Some Interfaith Thoughts for Thanksgiving

November 22, 2010 - 4:04 pm 71 Comments

A Few Interfaith Expressions of Gratitude

Opening Words: May the glory of the passing away of autumn and the rhythm of the seasons the year remind us of the coming changes that will draw us first in, then together, then outward again….

And when the darkness comes, and with it the cold, let us remember where the warmth can be found- in being together, as families, as friends, as a community…

Let’s us dedicate our time together this day to know that we stand in the dark of an unknown, yet seeking a certain abundance, if we allow our hearts to warm and inform us…

Before being flung out into the season of cold and darkness, let us give thanks for the light and the warmth we can bring to one another…. PEL



Some World Religious Prayers and Reflections

I thank Thee, Lord, for knowing me better than I know myself… Make me, better than others suppose that I am, and forgive me for what they do not know about me… Amen   Islamic Prayer

I am thankful that all the darkness of our world, has not put out Thy light… Anonymous

May all Thy children unite, in one fellowship, to do Thy will, with a perfect heart… Ancient Hebrew prayer



 For each new morning with its light

For rest and the shelter of the night

For health, for food, for love and for friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends…

We are grateful! AMEN

R.W. Emerson


Giving Thanks”

adapted from A Native American Blessing

Let us not forget that there would be no Pilgrim holiday, no Thanksgiving in North American culture, if it were not for the Native Americans…. From the story and myth of the first Thanksgiving we are told of a coming together of Native Americans and Pilgrims from Europe, and how they put aside cultural differences, their religious prejudices, and any fear of the unknown or any xenophobia, and they sat down to eat together, thereby practicing interfaith hospitality, cooperation, and peace.

It is out of respect for the Native Americans, that I now offer this Offertory prayer:

Let us, for this moment, become aware of the beauty of our lives, and the grace that attends to beauty…. Grandfather, we are thankful for the gifts of the Sun, and Grandmother, for the gifts of the Earth … We give thanks for the times of meaning, the times of purposes, our times together…

Let us reflect on our struggles and how they have enabled and ennobled our growth; If we but shut our eyes, even for a moment, we can awaken to wonder;

And then we see with new eyes, the land, the sea, the creatures, one another…

And if we can feel a sense of gratitude, that grace will grow corn in our hearts, then we know beauty, then we know you, O Great Spirit … Ah Ho…

Matake Owassion- We are all connected to the earth… We are all relations…..


This Grace is sung to the tune “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music”:
Bless our friends, Bless our food,

Come, O Lord and sit with us.

May our talk, Glow with peace;

Come with your love to surround us.



An Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer:

God of Love,We pray that we may be truly grateful for the many, many blessings we enjoy this day. The air we breathe, the fresh water to quench our thirst, the beauty of this world where we live.

In the world around us there are many who are hungry, some without homes, suffering health problems, experiencing war, lonely and without direction.

We pray for your guidance and protection for those people who are giving of their time and money to help these hurting people.

We pray for our service men and women who are giving their time and even their lives serving their county working to make a better place in your world for thousands of people. We ask for protection for us and our country.

Guide us towards peace.

We ask your blessing on the food that has been prepared for us.

Thank you for the hands that have prepared it.

Help us to live a life of cheerfulness and have faith in all that is good.

May we be worthy of your love. Amen




Freely rendered translations or adaptations of World Scriptures:

From Shinto teachings, we are given this reflection that finds a spiritual resonates throughout the world faiths:

All life is given to us by God; lent to us enough to last lifetimes… Nature, our bodies, the sun by day and the stars and moon by night- all are freely given to us by God…

As gifts that are intimate and ultimate, they contain qualities that are eternal; they are given freely and deserve our respect and our gratitude.

So much of our lives we can take for granted- so much we can treat harshly,, we gratefully recognize God’s world of human compassion and kindness, the gifts of making and giving, where our best and most constant response is “Thank you”


A Composite or Inclusive Prayer

Life consists of daily and lifelong blessings… How could we exist without the favor, the kindness and the gifts of everyday life that God bestows on us ? Even when we fail to recognize it clearly, how could we exist for even a day, a night, an hour of the next moment without God?

As the Suras teach us, God is closer to us than our juggler vein, and there is a Pakistani prayer that speaks of how we owe our very existence to God’s grace. The oldest prophet in Hebrew writings, Job, declares that it is the Spirit of the Almighty that gives us life, and as Solomon advises, it is wisdom that teaches us humility, reverence, and thanksgiving…

In The Bhagavad Gita, we are given our assurances:

Those that seek Me will see me; they will see Me everywhere… So it is that I will never be out of sight, out of touch… I will always be nearby… I will never lose my hold, even when you feel that difficulties in your life make you feel as if you had let go…

The Early Christian Coptic Church recognized our need for one another and the gratitude that can be found in belonging to a group that honors the God of many names, for a community does not exist without a sense of mutual respect and a sense mutual gratitude for being together.

St. Cyril writes:

The blessings of God rest upon all those who have been kind, upon all those who care about their sisters and brothers in their faith and on those who seem to live outside faith’s door. The blessings of God extend themselves from every kind heart- towards those who serve God from many faiths, many directions.

So as we gather today, we ask our merciful God, to reward their faithfulness and compassion as living proof, that we understand their holy books, and that we are growing in our understanding of You. AMEN


 A grateful attitude is a creative one, because, in the final analysis, opportunity is the gift within the gift of every moment– the opportunity to see and to hear and smell and touch and taste with pleasure.


There is no closer bond than the one that gratefulness celebrates- the bond between the giver and the thanksgiver. Everything is a gift! Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless yes to belonging.

Can our world survive without gratefulness? Whatever the answer, one thing is certain: To say an unconditional yes to our mutual belonging of all beings will make this a more joyful world. This is the reason yes is my favorite synonym for God.”

Brother David Stendahl-Rast OSB, Ph.D.



 A circle of friends is a blessed thing.

Sweet is the breaking of bread with friends.

For the honor of their presence at our table

We are truly grateful O God.

Thanks be to Thee for the friendship shared;

Thanks be to Thee for the food prepared;

Bless the Cup; Bless The Bread;

May God’s blessings rest on each and every head! AMEN

Walter Rauschenbusch Protestant Theologian


O great Spirit; Creator and source of every blessing;

We gather to pray that you will bring peace to all our sisters and brothers in this world.

Give us wisdom to teach our children how to love, how to

respect, and how to be kind to one another.

Help us to learn how to share our world, and how to share all the good things that you have always provided for us.

Bless all who have come here, to eat with us today; especially our children who are the hope of a new world and a more peaceful future.

We ask for your help in being just, being unselfish; being kind- for the world needs to honor differences and to discover

how best to live cooperatively and compassionately- to live together, praising God with an open heart.                         Anonymous


Notice, that the more you become a connoisseur of gratitude, the less you are a victim of resentment, depression, or despair. Gratitude can transform us into being generous and loving beings… The sense of gratitude produces a genuine alchemy- a change of heart that is good for the largeness of one’s soul. …   Sam Keen


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