Stumbling Towards Thanksgiving: Congregational Pandemic Prayer

God, in this hard year, we’re stumbling towards Thanksgiving.
There has been lots to trip us up;
a pandemic, economic meltdowns, social isolation,
injustice on so many fronts: #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo,
and the ongoing call for justice for indigenous peoples.
Not to mention hurricanes, forest fires and climate change…
and this is not even including the everyday sorrows
that haven’t let up for one minute!
We wouldn’t wish this year on anyone!
And so on this Thanksgiving, we stumble on the words,
and we need to take some deep breaths now to pause
and consider what we are thankful for…  [ pause ]
We do have things to be thankful for.
Thank you for life, for bringing us here this far.
Thank you for those who have sacrificed to help others;
health care and essential workers, teachers,
and everyone who has toiled overtime to make a difference.
Thank you for your provision;
the good earth has yielded up its bounty,
and there is food in grocery stores,
even if we sometimes do have to line up for it.
Thank you that this fall season still delights:
the taste of the crisp delicious apple,
the gold of grain pouring out of the combine,
the fragrance of the damp leaves,
the sound of geese honking their way south,
the feel of cool wind and the sun still warm on our skin.
God of hope, we need your help to get through the coming year.
Help us find a vaccine:
we need it soon,
we need it for everyone,
and we need it to work.
In the meantime, help our communities pull together;
forgive us when we are irritated and judgmental
of the choices other people are making.
Give us all patience as we wash our hands for the millionth time,
as we mask up, as we make hard choices not to mingle and socialize in person.
On this Thanksgiving day, we set our eyes on Christmas,
The world is waiting desperately for an angelic message
of good tidings of great joy for all people.
We are waiting for you to be born again,
born again in this pandemic year, born again in our hearts, in our world.
We know you are coming, and so on Thanksgiving
we pray with thanksgiving, in Jesus’s name, Amen

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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