A Prayer For Thanksgiving



This THANKSGIVING DAY play was originally written and produced in 1985. With some slight phrasing changes it can easily be adapted to a modern day setting. Deni is a high school girl who prays and asks God for a simple request, that her family would all be together on Thanksgiving. This meets with opposition to almost every member of the family.  (This is a great deal with this low price for a full length play.)

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Her parents are constantly fighting and there are hints of a break-up. Her oldest sister has moved away and has a new live-in boyfriend that does not make her parents happy. The brother is away at college, but he and his father are not on speaking terms. No one wants what Deni wants..and they try to tell her that. Deni is discouraged.. but doesn’t give up entirely, so she and her best friend, Monica, invite people from church who had no place to go. Not only does God answer her prayer.. but He has much bigger plans for her crumbling family. There is a strong salvation message as well as lessons on having faith, reaching out to the lonely and unloved, and seeing God working above and beyond what we can imagine.

14 actors (teen through adult – 9 female, 5 male) plus 2 children. About 50-60 minutes.


Deni is a teenage girl alone in her bedroom, reading her Bible. She
stops long enough to bow her head and say a prayer.

Deni: Dear God, I know you care about me and all the little things
in my life as well as the big things. This may seem like a real
little thing to you, or unimportant, but it means an awful lot to me.
Could you work it out to bring my family together for Thanksgiving?
Thank you, God. Thank you so much. Amen.

Deni barely says amen when we hear a door slam. Then we hear the
voices of her parents, Daniel and Maggie.

Maggie: (from offstage) I see you finally decided to come home.
How thoughtful of you.

Daniel: Don’t start with me, Woman.

Maggie: Well, what do you expect? I never know when you are coming
home, you never call or anything. How am I supposed to know if you
are alright?

Daniel: I’m all right. There. Are you happy, now?

Maggie: Oh, that’s fine. That’s just fine. You don’t even care,
do you? You don’t care one little bit. You’re so inconsiderate and
selfish. All you care about is yourself and having a good time.
You don’t care anything about your family. (pause) You’re not even
listening to me, I don’t know why I even bother. We don’t communicate
anymore. We don’t. I’m not sure why I put up with it. You expect
me to keep your dinner warmed up all the time so you can eat whenever
you decide to come home. Well maybe you should start eating there.
Or don’t they serve anything besides liquor?

Daniel: If you know where I’m at, then what was all that fuss?

Maggie: I don’t know where you go. How could I? Have you ever told
me? You must go to a bar, cuz I can smell it on you every night.
But I don’t know which bar you go to, or who you go there with.

Daniel: Kelly’s. Kelly’s Bar, and I go there with the guys. We
need a place to unwind after work. Now will you just drop it?

Maggie: Can’t you unwind at home once in a while? Not all husbands
go to bars you know, some of them go home to their wives and their

Daniel: Well, maybe I would be more like those other husbands if you
were more like their wives. Did you ever think that I might not want
to come straight home after work because I don’t need the tension?
I get enough tension at work. Did you ever think about that? You
call me selfish, but listen to you. You say you want me here, for
what purpose? So you can bitch (nag) at me all the time? Well, I
don’t need it, do you understand me? I don’t need it and I don’t have
to take it!

Maggie: You’re drunk.

Daniel: I’m not. But I wish I were. (door slam)

There is a knock on the door to Deni’s room.

Maggie: Deni, Deni? Deni, please let me in. I need to talk to you.

Deni: The door is open. (Maggie enters crying)

Maggie: Oh, Deni, what am I going to do? I don’t know if I can take
much more.

Deni: Mom, why do you and dad fight all the time?
Maggie: I don’t know Deni. I guess it’s the liquor. Your father
has a real problem with it.

Deni: It seems to me that you’re the one who has the problem with

Maggie: Deni! I don’t drink; not like your father does. How can
you say such a thing?

Deni: Oh Mom, that’s not what I meant. If you could just listen to
yourself once in a while.

Maggie: What do you mean? I thought you were on my side.

Deni: Side? Mom, come on, I’m not on anybody’s side. You and Dad
are not getting along but that has nothing to do with me. I love
you both the same. My gosh, get real.

Maggie: But doesn’t it hurt you that your father chooses to not come
home at night? And when he does get home, he is usually drunk. Now
you can’t tell me that that doesn’t bother you.

Deni: Mom, what bothers me is the way you two fight all the time.
You start screaming the minute he walks in the door. (sweet and
persuading) It just seems to me that if you gave him a much friendlier
greeting, and acted more loving, then maybe he would start coming
home earlier. It’s no wonder he stays at the bar. (more to herself..
yet heard) I’m surprised he comes home at all.

Maggie: Well, I have taken all I can take from that man. I’m just
not sure he will be coming home anymore. (Deni looks at her) I’m
getting a lawyer.

Deni: That’s the craziest thing I have ever heard. You can’t start
talking about getting a divorce or even having a separation. After
all, its not like he beats you or anything. You just have a
communication problem. (assured) You need to work on it..and get help.

Maggie: Well, listen to you. I guess you have all the answers don’t
you, little miss know-it-all!

Deni: Mom, I’m sorry I said it like that, I’m just really bummed all
the time. You have these fights and then you always come in here and
cry on my shoulder. Well, it really bums me out, you know? Now,
maybe I don’t have all the answers, but God does. (pleading) Maybe
you and Dad could talk to the pastor.

Maggie: Your father would never go along with that. I just know he

Deni: My gosh, you could at least ask him. Or if not that, go to
the women’s bible study group. Monica’s folks have been getting
along a lot better since they started going to the bible study groups
at church. Everyone says that they are really good. And people
will be praying for you all the time. You can’t get enough prayer
and bible study.

Maggie: I don’t want other people knowing about our personal problems!

Deni: Too late. Monica and her folks have already been praying for
you. I can’t fix this family, but God can. And He will. Just like
the way He’s going to bring everyone here for Thanksgiving.

Maggie: What??? Thanksgiving???? Where did you ever get a crazy
notion like that?

Deni: I don’t know. Maybe I saw it on a rerun of “The Waltons”.
But isn’t it just a totally great idea?!

Maggie: I just don’t see how we could possibly do anything like that.
So you may as well get those thoughts out of your head right now.
Besides, your father would never go along with it.

Deni: Sure he will, if I ask him. Come on, Mom, be positive for
once in your life.

Maggie: Listen to you. I don’t know what has come over you today.
You are acting far too independent. Now, I know we didn’t raise you to
be that way.

Deni: The best thing you ever did for me was to take me to Sunday
School. That’s where I met Jesus. If I hadn’t become a Christian,
who knows what I might have become. And I know that it is wrong to
talk back to your parents.. so if you think I am doing that.. I’m

Maggie: You’re not.. you just surprise me with your boldness.
You’re so mature. You know, I’m glad we took you kids to church.
It’s a very good place to bring up children. I only wish your father
had wanted to go more.

Deni: So, what happened to Meg and Buddy?

Maggie: They just didn’t take to the church and the youth group like
you did. There was nothing we could do about it.

Deni: You could have told us about Jesus a long time ago. When we
were a lot younger. Nobody ever told Meg and Buddy. That’s why
they’re not Christians.

Maggie: Deni, our whole family is Christian!

Deni: Yeah. We were born in America and we go to church, so we’re
Christians. Well, Rick Thomas says that you are not a Christian
unless Jesus lives in your heart and you have accepted Him as Saviour.
I don’t think Meg and Buddy ever did that.

Maggie: All you kids did that when you were younger, I’m sure. The
church makes sure of that. That Rick Thomas sure has a lot of funny
ideas. I’m surprised they picked him to be the youth pastor.

Deni: Well, I’m sure glad they did, cuz he explained it all to me
last summer at camp and he prayed with me and that’s when I accepted
Christ. It was so awesome!

Maggie: Well, I’m happy for you dear.

Deni: And those funny ideas are actually just the truth of God’s
Word! (holds up the bible)

Maggie: Now, about this Thanksgiving thing… you know it will
probably be just the three of us. If your father stays home. I
don’t want you to get your hopes up about Meg and Buddy. They won’t

Deni: Don’t worry Mom, I’ll call everyone. (Maggie leaves shaking
her head. Deni picks up the phone and dials quick) Monica! You
gotta get over here quick! (lights)


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