Thanksgiving Devotional for Families

Posted by on November 5, 2013 in Thanksgiving | 7 comments

Five Grains of Corn

This true Thanksgiving story makes a great Thanksgiving Devotional for Families.

Thanksgiving Devotional for Families


In early New England at Thanksgiving time it was customary to place five grains of corn at every plate. It was a  reminder of those stern days in the first winter when the food of the Pilgrims was so depleted that only five grains of corn were rationed to each individual at a time. They wanted their children to remember the sacrifices,the sufferings, the hardships which made possible the settlement of a free people in a free land. They did not want their descendants to forget those days when only seven healthy colonists remained to nurse the sick, and nearly half their number lay in the “windswept grave yard on the hill.” The use of five grains of corn placed by each plate was a fitting reminder of a heroic past.

Place 5 grains of corn at each place-setting. Read the story above and have each person share five things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Perhaps there have been hardships this past year for your family, but remember God’s blessings through both the good and bad times.

After each person shares 5 blessings around the table, read the Thanksgiving Proclamation by George Washington

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington

(For small kids, simplify the words and explain what they mean)


Kids at school are reminded to be thankful for what we have, but who do we thank? The Bible says to thank the Lord God Almighty!

Great Bible verses to read:   (There are so many, but here’s a few…)

Have these each on a slip of paper at each place.  Go around the table and each person reads their verse.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name
Psalm 69:30

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 95:2

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 9:1

 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 7:17

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

Colossians 3:15

 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
Psalm 100

Hope this gives you some ideas for your Thanksgiving Devotional time at your family table.

 Happy Thanksgiving!



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  1. I love the history and verses. Pinned. Featuring at Family Fun Friday!

    • Thank you and I’ll stop by on Friday!

  2. Crikey, that’s interesting. I never really understood the origins before. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo x

  3. I LOVE this! Thanks so much for the inspiration linked up to Tickled Pink Times Two.
    Make it a great week.

  4. thank you for sharing I believe we will use a verse or two in our family thankful moment and prayer
    come see us at

  5. Thanks for this, pinned! 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing your devotional on giving thanks!


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