A Thanksgiving Prayer

Gracious and Faithful God,

Here we are at this table again--this imperfect assembly of ragamuffins called family--gathered together in the name of gratitude. For some of us, this table means excitement and joyful reunion. For others, this table means anxiety and fear. But we gather together no matter what because it is good to be together, to remember that there is a place we belong and a people who will always take us in.

Considering the year since we last gathered here, God, we thank you for the joys and for the sorrows, for the hellos and the goodbyes, for the new hopes and the lingering fears, for the mountaintops and the valleys, for the sweet and the bitter. We are grateful for it all, God, because you are with us in it. Your faithful presence comforts. You hold our hands and gently lead us. So we circle back to this table to say thank you once again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

And even as we gather with hearts full of gratitude, God, outside these walls is a messed up world. War, terror, injustice, oppression, division, dissension, and evil threaten on so many levels. Hopelessness attempts a reign in our hearts. But we will not be dismayed, God, because you are on the move. You are good and faithful and working all things together for good, even when we cannot see. Give courage today, God, to those in fear for their lives. Give wisdom today, God, to those who hold the power. Give patience today, God, to those who are quick to judge. And give peace today, God, to all of us. 

Hear our prayers, O God. Receive our gratitude and praise. Make us a blessing. Send us out from this table to announce your good news of hope, healing, and wholeness in Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, amen.

Thursday Prayer

Lord, you made us to be fully alive in every moment--to rest fully, to work fully, to play fully--to be completely present right where we are. You made us to enjoy you and all that you have made for us. Yet, in our flowing from rest to work to play, and back to rest again, we can get stuck in tasks and distractions and fears that keep us from from the wholeness of the "fully" you intended for us. We end up sort-of resting, sort-of working, and sort-of playing. Remind us this Thursday, that we don't have to hold our breath until the weekend, we don't have to give in to meaningless distractions during the week, we don't have to be afraid of anything. We can be fully alive today--in the here and now, in the deadlines and the laundry and the dinner and the dishes and the "what are we going to do?". You are with us, alive in us, and you can do more than we can ask or imagine. You are greater in us than anything this world can throw at us. So, this Thursday, we stand tall in all our fully-aliveness, proclaiming your goodness and your faithfulness and your promise to walk with us every moment of every day. And we give you thanks, O God. Amen!