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Our Family's Favorite Grace

  • "My grandmother always cooked Thanksgiving dinner for our family, and I remember her handing my grandfather a small piece of paper before we said grace," relates Deborah Lowe of Mesa, Arizona. "When Nanny moved into a nursing home, I found an old newspaper clipping in her dresser. It was yellowed and worn, but it clearly was our family's Thanksgiving prayer."

    O, Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for food, and we remember the hungry. We thank Thee for health, and we remember the sick. We thank Thee for friends, and we remember the friendless. We thank Thee for freedom, and we remember the enslaved. May these remembrances stir us to service, that Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

  • Elizabeth North of Freeville, New York recalls this grace from her grandfather. "Papa taught us to give thanks and pray to the Creator of all things, the Giver of life," she says.

    Heavenly Father, again we are very grateful for Your watchful care over us another night; for these many blessings from day to day: for our food and clothing, health and happiness, home and little ones, and loved ones and dear ones. We thank You for answering our prayers and forgiving us of our sins. Continue to bless us and finally save us. For Christ's sake, Amen.

  • Malvern, Arkansas resident Twila Walker composed this prayer for her son when he was born. "I hope he continues the tradition throughout his life," Twila says.

    Thank You, Jesus, for this day, for our work and for our play. Help us to be kind and good and always do the things we should. And for this food upon our table, let it make us strong and able. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Maybe you'd like a new prayer to recite at the family reunion or one to say on Labor Day. Whatever your wishes, here are several meaningful prayers that have found a special spot in readers' hearts. You might find one you'll want to adopt, too.

  • Malvern, Arkansas resident Twila Walker composed this prayer for her son when he was born. "I hope he continues the tradition throughout his life," Twila says. Thank You, Jesus, for this day, for our work and for our play. Help us to be kind and good and always do the things we should. And for this food upon our table, let it make us strong and able. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
  • "I wrote this dinner prayer for a camp outing many years ago," says Gary Conrad, an assistant Scoutmaster who hails from Omaha, Nebraska. Lord, at the end of this day, we take time to give You thanks. Thank You for filling our day with activities and fun. Thank You for giving us companionship and fellowship with our fellow Scouts. Bless us as we sit down to enjoy the evening meal You have provided. In Your name we pray, Amen.
  • Tavares, Florida resident Irene Kaufmann jots, "We're empty nesters, but that gives us no reason to omit table grace at each meal. In unison, my husband and I recite the following simple but heartfelt prayer." Lord Jesus, be our holy guest, our morning joy and evening rest, and with our daily bread impart Your love and peace to every heart. Amen.
  • Vivian Palmer says her children were always encouraged to create their own prayers at mealtime. "One evening, our then 3-year-old daughter said this all-encompassing prayer," writes Vivian from Arlington Heights, Illinois. Dear God, thank You for all the nibbles and snacks we had today. Thank You for everything. Amen.