Christian Prayers and Worship Resources

Prayers for Harvest Thanksgiving



Prayers and resources for Harvest

harvest

Harvest - A Short History

Harvest is from the Anglo-Saxon word hærfest, "Autumn". It then came to refer to the season for reaping and gathering grain and other grown products. The full moon nearest the autumnal equinox is called the Harvest Moon. So in ancient traditions Harvest Festivals were traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the Harvest Moon. This moon is the full moon which falls in the month of September.

An early Harvest Festival used to be celebrated at the beginning of the Harvest season on 1 August and was called Lammas, meaning 'loaf Mass'. Farmers made loaves of bread from the fresh wheat crop. These were given to the local church as the Communion bread during a special service thanking God for the harvest.

Nowadays the festival is held at the end of harvest, which varies in different parts of Britain. Sometimes neighbouring churches will set the Harvest Festival on different Sundays so that people can attend each other's thanksgivings.

Farmers celebrated the end of the harvest with a big meal called a harvest supper. Some churches and villages still have a Harvest Supper.

The modern British tradition of celebrating Harvest Festival in churches began in 1843, when the Reverend Robert Hawker invited parishioners to a special thanksgiving service at his church at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Victorian hymns such as "We plough the fields and scatter", "Come ye thankful people, come" and "All things bright and beautiful" but also Dutch and German harvest hymns in translation helped popularise his idea of harvest festival and spread the annual custom of decorating churches with home-grown produce for the Harvest Festival service.

(source Wikipedia)

The tradition of Thanksgiving in the United States is now four centuries in the making. The first Thanksgiving Day is considered by most to have been celebrated as a result of the first bountiful autumn harvest in the Plymouth Colony of modern-day Massachusetts. The Pilgrims who crossed the Atlantic landed into a bleak November winter and saw half of their numbers perish during the course of the cold season, as food was in short supply after the long journey. Having had better luck through the subsequent summer, the grateful people “established a day of thanksgiving and invited the local Indians to share their bounty” (Appelbaum 1984).


Resources on this site

Harvest Liturgies - A contemporary and a more traditional liturgy for Harvest

Lammas and a Celtic Harvest - A form of prayers that connects with the old Celtic celebration of Lughnasadh, and its Christianised form as Lammas

Prayers on a theme of creation

Prayers for the world, and the people we live alongside

Prayers for a fractured world

Resources for harvest and ideas for enhancing your Thanksgiving service and harvest supper can also be found on the following websites:-

The Methodist Church from 'All We Can' 2016

Water Aid Harvest Resources for Church use 2016

Church Urban Fund 2016

Tearfund harvest resources 2016

Barnabas for Churches - All Age Resources 2016

Hope Together Resources 2016

 

 

New Prayers for Harvest Thanksgiving

The following prayers encompass both praise of God for his provision through creation, but also the problems of a world of uneven distribution of resources.

 

In the fading of the summer sun,
the shortening of days, cooling breeze,
swallows' flight and moonlight rays
A. WE SEE THE CREATOR'S HAND

In the browning of leaves once green,
morning mists, autumn chill,
fruit that falls, frost's first kiss
A. WE SEE THE CREATOR'S HAND



Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude,
the spiritual blindness that prevents us
from appreciating the wonder that is this world,
the endless cycle of nature,
of life and death and rebirth.
Forgive us for taking without giving
reaping without sowing.
Open our eyes to see
our lips to praise
our hands to share
May our feet tread lightly on the path we tread
and our footsteps be worthy of following
for they lead to you.

 


 

 

As a part of nature's wondrous cycle
Of new birth, growth, fruitfulness and death
We rejoice in the creation of new life,
For parenthood, the passing on of knowledge,
For understanding and the wisdom of years.
We are grateful for those who have gone before
Passing on to us our spiritual heritage.
May our lives blossom as the apple tree in Spring
May we become fruitful in thought and deed
And may the seed of love that falls to the ground
Linger beyond our time on this earth.

 


 

We bless you, God of Seed and Harvest,
And we bless each other,
That the beauty of this world,
And the love that created it,
Might be expressed though our lives
And be a blessing to others,
Now and always
A. AMEN

 



This is your garden, Creator God,
A thing of beauty
Beyond understanding ,
A poem that is being written,
Not in words,
But in colours,
Wind's whisper,
Soaring bird,
Snowdrop's petal,
Gentle rain,
Sunlight's warmth.
This is your garden, Creator God,
A thing of beauty
Beyond understanding,

 


 


May this eternal truth be always on our hearts,
That the God who breathed this world into being,
Placed stars into the heavens
And designed a butterfly's wing,
Is the God who entrusted his life
to the care of ordinary people,
became vulnerable that we might know
how strong is the power of Love,
A mystery so deep it is impossible to grasp,
A mystery so beautiful it is impossible to ignore.

 


 


In your time, Creator God,
This world was put in place,
And in your time
Became beautiful,
Through the craftsmanship of your love.
Remind us always,
As we look at sunrise,
Landscape and tiny child,
That at the centre of all things,
Is the creative love of God.

 


 

By the word of our Lord the heavens were made.
By the spirit of our Lord was life begun.
By the wisdom of our Lord his laws were laid.
By the love of our Lord was born his Son.
By the grace of our Lord mankind was saved.
By the power of our Lord the victory was won.

 


 

God of harvest,
gardener supreme,
you place us at the centre,
feed us, equip us and,
having provided for us,
look to a different harvest,
a fruitfulness of lives
in service to you,
and others.
God of harvest,
feed us,
prune us,
harvest us,
that our lives
might bring glory to you.

 


 

 

By faith
I gaze up to the heavens,
and know
within its vastness
that this is your creation
planned and effected within eternity

By faith
I pluck an ear of corn,
and know
within its symmetry
lies the chemistry of life,
the potential of creation within my hand

By faith
I listen for your voice,
and know
the whisper that I hear
breathed a world into existence,
yet listens to the prayer within my soul

By faith
I strive to do your will,
and know
the door that I approach
may lead me to shadows,
where my roll is to become your light

By faith
I cling to your word,
and know
the strength that I receive,
has it’s source within the love,
that is at the centre of all things

 


 


God of light and God of night,
Creator of seed and mountain,
raindrop and fountain,
We bring our offering of praise.
God of right and God of might,
Lover of child and childless,
rich and homeless,
We bring our offering of praise.

 


 


Make me a tree, Lord,
Sturdy,
Deep rooted,
Useful,
Support
to those in need,
Shelter
to those who are weary,
Fruit
for those who hunger.
Make me a tree, Lord,
Sturdy,
Deep rooted,
Useful.

 



 

Creator God, for daily bread,
and all who work
to bring your harvest home,
we bring our thanks today.

(pause)

Forgive our ingratitude,
we who have so much,
yet waste what you have given.

(pause)

For those whose harvest is poor,
whose crops have withered,
water tainted, children starve,
help those who bring relief
and bestow on us
an unaccustomed generosity,
that all might share from your garden
and all might sing your praise.

(pause)

Creator God, provider of all
we bring our thanks today.



Lord of the morning,
of dawn chorus,
rising sun,
mist on water,
day begun.

Lord of the noontime,
of chattering voices,
laughter and fun,
sparkling water,
everyone.

Lord of the evening,
of quiet breeze,
setting sun,
gentle waters,
day that’s done.

 


 

For the promise of harvest
contained within a seed,
we thank you.
For the oak tree
within an acorn.
The bread
within a grain.
The apple
within a pip.
The mystery of nature,
gift wrapped
for us to sow,
we thank you.

 



God of Love, God of Peace,
This fractured word
Cries out in pain,
Burns deep into my soul
And challenges me
To make a difference.

God of Love, God of Peace,
God of this world,
Scarred by grief and tears,
Ignorance and fear,
Soften hearts of stone,
And begin with mine.

God of Love, God of Peace,
Create within me
A heart for people,
A desire for change,
For new beginnings
To start this day.

 



Bless those who are peacemakers,
From all creeds and cultures,
All who bring no other agenda
Than to see neighbour and stranger
Live together as one community.
A: Bless the peacemakers
B: Strengthen and bless them

Bless those who are comforters,
Shoulders to cry upon,
A willing ear to listen,
A present help in times ,
Of despair and hoplessness.
A: Bless the comforters
B: Strengthen and bless them

Bless those who are healers
Of physical injury,
And deeper hurts,
Whose touch brings relief
From trauma and pain ,
Who brings compassion.
A: Bless the healers
B: Strengthen and bless them

 


 

For those who have gone before us,
Seeds planted in your rich pasture
With the hope of life eternal.
May their enduring spirit live on,
Enriching and empowering our lives,
Their love linger,
Their presence be near,
Until we meet once more.

 



By your Word love was established,
In the beauty of each created thing,
That all might look to the mountains
And in their majesty find you.
In fertile fields and valleys,
Crops and flocks would be tended,
Vineyards planted,
Communities grown,
Laughter heard.

A: God of Peace
B: Sow seeds of hope in barren lands

By your Word humankind was given,
The gift of true freedom,
Lived within the safety of your love,
And chose independence.
By man's word are established
Ruler and slave,
Rich and poor ,
Full and starving,
Weak and strong.
By man's word are established
Corruption and abuse,
Oppression and torture,
Selfishness and greed,
Within your garden,
Watered by your tears.

A: God of Peace
B: Sow seeds of hope in barren lands

 



For all whose image of your creation
is marred by pain and suffering.
A: Your kingdom come
B: Your will be done

For those who wake each morning
to shellfire and destruction.
A: Your kingdom come
B: Your will be done

For children dispossessed of childhood
and transformed into soldiers.
A: Your kingdom come
B: Your will be done

For orphans wandering lonely roads
to uncertain futures.
A: Your kingdom come
B: Your will be done

For each persecuted family
carrying your Cross.
A: Your kingdom come
B: Your will be done

 



You have given us
a world of beauty,
and we have spoilt it.
A world to feed us,
and so many go hungry.
A world of riches,
and we are unwilling to share.
A world to care for,
and we think only of ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
every time your heart is saddened
by our selfishness,
every time we have no thought
for others, no cares but ours.
Enable us to see this world
as a gift from you
that can be shared,
and those who live on it
as our neighbours.
We ask this that your name
may be glorified
through the beauty of this world
and the service of our lives.







The heavens proclaim your glory
through creation's glorious song,
and all that live upon the earth
are moved to sing along,
praising your gracious provision
and glorious kingdom
established for your children,
revealed through your Son,
where we gain a foretaste
of the life that is to come.
Creator, Redeemer, Lord and King,
the heavens proclaim your glory
and we join them in their song.





Creator God,
from the moment your spirit
hovered over the waters of this earth
we were part of a vision
held lovingly within your heart.
From the moment you spoke
and separated darkness from light
you created space
where we might one day walk.
From the moment your joy
spilled out into green and living things
your beauty was revealed
for us to taste and see.
Creator God,
for this world,
beauty and majesty,
passion and artistry,
a green and pleasant place,
we praise your mighty name.





Thank you for the gift
of sunshine and rain in due season,
of seed, soil and harvest,
provision for our needs
and others, if in love we share.

Thank you for the gift
of living water that does not run dry
and the nourishment of your Word
which feeds our souls
and others, if in love we share.

For love which endures,
blessings which satisfy
and the opportunity to share
all that you have given,
we bring to you our thanks.



Prayers for Harvest from other sources

 

The Canticle of the Creatures
--St. Francis of Assissi

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong;
no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

We praise You, Lord, for all Your creatures,
especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
of You Most High, he bears your likeness.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars,
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,
fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Earth,
who sustains us
with her fruits, colored flowers, and herbs.

We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon,
for love of You bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
by You Most High, they will be crowned.

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in their sins!
Blessed are those that She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.

We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks,
and serve You in all humility.

 


 

Thanksgiving
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

 


 

Almighty God,
Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you
for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray,
give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts
we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer/Book of Divine Worship

 


 

Almighty and gracious Father,
we give you thanks
for the fruits of the earth in their season
and for the labors of those who harvest them.
Make us, we pray,
faithful stewards of your great bounty,
for the provision of our necessities
and the relief of all who are in need,
to the glory of your Name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Book of Common Prayer/Book of Divine Worship

 


 

We give you thanks, most gracious God,
for the beauty of earth and sky and sea;
for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers;
for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers.
We praise you for these good gifts,
and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity.
Grant that we may continue to grow
in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation,
to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen.


Book of Common Prayer/Book of Divine Worship

 


 

Most gracious God,
by whose knowledge the depths are broken up
and the clouds drop down the dew:
We yield thee hearty thanks and praise
for the return of seed time and harvest,
for the increase of the ground
and the gathering in of its fruits,
and for all other blessings of thy merciful providence
bestowed upon this nation and people.
And, we beseech thee,
give us a just sense of these great mercies,
such as may appear in our lives
by a humble, holy, and obedient
walking before thee all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost
be all glory and honor, world without end. Amen.


Book of Common Prayer/Book of Divine Worship

 


 

ALMIGHTY Father, who hast watered our fields with the dew of heaven, and poured out upon us the former and the latter rain, according to our need, and hast reserved unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest: We bless and praise thee that, in love to thy children, thou hast at this season bestowed upon us such an abundant supply for all our necessities. Grant that we may never be destitute of those better gifts which nourish and enrich the soul. Pour down, we beseech thee, upon us thy heavenly grace, and endue us with the gifts of thy Holy Spirit, that we may bring forth abundant fruits to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

?Book of Common Prayer

 


 

L: Sing joyful songs to the Lord!
Praise the mighty rock
Where we are safe
Come, worship Him
With thankful hearts
And songs of praise.
Celebrate and worship His Holy Name with all your heart.

C: We will celebrate and praise you Lord! You are good to us, and your love never fails.
L: Bow down and worship the Lord our creator! The Lord is our God and we are His people. He takes care of His sheep in His own pasture.


C: Only you are God! And your power is so great and fearsome. You are worthy of praise, mighty king, our Lord and our God. We praise you and kneel down to worship you, the God of holiness.

from St John's Church, Bangalore, India

 

References

Appelbaum, Diana Karter. 1984. Thanksgiving: An American Holiday, An American History. New York, NY: Facts on File Publications.

ebooks by John Birch


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