Prayers of thanksgiving are one of the five basic forms of prayer outlined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see Catechism #2648). Prayer of thanksgiving flows from the recognition that everything is a gift from God. Nurturing an “attitude of gratitude” helps us see everything as gift—even our sorrows and suffering.
The reverse is also true: cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps kids offer meaningful and heartfelt prayers of thanksgiving. Kids can keep a gratitude journal (or a wall poster for posting “thankful thoughts”) to help them track things to be thankful for. Practicing some form of daily examen, even a simplified version such as highs and lows, can also help kids think of things to include in their prayers of thanksgiving.
A Round Litany of Thanks
During your family prayer time, try praying a litany of thanksgiving as a family. Each member of the family takes a turn offering something to be thankful for; after each person’s intention, the entire family responds by reciting one of the biblical hymns of thanks listed below. By the way, you can get a printed version of this prayer in the Catholic Family Book of Prayers or its expanded printable PDF download.
Before praying this prayer, recollect the day as a family. Then invite each family member to respond to the invitation to give thanks, as each is moved.
LEADER: For what should we thank God today?
After each statement of gratitude, all respond with one of the following verses:
I will give thanks to the Lord
with my whole heart;
I will tell of all
your wonderful deeds.
Sing praises to the Lord,
O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
O give thanks to the Lord,
for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Corinthians 15:57
Thanks be to God,
who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (Thessalonians 5:16–18)