night to night, offering a prayer, which often contains variations upon the phrases,

Dear Lord, thank you for our family, and our friends, and our friends at school, and our friends at church, and thank you for the wonderful food upon our table, Amen.

Then another family member says (this duty also rotates), "Everybody say 'Grace!'" and we all say, in unison, "Grace," in the tone and accent the prompter has offered.

This admittedly odd little family custom began one day years ago after watching one of our favorite movies, Stephen Spielberg's "Hook," where the "Grace" was the Lost Boys' sole prayer. Though it may sound silly, it is a daily moment to laugh together while holding hands, a moment which we cherish. It also calls to all our minds my children's much-loved first cousin in Denver, Grace Ann (who only just turned 2), which only adds to the smiles we share.

Scott Merrick, 2001

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Here is a grace I wrote for Thanksgiving several years ago. I have used it every year since then and the family seems to like it.

Grace for an Omnivore

Great Creator Spirit of Life,

Help us understand the need for the sacrifice of life for the sustenance of life.

Make sacred the use of these your plants and animals so that we might have life not only in the flesh but also in spirit.

Thank you for that gift of life and keep us ever aware of our debts.

Help our farmers and gardeners find loving, kind ways to produce the fruits, grains, vegetables and animals that we use.

Keep us from the misuse of your good creation and lead us to wisdom, kindness, justice, and mercy.

For we pray in the name of Your Child, our brother Jesus, Mary's boy, whom we recognize a You With Us.

Amen

Janet E. Brown, 2001

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Father I thank thee for this that have given us. Amen

Rickie Timberlake, N.C., 2001

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Dear Lord, Thank you for my life. Bless the food and my family. Also bless my friends, shelter, and love and peace. In Jesus name we pray. AMEN

Kethlaine Michaud, 2001

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My fourth grade teacher taught me this prayer. I will probably teach it to my children someday.

For these and all thy gifts of love,
We give Thee thanks and praise.
Look down dear Father from above,
And bless us all our days. Amen.

Julia McLean, 2001

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My mom taught me a very nice prayer when I was small and now even my grandchildren utter the same words.

Thank you Lord for the day so BRIGHT
Thank you Lord for the food so NICE
Thank you Lord foe EVERYTHING

Richelle Bharwani, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2001

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We in the Anglican Church of Canada often say "The Primate's Grace" (the Primate is the senior bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada).

For food in a world where many walk in hunger
For friends in a world where many walk alone
For faith in a world where many walk in fear
We give you thanks, O Lord.

Rob Towler, 2001

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We have a grace that my was always said at my mother's table when she grew up and is now said at her grandchildren's tables - still going strong four generations later. I have no idea where it came from but a family meal wouldn't be right without it. Our family always added, "And please watch after us all. Amen" after the main part much to the consternation of our cousins who didn't say it at their house. My brother's family who are Roman Catholic start with the Sign of the Cross and then say it. A great adaptation of their father's tradition and their mother's tradition.

God, bless this food which now we take,
to do us good for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Susan Naylor, 2001

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I have a couple of different graces that our family uses. The first is a Swedish grace and the second is a Moravian grace from our Moravian church.

Swedish Grace

In Jesus name to the table we go.
God bless the food we receive.
To God the honor, to us the gain,
so we have food in Jesus' name.
Amen


Moravian Grace

Come Lord Jesus our guest to be
and bless these gifts bestowed by thee.
Bless our loved ones everywhere
and keep them in your loving care.
Amen

Kenneth R. Magar, Franklin, IN, 2001

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Our family has been saying this Grace before meals for over twenty years. I like it because it was easily understood by all of the children and expressed thanks for the people and natural gifts that God gives us.

God, we thank you for this food,
For rest and home and all things good.
For wind and rain and sun above,
And most of all, for those we love.
Amen.

The Hayden Family, 2001

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This is the prayer that the Pfeifer family says before their meals.

Bless us, oh Lord,
for these thy gifts,
which we are about to receive,
from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Pfeifer Family, 2000

Another visitor wrote, "This is the blessing we say before meals to thank the Lord for our food and gifts." Sue, 2001

This is a popular grace. Another visitor wrote, "My son used to say, when it was his turn to say grace... Rub-a-dub-dub, Thanks for the grub, Yea, God! Then he had to say the one we always said..."
Bless us O Lord, for these gifts, we are about to receive from your bounty.
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This have been a favorite at our home for quite some time. It seems to say it all.

Our Father in Heaven,
For this meal you have given
We want to say thank you from our hearts.
Bless the ones who prepared it
And Lord as we share it
Will you stay with us
And be our guest of Honor

Brent and Jan Hays, 2000

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For what we are about to receive
make the Lord make us truly thankful
for Jesus Christ sake. Amen

Donna Heacock, 2000

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Dear Father, we pray for peace
Dear Father, we pray for love
At this time I ask you please
to help us from your Kingdom up above.

Alex, 2000

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This is the traditional family grace of the extended Prickett/Miller family. All join hands around the table.

God is great, God is good
Let us thank him for our food. Amen.
God bless those of our loved ones
who are absent from us. Amen.
SQUEEZE! (said loudly while squeezing the hands you hold)

Virginia M. Ambler, 2000

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In memory of my Uncle Hap at mealtime.

Good food,
Good treats,
Good God,
Let's eat!

Judy Arnold, 2000

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In 1931, I was graduated from Northfield Seminary (now Northfield Mount Herman School) in East Northfield, Massachusetts. This is a grace that we frequently said in unison before meals.

Northfield Blessing
We thank thee, Lord, for this our food,
For health and strength and every good.
Let manna to our souls be given,
The Bread of Life sent down from heaven.
Amen

Florence Porter Winters, 2000

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Kirkpatrick Blessing

Accept our Thanks, Heavenly Father for these refreshments. Forgive all our sins and Heaven save us. For Christ sake, Amen

The Kirkpatrick Family, 2000

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This grace was said 365 days a year throughout my entire childhood. It was always said by my Dad but now, as he has passed on, when the family gathers together, it falls to me and I'm honoured.

The NYE Family Grace
For every comfort we enjoy
For food before us set
We thank Thee Father...
Through Thy love
Our needs are always met!

Sylvie Hanna, 2000

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This was a prayer my father would always recite while growing up.

Accept our thanks kind Heavenly Father,
for these and all of our many blessings.
Forgive us our sins and save us,
for Christ sake name we pray.
Amen

The Kidmans (and Legards), 2000

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Lord,
Thank you for this Thanksgiving Day. Thank you for all the many many blessings you bestow on us each and everyday. Thank you for the little things we over look from day to day. Lord, I pray you feed the ones today less fortunate. Draw up real close to them and let them know how very precious you are. I pray Lord, for the ones who are down and out today. Lord, put your loving arms around them and draw them up close to you and show them your love. Thank you for each one around this table Lord, and thank you Lord for the ones who prepared this food. In your loving name.
Amen

Ann Graham, 2000

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Bless the Lord for What we are about to receive, for the nursing of our body. for Christ sakes. Amen

The White Family, 2000

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My grandmother taught this grace to us when we were very small. My brother and sisters and cousins and I are all now passing this tradition on by teaching it to the next generation of children in our family. It is a wonderful legacy that will go on and on! Thank you Bama!

God thou giver of all that is good,
we thank thee for this food.
Bless it to our use, in Jesus name.
Amen

Cheryl Dukes, 2000

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This is the prayer we used in our household growing up and probably the one I will teach my children one day.

God is great, God is good
Let us thank you for our food
By his hands we all are fed
give us lord our daily bread
Amen

Joe and Caroline Floyd, 2000

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Here's a blessing the host used to say every day on a local LA kids show in the late '60s ("Sheriff John"):

God is great, God is good.
Thank you for our daily food.
Bless us even as we pray.
Guide and keep us through this day.
Amen

Vince Contreras, 2000

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My grandfather taught me this grace when I was very young. It was one of his favorites. Now my children love to say it.

Thank you for the world so sweet
Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
thank you God for everything
Amen

Michele DeRoche, 2000

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Dad's favorite; he remembers hearing of his cousin Lawrence dashing away from the table after intoning,

Oh, dear Lord, with a kindly twist,
Send down biscuits as big as your fist!

And our family favorite, used since my oldest brother learned it at Sunday School about 50 years ago

Thank you, God, for bread and milk,
And other things so good.
Thank you, God, for those who help,
To grow and cook our food.
Amen.

The Bradshaw and Sheppard Families, 2000

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My husband has be saying this grace since he can home from kindergarten. Do you think the teachers will ever know what an impact they make on our children's lives?
God you made the great wide world,
The Earth and sky and mountains tall,
The flying bird's and swimming fish,
Oh God we thank you for them all.
Amen.

Marcy, 2000

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Here's a great short prayer my Grandmother, Anna Firment, used to always say before we ate. She raised nine children in a small Coal mining town in Pennsylvania, so I can imagine that the daily blessing had to be fast and well said. I now say this blessing with my three small children as well.

Bless the food, and them that eats it! Amen!

Michelle Reid, 2000

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Oh the Lord is good to me.
So I thank him for giving me the things I need
The sun, and the rain and the apple tree.
The Lord is good to me!
Amen

The Wilson Family, 2000

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Here is the prayer that I wrote for my child as soon as he was old enough to begin reciting. It's been a special part of our family for ten years now, and I'd like to share it with your readers:

Thank you, God, for this nice day;
Bless our food, our work, our play.
Amen

Jennifer Miller, 2000

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For brimming plate, and flowing cup,
and freedom from the washing up.
We give thanks Lord.
Amen.

Jon Doble, 2000

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We used this a lot when we were kids, I think from Brownies.

Johnny Appleseed

The Lord is good to me
and so I thank the Lord
For giving me
the things I need
The sun and the rain
and the appleseed
The Lord is good to me.

Donna Lee Goldstein, 1999

(Note: According to another visitor, Jeff, this prayer is from the 1948 Disney movie "Melody Time" and was sung in the film by Dennis Day who was the voice of Johnny Appleseed.)

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A special favorite of six-year-old Nicole.

Dear God,
Thank you for everything.
You know that we love you and say prayers when we meet up with our families.
We love you so much we want to thank you for Thanksgiving.
Amen.

Patterson Family, 1999
Clinton, Washington

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My father (now deceased) taught this to his Christian and Jewish grandchildren when they were very little. Whenever we pray it we remember his loving care and guidance in bringing different faiths in our family together.

We thank you, Lord,
for happy hearts,
for rain and sunny weather;
we thank you for the food we eat,
and that we are together.

Bender Family, 1999

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Gracious Father, Bless this food,
for Thy Glory and Thy good. AMEN

Doug, 1999

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The Bower Family has enjoyed these for many years. Penned by Dad, now Grandpa Bob, as my husband and sister-in-law were children. Our rule is you can't wear out just one. We take turns each evening saying grace and choose from the following:

For food, for friends, for happiness we give our thanks to Thee,
And pray that other families may be as blessed as we.

We thank you God, that we're alive and for this food we eat.
Forgive our sins and guard us too, and please God keep us sweet!

For all we eat, for all we wear, for all the good things everywhere,
Father in Heaven we thank thee.

The Bower Family, 1999
Joan, Robert, and Amanda
Olympia, Washington

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When my son was four, he hilariously spouted this prayer one day in all the seriousness of a child. He only wanted to help his mother but we often say this prayer now, many years later by adapting the ending.

His original prayer:
Bless this food amen!
Help it not go to Mama's rear end!

Our adapted one:
Bless this food amen!
Let it go to (choose a relative or friend's name) rear end!

Heard Family, 1999

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We taught our daughter who is a pre-kindergarten student at Greater Beckley Christian School, Prosperity, West Virginia, the following prayer when she was learning to speak. This is a family favorite especially at Thanksgiving.
Kelli Maria's Prayer

For Food,
For Friends,
For Fellowship,
We Thank You Lord,
A-men
1999
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Thank you Lord Jesus for you forgive us each and every day.
Thank you for those loving arms that take our hurts away.
Thank you for the time you hung on that cross alone,
because of the love for all of us, one day we will all be welcome home.
There is no thanks great enough that could pass from cheek to tongue,
but may our thanks be heard in heaven every time your praise is sung. Amen

Bonnie Frederick, 1999

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Our Precious Heavenly Father,
Please bless the bounty that has been prepared before us.
Bless those who are with us today and those who are not.
Thank you Lord for all the many blessings that you have so graciously bestowed upon us.
Thank you for giving your life so that we may have life.
Father bless those who are less fortunate,
Bless the children for they are our future,
Bless our elders for they are our history.
For all of this I ask in you Holy name. Amen

Leslie Chesney, 1999

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Our preschooler says this at his school.

Thank you God for blue skies over me,
Green grass under me,
Good friends beside me.
Thank you God for good food in front of me
And peace all over the world.

The Claussen Family, 1999

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My daughter applied this psalm to mealtime when she was seven.

O, Lord God almighty,
Who is like you?
You are mighty O, Lord,
And your faithfulness surrounds you!

1998

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This has been our family's special prayer since my Mom and I found it on a poster nearly 15 years ago. It has been framed and hanging in my now 6 ft. tall son's room since he was a toddler. The poster says the author is "anonymous."

Thank you, Lord, for each new day you give to me,
For earth and sky and sand and sea,
For rainbows after springtime showers,
Autumn leaves and summer flowers,
Winter snowscapes so serene,
Harvest fields of gold and green,
Beauty shining all around,
Lilac scent and robin sound,
Stars that twinkle high above
And all the people that I love.

Jani, Mike and Chris Kennedy, 1998

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This prayer is old and widely used...our family always said it, and our church sometimes sang it to the tune of Old Hundredth.

Be present at our table, Lord;
be here, and everywhere adored;
Thy mercies bless and grant that we
may feast in fellowship with Thee. Amen.


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An all time favorite of mine has been one that I happened to find many years ago in a Reader's Digest. I am sorry that I do not know who originally submitted it, but I do understand that if you use something with any regularity, after a period of time it becomes yours to claim!

Almighty God,
Thy Will,
Nothing More,
Nothing Less,
Nothing Else!

Henry M. Willits, 1998

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Come, Lord Jesus,
Be our guest,
And let Thy gifts to us
Be blest. Amen.

Kurt Schmeiser Family, 1998

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Two short prayers that our family enjoys are "Rub a dub dub, Thanks for the grub. Yea God." And the ever popular, "Good food, good meat, Good Lord, Lets eat." But our real favorite is

Lord God, bless this food to our use and us to thy service.
Amen

Jeff and Eve Clauss Family, 1998

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My husband would say this grace, and therefore, I loved it!
Marty's grace:


Bless this Bunch, While we crunch our Lunch.

My Personal favorite -- Carrie's grace:

Bless this food to our use, and our lives to Thy service, making us ever mindful of the needs of others.

My Dad wrote this down from somewhere - and was his personal favorite. The Rountree Family Grace:

We give thanks to thee for these thy earthly gifts. As our bodies are strengthened and refreshed, so may we be made strong in our souls to glorify thee in our lives through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Carrie Rountree, 1998

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This little blessing was taught to my children many years ago by a Rev. Charlie Hopla from England.

Bless the food upon the dishes
as you blessed the loaves and fishes.
As the sugar hides in the tea,
let me hide myself in Thee. Amen

Anne Ingram, 1998

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I received this prayer from Father Flanagan's Boys Home in Boy's Town, Nebraska a few years ago. It doesn't mention who the author was. I take the liberty to edit it to fit my personal occasion. Here is how it was sent from Boy's Town.

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

LORD,

We humbly ask thy blessing on the turkey and the dressing, on the yams and cranberry jelly, and on the pickles from the deli.

Bless the apple pie and tea, bless each and every calorie. Let us enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, tomorrow we can all get thinner.

For all Thy help along the way, we're thankful this Thanksgiving Day. We're thankful, too, for all our dear ones, for all the far away and near ones.

Although we may be far apart, we're together in my heart. Keep us in Thy loving care, this is my Thanksgiving prayer.

P.S. Anyone who wishes may help with the dishes.

Father Flanagan's Boy's Town, submitted by Ron, 1998

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The eyes of all look to you, Lord.
You give us our food when we need it.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

(Psalm 145:15-16)
J. Doug O'Shell and Family, 1996

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Thanksgiving HOME FIRST FUN FOOD LINKS GRACE

Autumn graphic from Billy Bear's Playground
Copyright ©1995-2001 Not Just for Kids! and An American Thanksgiving maintained by Rosie Winters.  //11/4/96
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