Praying 10 minutes a day: THANKSGIVING 2012

A word to reflect on:   
Give thanks to the Lord, who is good,
   whose love endures forever...
- Psalm 118

Over the next 24 hours, even folks who seldom pray will pause and even bow their heads to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for all they have.  Here are two prayers for Thanksgiving:  

A Prayer at an Empty Chair  
Grace for Thanksgiving Dinner

A Prayer at an Empty Chair

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For those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, Thanksgiving and "the holidays" can be a particularly difficult time. Prayer can offer us a path through these days and opportunities for healing...

Dear God,
there’s an empty chair at our table,  
an ache in our hearts  
and tears upon our faces...  

We try to shield one another from our grief
but we cannot hide it from you...

We pray for...
(name your loved one)  
whose presence we miss in these homecoming days...

Open our eyes and our hearts to the healing, the warmth 
and the peace of your presence...

Assure us that those we miss  
have a home in your heart as well as in ours 
and a place at your table forever...

Open our hearts to joyful memories of the love we shared 
with those who have gone before us...

Help us tell the stories that bring us close to one another 
and to the ones we miss so much...

Teach us to lean on you and on each other  
for the strength we need 
to walk through difficult times...

Give us quiet moments with you, with our thoughts, 
with our memories and our prayers...

And in the stillness of the quiet, 
give us your consolation and your peace...

Be with us and hold us in your arms 
as you hold the ones we miss... 

This is the day you have made, O Lord:  
help us rejoice and be glad in the peace you’ve promised 
and share with those who’ve gone before us...


Grace Before Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Saying Grace - Norman Rockwell

Blest are you, Lord, God of all creation!   

Through your goodness we have so much 
for which to offer you our thanks and praise...

Make us grateful for all you have given us;
may our desire for 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 grief isolate us from their loving embrace...

Make us grateful for the good work we have 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 keep us from trusting in your love...

Make us grateful for the meal we are about to share  
and keep us mindful of those who have so much less.  

Nourish and strengthen us 
to change what keeps so many hungry 
while others, like us, have more than we 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 you have made, O Lord:
let us be glad and rejoice in it 
and give you thanks and praise!   


To ponder and pray over...
What sorrow or grief do I bring to Thanksgiving this year?
Will I ask the Lord for comfort and healing
   that I might find the joy and blessing in this day?
For whom, for what am I most grateful this Thanksgiving?
Will I take a few moments to write my answer to that question,
   and to lift up in prayer what I've written?
On this Thanksgiving, who would love to hear from me?
   Will I make the call?  send the email or write the note?
What will I ask of the Lord today?
From this prayer time, what word or phrase will I keep with me
   to carry through the rest of my day?

(After you spend some time with these questions,
   pray the reflection above one more time...)

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