A Turn of the Century Thanksgiving Prayer by Walter Rauschenbush

Monday, November 14, 2011 - 5:52am
Photo by Brian Auer

A Turn of the Century Thanksgiving Prayer by Walter Rauschenbush

by Susan Leem,  associate producer

Thanksgiving is a time when many families gather in gratitude, and sometimes in prayer. Paul Raushenbush says his family prayer was written by his great-grandad, Walter Rauschenbusch. Composed around the turn of the twentieth century, the theologian and Baptist social reformer's words remain as beautiful and poignant today as they did a hundred years ago.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Do you have a family prayer that you recite on Thanksgiving? How does your family give thanks?

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I appreciate so much the poem Thanksgiving Prayer.
The word arouse all my senses.

Thank You Grace
For the cosmos and infinite awe
For the loyal dog that gives her paw
For the smell of the fresh mown lawn
For the soft pink cloud before the dawn
For the tastes of honey and salt on skin
For the aging body my soul lives in
For a thought to follow like a bird in flight
For forgiveness after every fight
For the "family" with whom I share this meal
For the love for all I feel
-Dan Thompson, Thanksgiving 2014