Saying grace before meals offers families a chance to slow down and give thanks, especially on Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving Day, we offer these words of grace shared before meals by different cultures. Some are traditional, some whimsical, some thought-provoking.
For good food and those who prepare it,
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For good friends with whom to share it,
We thank you Lord. Amen.
So once a year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song,
In thankfulness of heart.
- Arthur Guiterman, 1871-1943
O Lord of the universe
Please accept all this food
It was given by you
Let it be of service to all
Only you can bless it.
- Bhagavad Gita, fifth century B.C.
May this food restore our strength,
giving new energy to tired limbs,
and new thoughts to weary minds.
May this drink restore our souls,
giving new vision to dry spirits,
and new warmth to cold hearts.
And once nourished and refreshed,
May we give thanks to Him who
gives us all and makes us blest.
- Adapted from an Irish blessing
In a few moments of silence,
Let each of us be mindful
Of all we have for which to give thanks:
Friends, food, hopes, health and happy memories.
(a moment of silence observed)
So, in giving thanks,
We are blessed.
- Traditional Christian blessing
Blessed art thou
O Lord our God
King of the world
Who bringest forth bread from the earth.
- Traditional Jewish blessing
A circle of friends is a blessed thing.
Sweet is the breaking of bread with friends.
For the honor of their presence at our board
We are deeply grateful, Lord.
Thanks be to Thee for friendship shared,
Thanks be to Thee for food prepared.
Blessed Thou the cup; blessed Thou the bread
Thy blessing rest upon each head
- Walter Rauschenbusch, 1861-1918
Bless O Lord, this food to our use,
And us to thy loving service.
And make us ever mindful of the needs of others,
For Jesus' sake. Amen.
Let us live together, eat together
Together, let us do noble deeds and share the fruits
Let us understand each other, casting aside jealousy and ill will
Let us all work for peace and peace alone
- Hindu prayer
Make us worthy, Lord,
To serve our fellow men
Throughout the world who live and die
In poverty or hunger.
Give them, through our hands
This day their daily bread,
And by our understanding love
Give peace and joy.
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
God our Father
God our Father
We bow our heads and thank you
Bow our heads and thank you
- Sung to the tune of "Are you sleeping, Brother John"
Thank you, heavenly Father,
for my bread,
my dad and mother
and my bed.
- Child's prayer of thanks
Bless our hearts
to hear in the
breaking of bread
the song of the universe.
- Father John Giuliani
When you arise in the morning,
give thanks for the morning light,
for your life and strength.
Give thanks for your food
and the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
- Tecumseh, chief of the Shawnee Indians, 1768-1813
We contemplate how precious this meal is. This food is the gift of the whole universe; each morsel is a sacrifice of life.
As we receive this offering, we consider whether our virtue and practice deserve it.
We contemplate our hearts, cautiously guarding them from wrongdoing, greed, and other defilements.
We receive this food as nourishment to keep our bodies and minds in good health.
We accept this food so we may realize the path of understanding and love for the sake of all beings.
- Version of the Buddhist 'Five Contemplations before Meals'
God is great, God is good.
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands, we are fed.
Let us thank him for our bread.
I thank Thee, O Lord,
because Thou hast bound me in the bundle of life.
I thank Thee, O Lord,
because Thou hast saved me from the pit
I thank Thee, O Lord
because Thou hast gladdened me with the Covenant.
I thank Thee, O Lord,
because thou hast set thine eyes upon me.
-The Thanksgiving Hymns, Composed from the Dead Sea Scrolls, second century B.C.-first century A.D.
Bless us Lord, and bless the food,
Keep us in a cheerful mood.
Bless the cook,
And all who serve us.
From sin and indigestion,
Lord, preserve us!
Bless us, O Lord,
And these thy gifts,
Which we are about to receive
From thy bounty,
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Traditional Catholic grace before meals
God we thank you for this food,
for rest and home and all things good,
for wind and rain and sun above,
but most of all for those we love.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
- Christian Doxology
The Lord's been good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
For the sun and the rain and the appleseed
The Lord's been good to me.
- The Johnny Appleseed song
Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Who eats the fastest gets the most.
Sing praise to the Mother Gaia
Sing praise to the Father Sun
Sing praise to the plants in the garden
Where the Mother and the Father are one.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
- "Thanksgiving," by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest.
Let these gifts to us be blessed.
I should like a great lake of the finest ale
For the King of Kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food
For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of faith,
And the food be forgiving love.
I should welcome the poor to my feast,
For they are God's joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place,
And the sick dance with the angels.
God bless the poor,
God bless the sick,
And God bless our human race.
God bless our food,
God bless our drink;
All homes, Oh, God, embrace.
- Celtic table grace
My plate, now empty, will soon be filled with precious food. In this food, I see the presence of the entire universe supporting my existence. Many beings are struggling for food today. I pray that they all may have enough to eat.
- Thich Nhat Hanh's, Vietnamese Buddhist monk
"Oh Lord, on this blessed day, we thank Thee for giving our family one more crack at togetherness."
- Bart Simpson's Thanksgiving grace