Drollinger: How to Lead Your Family in a Thanksgiving Devotion


As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I am thinking back to the first Thanksgiving when Pilgrims and Indians gathered for a harvest celebration to show appreciation to God for his provision.

Their hearts were turned toward God. If the trajectory of our country is going to change, it must begin with our own hearts turning to him. America’s true systemic problem is spiritual in nature; therefore, we must first steward our own hearts and the hearts of our families before speaking about changing the direction of our country. Anything less is hypocritical.

In preparation for your family gathering for a feast this Thursday, I offer the Bible study “Leading Thanksgiving Devotions.” This study suggests ways you can craft a plan for a spiritually growing, memory-building investment in your family’s spiritual future — Thanksgiving devotions.

Families are a mix that often include believers and non-believers. My intention is to guide you in leading everyone in your family in giving thanks to our Lord for his bounty, as well as offering those persons who do not know God the way to him.

As much is at stake, this study covers the entire day, beginning with dress, the setting, a way to transition from dinner to devotions, how to prepare your remarks, which Scriptures to quote, and which hymn to sing, among other topics.

Watch: Matt Gaetz Hilariously Torches Democrat Senator Accused of Bribery on House Floor

First and foremost, it is important for you to manifest a servant’s heart. Your introductory remarks should express gratitude for your family, in particular your wife. Nothing is more important in the formation and stability of your children and grandchildren than for them to see how much you love your wife.

To make this simple to remember, I suggest the “ACTS” outline. Adoration: Mention several characteristics you like about her; Confession: Admit to a few things she puts up with in you; Thanksgiving: Show gratefulness; and Supplication: Express that you pray for her.

Speak personally and edifyingly into the lives of your family members. This will require forethought to be most effective. Spend some time thinking about each one who will be at your table.

Ask family members to share one thing they are especially thankful for this year. In doing these things, you are setting a long-term tone and building a family culture in terms of interpersonal relationships.

Ask your best reader to read Psalm 100. After the reading, explain the passage, sharing some insights that are fairly self-evident, such as acknowledging that God made us, that we are the sheep of his pasture, and that we are to be grateful to him not only for his provisions but for our very lives and for his gift of salvation.

This is a good time for you to share your personal testimony. Speak no longer than three minutes; it is not necessary to go into great detail. An effective testimony includes three things: your life before Christ, how you received Christ, and life changes since you received Christ. You want to model for your family how they too can receive Christ if they haven’t already.

This Bible study provides the leader of the home with the information and instruction needed to lift your family up in thanksgiving to God, and on how to provide unbelievers with the way to know him. May God use your words to aid in crafting a special, constructive day centered on our love for Jesus.

Let us give thanks for all he has done for us! Click here to read the full study.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , ,
Ralph Drollinger, president and founder of Capitol Ministries, leads three Bible studies with political leaders every week. One on the Hill for U.S. senators and one for representatives, plus a weekly remote Bible study for state governors, former governors, and former White House Cabinet members and senior staff. Learn more at

Drollinger played basketball at UCLA under coach John Wooden and was the first player in NCAA history to go to the Final Four four times. Drollinger was taken in the NBA draft three times but chose to forgo the NBA to play with Athletes in Action, an evangelistic basketball team that toured the world and preached the gospel at halftime. Drollinger signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 1980 as a free agent, becoming the first Maverick in the history of the franchise.