A Thanksgiving Prayer on a Military Occasion

Almighty God, creator and sustainer of all life,

It is our duty and our privilege to give you thanks for your loving care. We thank you for the many blessings you have given us over this past year.

We thank you …
For food to eat and clothes to wear,
For shelter from the heat of summer and the cold of winter,
For the fruitfulness of farms and factories and fertile minds,
For safety in our homes and in our homeland,
For health and happiness of every sort,
And, perhaps most of all, for friends and family who love us.

As citizens of these United States, we are also grateful for the civil and religious freedom we enjoy. We thank you for the labors of all those who have who have secured these many blessings for us, especially for those who serve in our nation’s armed forces. Watch over our brothers and sisters in arms who today are far from home. Heal those who are suffering from the grief and wounds of war, and provide for all those in need.

We pray for your continued care and protection for our nation. Form in us a more perfect union. Establish your justice throughout the land. Enable us to provide for the welfare of all. Secure for us and our posterity, the blessings of liberty. Defend us from harm. Grant us peace.

The gifts we seek for ourselves, we also seek for others. Pour out your blessing on our community, our nation and our world. Amen.

* * *

This is a military chaplain’s prayer delivered at a Thanksgiving prayer luncheon. Attendance at these interfaith events is strictly voluntary in the military community.

Thanksgiving is a civic observance, not an ecclesiastical one. The language, then, draws on civil sources and themes. There is not one word, however, that I would not also pray as a Christian. 

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