"Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for this food. Thank you for my family. Amen."
Short, simple, easy for a child to recite, but still profound enough to be considered a worthy prayer. It has become one of Curly Fries' favorite activities. If all of us sit down to the table to eat together, she holds out her hands for us take, announcing, "Prayers!" And now she even recites the prayer for us.
There are, however, some words and ideas she still doesn't understand. I haven't heard her use the word "family" yet. And I think that the concept of an entire day is hard for her to conceptualize. So here's how the prayer usually goes when Curly Fries prays it:
"Dear God. Thank you for. Food. Thank you for. Thank you for. Amen."
It's remarkably close to what we pray with her; just a few words missing. We always try to remind her or encourage her to say "family" or "today." But I think it's simple and powerful enough the way it is. "Thank you for." When we have so much to be thankful for, maybe it's best not to even fill in the blanks.
But occasionally, she will fill in the blanks with something unexpected. One day at her grandparents' house, she insisted we pray. "Dear God," she began, "thank you for. Cupcakes. Amen."
Maybe if we approach our days with a constant "Thank you for" on our lips we'll be more ready to fill in the blank with whatever immediate blessing comes our way. A cupcake, a hug, a pretty song.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I hope that you have many opportunities to fill in that blank and give thanks. But even if you leave it blank, the thanks is still there.