by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2014
Note: The times of year focused on celebrating family and friendships can be the most difficult of all for those who have suffered various losses in relationship which can range from death to estrangement and everywhere in-between. The Lord created us for relationship and so when there is a break in relationship or distance between us there is hurt and grief. This is a prayer for those who have an empty chair at their celebration table. May you each know the one or ones you love who are not there are remembered and so are you. The Lord is holding you close today. God bless you! ~ Elizabeth
PRAYER WHEN THERE IS AN EMPTY CHAIR…
Lord, today is a day we choose to gather and give thanks. We give thanks for how You care and provide for us in ongoing, manifold, wondrous and beautiful ways. You care for us in ways we understand and You lead us through dark valley where we do not. All in all, through all things, You continue to lead us providing for us on this journey home, where we are Your lambs who understand so little, and You are our Shepherd who understands all things at all times and is leading, stewarding and guiding all things to their completion, and that end is not an end, but an eternal beginning which is greater than anything we can fathom with our childlike minds (in comparison to yours).
Lord, there is an empty chair at the table today and in this regard, the day is hard. Oh, we are giving thanks, for we know You are there, but the chair Lord is a reminder of one who is not with us and while the remembrance is important because we cannot bear for this one to be forgotten or not somehow included, our hearts also hurt!
You, oh Lord, are love and You created us in Your image, thus You created us to love and need to be loved. Oh, Lord God, You knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb and You made each of us completely unique. Awesome God, You are! But this means when one whom we love is missing there is a hole which cannot be filled by any other. And so today while celebrating the many blessings, there are various forms of grief mingling with the joy.
We bow our heads and so give thanks again, for You know the struggles in our hearts and even in this You are there. (Sometimes we wish we could feel You more.) As You know, life here is not easy and there are even days we actually yearn for heaven now and yet, simultaneously we know Your timing is perfect.
Lord, thank You for the many blessings You have put into our lives up until this day. Thank You for this moment where we know You hear us. Thank You that we can come to You with all things. Thank You for the times You have allowed us to walk closely with those You put in our lives to love and thank You for how You are there to hold us up (even when it is difficult for us to humanly perceive it) and we can lean on You when the paths of their lives have diverged from ours. Lord, thank You most of all for the gift of Jesus, so that this life is not the end, so that through Jesus there is hope for reunion. Thank You that we can rely on Your word and trust that indeed Your ways with each of us are not ours, but higher and better. We rely on Your promise that yes, You are all good, even in the face of evil. We rejoice without seeing in that which is yet to come and give thanks that You are Truth so we can rely on Your promises. We rest in the fact that You love every person more than we do and that You alone have known and know the heart of each and every individual and promise not to lose a single one of those given to You by Father—who created all.
Thus, on this day, once again all our hope and our trust are in You and we are quite literally eternally grateful that You are faithful. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 100:4-5)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Ps. 23)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice coming from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people., and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold I am making all things new.”… (Rev. 21:1-5)
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOMGod’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com www.eaglesnestfoundation.org
Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December. For more information about Carols At The Capitol and attending or hosting an event in your area visit http://www.carolsatthecapitol.com
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Music can be purchased and audio clips heard at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. For information email email@example.com or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org