Thanksgiving Day Prayers & Readings

November 25, 2021

Today’s Readings: 

  • Old Testament: Joel 2:21-27 
  • The Psalm: Psalm 126, In convertendo
  • The Epistle: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
  • The Gospel: Matthew 6:25-33

The 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 pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Litany For Thanksgiving Day

(from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book [1])

LET US OFFER OUR PRAYERS and thanksgivings to God, the giver of every good and perfect gift.

For the earth and the bounty it offers; for the beauty of valleys, hills, plains, and mountains, for flowing streams and surging oceans;

          we give thee thanks, O Lord.

For the human family; for all that is gracious in every culture, race, and nation; for all the good we receive from the generations who were before us;

          we give thee thanks, O Lord.

For our families and friends; for all that enriches our lives and challenges us to grow; for the ability to work, to create, and to contribute to the common good;

          we give thee thanks, O Lord.

For the great promises and mercies given us in Christ Jesus; for the Church which unites people of every time and place; for the means of grace and the hope of glory;

          we give thee thanks, O Lord.

Lord, we offer our prayers unto thee, for peace and respect among all the peoples of the earth; for a just and proper sharing of the bounty which we receive at thy hands;

          Lord, hear our prayer.

For the President, the courts, and legislatures, that they may serve justice and promote the common good;

          Lord, hear our prayer.

For this city, its industry and commerce, its schools and universities;

          Lord, hear our prayer.

For those who are lonely or forgotten, the unemployed and the destitute, for those whose homes are broken or torn by strife, for those in grief or sorrow;

          Lord, hear our prayer.

For ourselves, for those we love, for a spirit of humility that acknowledges thy graciousness, for wisdom to know thy will and for courage to accomplish it;

          Lord, hear our prayer.

For a sense of joy and wonder in all thy works, for faith that conquers anxiety, for love that casts out fear, and for hope that strengthens us for thy service;

          Lord, hear our prayer.

Old Testament: Joel 2:21-27

Do not fear, O soil; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! Do not fear, you animals of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit, the fig tree and vine give their full yield. O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent against you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Let us pray.

The General Thanksgiving

          ALMIGHTY GOD, FATHER OF ALL MERCIES, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and loving kindness to us and to all.

          We bless thee for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for thine inestimable 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 beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful; and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen. [2]

The Psalm: Psalm 126

In convertendo

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, *

then were we like those who dream.

2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, *

and our tongue with shouts of joy.

3 Then they said among the nations, *

“The Lord has done great things for them.”

4 The Lord has done great things for us, *

and we are glad indeed.

5 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, *

like the watercourses of the Negev.

6 Those who sowed with tears *

will reap with songs of joy.

7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, *

will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.

Let us pray.

          Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

          We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

          We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

          We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

          Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

          Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know Christ and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen. [3]

The Epistle: 1 Timothy 2:1-7

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For

there is one God;

there is also one mediator between God and humankind,

Christ Jesus, himself human,

who gave himself a ransom for all

— this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

The Hymn: 

“Johnny Appleseed”

(“Johnny Appleseed is a traditional, American folk song that is also used as a nursery rhyme. Did you know that Johnny Appleseed actually was a real person? He lived 150 years ago. His real name was John Chapman, but he was called “Johnny Appleseed”. You ask why? Because he introduced apple trees to parts of the USA. So you may thank Johnny Appleseed for the apples you are eating today.” [4])

Oh, the Lord is good to me,

And so I thank the Lord,

For giving me the things I need;

The sun and the rain and the apple seed.

The Lord is good to me,


Oh, and every seed I sow,

Will grow into a tree.

And someday there’ll be apples there,

For everyone in the world to share.

Oh, the Lord is good to me,


The Gospel: Matthew 6:25-33

Jesus said, “I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you– you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, `What will we eat?’ or `What will we drink?’ or `What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Let us pray.

A Litany of Thanksgivings

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea.

          We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ,

          We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends,

          We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,

          We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,

          We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity,

          We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,

          We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,

          We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord; To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen. [5]


[1] Cobb, D., & Olsen, D. A. (2014). Thanksgivings. In Saint Augustine’s prayer book: A book of devotions (Kindle ed., p. 71). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[2] Ibid. 1, P. 72

[3] Forward Movement. (2013). Thanksgivings. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 186). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[4] Granum, M. (n.d.). Johnny Appleseed. Retrieved November 22, 2020, from

[5] Episcopal Church. (1979). Prayers and Thanksgivings. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 837). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

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