A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

When our children were young, they came home from Preschool with a lovely Native American Prayer for Thanksgiving with simple hand movements:

May the Great Spirit (fingers pointing skyward making a big circle over your head) who has been with us in the past (hand over shoulder pointing behind you) and will be with us in the future (arm outstretched in front) bring us great joy (right hand over the heart).

May the Great Spirit, who has been with us in the past and will be with us in the future, bring us great joy!

With a consciousness raised about our complicated Native and Euro-American history, that simple prayer offered in our home for long years on Thanksgiving Day inspired me to research other Native American Prayers to incorporate into a Prayer of Thanksgiving for this year.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

O God of holy scripture, you declare the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Hear our prayer this Thanksgiving Day as we join our voices with those who share this good earth.

With the Sioux we pray, Great Spirit, whose voice we hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to the world, let us walk in beauty and remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes toward us.

With the Aztec we pray, Because we take form in your act of drawing us, we take life in your painting us, and we breathe in your singing us, only for so short a while you have loaned us to each other.

With the Cherokee we pray, May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house and bless all who enter there; may your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows, and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.

With the Lakota we pray, Teach us to trust our heart and inner knowing, so that we may enter sacred space, love beyond fear, and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun.  

O God, who creates human family with great diversity and abundant harvest, bless our Thanksgiving Day celebrations that we may gather around our feasts with penitent hearts for wrongs committed, renewed commitment to your peace and justice for the earth and its peoples, and deepened appreciation for your ways of reconciliation and healing. Bless us to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.

~ Agnes W. Norfleet