Happy Thanksgiving

"Cornucopia", CC photo by brownpau

Almighty God,
Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you
for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray,
give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts
we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages.

A Thanksgiving Day Collect

Almighty and gracious Father,
we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Source: Thanksgiving Day Collect, The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church: Together with the Psalter or Psalms of David: According to the Use of the Episcopal Church (New York: The Church Hymnal Corp., 1979), 194/246.

Let Us Do Good to Everyone

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)

Our Father, most merciful and gracious, of whose bounty we have all received, we pray you accept these offerings of your people. Remember in love those who have given, and those for whom it is given. And so follow it with your blessing that it may promote worship among men and advance the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever.

Michael Spencer

For Michael Spencer, whose influence on my life was profound, even though I never met the man and exchanged only a handful of emails with him:

Eternal God, our maker and redeemer,
grant Michael Spencer and all the faithful departed
the sure benefits of your Son’s saving passion
and glorious resurrection:
that, in the last day,
when you gather up all things in Christ,
we may with them enjoy the fullness of your promises;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

And also this, from Tolkien:

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Pursue Hospitality

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord… Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. (Romans 12:10,11,13 HCSB, emphasis added)

Our Father,

You have created us to live in a community. You have not placed us here as individuals, ignoring the needs of those around us and blithely living for ourselves. As we bring our gifts and offerings, we give them with joy, knowing they will be used to lift up those who are down, as we ourselves have been helped when in need.

This we pray in the Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was dead, yet lives.


For All Things Come From You

David’s prayer when both he and the people gave their gold and silver to build the temple is a great example of an offertory prayer.

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.  And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.  For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.  O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.  I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.  O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.

Help Us Use Your Gifts Wisely

Our Lord, giver of life and source of freedom, we know that all we have received is from your hand. Gracious and Loving Father, you call us to be stewards of your abundance, the caretakers of all you have entrusted to us. Help us to always use your gifts wisely and teach us to share them generously. Send the Holy Spirit to work through us, bringing your message to those we serve. May our faithful stewardship bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ in our lives. We pray with grateful hearts, in Jesus’ name. Amen ((Archdiocese of St. Louis, “Stewardship Prayers” (St. Louis: Archdiocese of St. Louis, 2003); available from http://www.archstl.org/stewardship/whatis/prayers.html.))

We Give Ourselves First to the Lord

“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-5

O God, who needest not to be enriched with any gifts that we may bring, yet who lovest the cheerful giver, receive these our offerings which we present before thee, and with them ourselves, our souls and our bodies, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to thee. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. ((Presbyterian Church USA, The Book of Common Worship (Philadelphia: Board of Christian Education of the PCUSA, 1946), 346))

Take Thou What We Here Offer

Take thou what we here offer, O God, and may it be multiplied, as was the bread when he blessed and brake it who was himself the bread of life. Multiply that portion of our goods which we retain for our own use if thou seest we may be trusted as thy stewards. Our prayer is in the master’s name. Amen.

Charles C. Albertson, ed., The Minister’s Book of Prayers (New York: Revell, 1941), 20.