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, Lord,
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 succeed
in shielding our grief from others
- but we cannot hide our hearts from you...

So, today we pray for (name your loved ones) 
whose loving presence we miss
on this homecoming day...

Help us remember 
and tell again the stories
of all we shared 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 faith 
that those we miss so much
have a place now in your heart
and in heaven, a seat at your table...
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 presence,
within us and among us...

Be with us to console us and,
just as you embrace the ones we miss:
hold us, too, along with them,
in your everlasting arms...

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...





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