Suggestions for a Prayerful Thanksgiving: Cultivate Gratitude Throughout the Day

First Thanksgiving Prayer: Before or during Hors D’oeuvres
Ask your guests to answer this question: What gift have I received from last Thanksgiving ‘till now that I still use and/ or treasure?
Option: Write them down without signatures and place them in a small basket (reserved For the First Course Activity.).

Second Thanksgiving Prayer: Traditional Grace
FIRST COURSE ACTIVITY: Throughout the first course (soup/salad), pass he basket around with “treasured gift” papers. Each person takes a paper and reads it aloud. Guests try to match the “owner” of the item.

Third Thanksgiving Prayer: Between first and second course:
1. What event or circumstance was most significant for me this year?
2. What have I learned or still learning from the experience?
Fourth Thanksgiving Prayer: After the Main Course or Before Dessert:
1. What am I most thankful for? And / or
2. What am I most looking forward to?

AFTER DINNER ACTIVITY: Before the football game or during clean-up:
1. Together recall the Thanksgiving Poem: Over the River and Through the Woods – Who can remember the most verses? For a copy of the complete poem:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over_the_River_and_Through_the_Wood
2. If no one knows it, spend the clean-up time memorizing it together. Any poems about Autumn anyone?
Purpose of the Game: Poetry opens us up to the spiritual and to
appreciation of ritual: memory, context and associations.

Concluding Thanksgiving Prayer: Before Farewells or before the first person has to leave:
1. Christians: Have someone read Thanksgiving Gospel Reading: Luke 17: 11 -19 (1 Thankful Leper out of 10) Jews: ISAIAH 55;
2. Discussion:
a. Has Christ healed us in any way today?
b. For whom and for what do we still need to pray?
c. Close with extemporaneous prayer, Our Father and Glory Be.
PLEASE & THANK YOU GAME: Ask everyone to bring $1 to dinner. (Have extra bills around for those who forget.). Whenever anyone forgets to say P&TY from first grace to end of dinner (please pass the potatoes; thank you), he or she must put their dollar in a basket. Proceeds go to your parish or a charity of choice. Remaining Dollars in people’s pockets may be contributed voluntarily at the end of the day.

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