TWO prayers this morning…
1) Not sure how to pray, what to say, before dinner today? Here’s a Grace Before Thanksgiving Day Dinner…
2) Are you missing a loved one who’s no longer at your Thanksgiving table?  I’m posting again my Prayer at an Empty Chair for those whose hearts bear some measure of grief today. This prayer could also serve as your Grace Before Dinner…

Grace Before Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation!   

Through your goodness  we have so much
    for which to give you thanks and praise…

Make us grateful for all you’ve given us;
    may our desire for having more (and more)
    not blind us to all we have…

Make us grateful for all who love us:
    may no grudge or anger keep us distant
    from family and friends,
    neighbors and colleagues… 

Make us grateful for those who are with us:
    may no resentment isolate us
    from their loving embrace…

Make us grateful for the good work we’ve done:
    may our mistakes and failures
    not weigh us down or blind us to your mercy… 

Make us grateful for the freedom we enjoy:
    may we never take it for granted…

Make us grateful for the peace we find in you:
    let no other cause or victory take its place…

Make us grateful for our dreams:
    let no disappointment keep us from hope… 

Make us grateful for our faith in you:
    let no doubt cloud our trusting in your love…

Make us grateful
    for the meal we are about to share
and mindful
    of any and all who have so much less… 

Nourish and strengthen us
    to change what keeps so many hungry
while others, like ourselves,
    have much more than we’ll ever need…

Give us grateful hearts, O God,
to praise and thank you:
    in good times and in bad,
    in sickness and in health,
    in plenty and in want,
    in sorrow and in joy…

This is the day that you made, Lord:
    let us be glad and rejoice in it
    and give you thanks and praise! 


 Prayer at an empty chair…


This Thanksgiving,

there’ll be an empty
chair at our table,

an ache in our hearts
and tears on our cheeks…

We might try, we might even

in shielding our
grief from others

– but we cannot hide our hearts from

So, today we pray for (name
your loved ones)

whose loving presence
we miss

on this homecoming day…

Help us remember 
tell again the stories

of all we
with the very ones 
we miss
so much…

Open our hearts to our
joyful memories

of the times and love
we knew and shared

with those who’ve
gone before us…

And with your gentle touch, Lord,

smooth and mend any ragged, broken edges

still in need of your merciful healing…

May the bonds you
forged among us 
grow stronger in our remembering 
our loved ones now gone home
to you…

Help us trust in
that those we miss so much

have a place now in your

and in heaven, a seat at your

Deepen and strengthen
our hope

that one day we’ll see
them once again

and enjoy their
company and love…

Teach us, Lord, to
lean on those around us

for the help and
support we need

when our spirits flag
and fail us…

Open our hearts and
souls, Lord,

to the warmth of your

within us and among

Be with us to console
us and,

just as you embrace
the ones we miss:

hold us, too, along
with them,

in your everlasting

Give us moments of
quiet prayer today

time to share with
you our lonely tears of loss
and our memories, now the souvenirs,
of joyful days gone by…

In all things, Lord, help us recall

today‘s the day that you have made!
Help us give thanks for all your gifts
especially for the peace we’ve known,
in family, friends and faith,
in those in whom we’ve found and known
your mercy and your love…