Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! When you think about the upcoming holiday, what emotions fill your heart? Do you feel excitement? Fear? Loneliness? Anxiety? Gratitude? Anticipation? Worry?
No family is perfect or free from difficulty, whether it’s a strained relationship, a family member who always causes issues, a recent loss, financial strain or separation from loved ones who aren’t able to be with you for Thanksgiving.
It’s impossible to hide or completely ignore those things, so how do we have sweet fellowship in spite of the mess? I have personally received such a blessing from praying specific Bible passages in my own quiet time before family gatherings. There is such peace in taking our emotions to the Lord and reminding ourselves of the Truth in Scripture.
Here are three passages that you can pray in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I’ll walk you through the first one in case praying Scripture is a new concept for you.
Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Here’s what it might look like to pray this passage. There’s no right or wrong way to pray God’s Words back to Him – this is just an example.
“Lord, thank you that I am chosen and dearly loved by you. Help me to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Help me to bear with my family and be willing to forgive. Thank you that you’ve forgiven me, so help me to extend that same forgiveness to my family.
I ask that the peace we have in Jesus would be the ruler of my heart this weekend. Lord, give me a heart of gratitude. May everything I do this weekend be done, not to please others, but in the name of the Lord Jesus. I will give you the praise for all that is done this weekend, because it’s your work that is done through Jesus who is in me. Amen.”
That passage is a great one to pray during your daily quiet time, but it’s also helpful to have a few short verses that you can pray throughout the day.
Proverbs 12:20 – Those who plan peace have joy.
When you find yourself fretting over the upcoming holiday and imagining every possible negative outcome, stop and pray this verse. “Lord, help me to plan for peace so that I can be joyful.”
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an imaginary argument with someone? You think to yourself, “If she says ____ about ____, then I’m going to say _____.” A few minutes later, you’re all wound up and irritated about something that hasn’t happened. That’s the opposite of planning for peace – and it doesn’t bring joy.
I want to remind you that praying verses isn’t like waving a magic wand over your family. It doesn’t necessarily change people or circumstances – I can’t guarantee that if you pray Proverbs 12:20 that everyone will get along and that your turkey will come out juicy and delicious.
It might not bring change to anyone but you – but that’s the “magic,” if you will. I have found that the transformation of my own heart as God’s Word brings hope and joy is something so much greater than making everyone behave the way I think they should.
Because of that, I’ve included this verse as another good one to pray before Thanksgiving. Asking the Lord to turn our hearts toward Him and recognizing our desperate need of Him – that’s where the joy is!
Psalm 105:3 – Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those who seek and require the Lord [as their most essential need] rejoice. (Amplified Bible)
I created wallpapers of these two verses that you can download to your phone for a constant reminder!
Below is a printable 3×5 card with the Colossians passage – this is a PDF that you can print and keep with your morning quiet time resources, or place somewhere that you’ll see and remember to pray through those verses.
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- When Holidays Are Difficult (video)
- Hosting The Holidays With Joy – From My Mom’s Blog