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We come to you this morning, Lord, with gratitude for the wonder of your creation and with joy at every remembrance of those who have departed from our presence in the past year.

We continue to trust in your promise that Jesus never will lose those you have given into his care.

We rejoice today in the sure and certain hope of resurrection into eternal life through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We remember with joy these great saints who have walked among us and pray that we, too, may be found worthy of your name and your heavenly banquet.

For all who feel the sting of loss and grieve the absence of those they loved, we pray today for your peace to be poured out anew.

Although those we love have found rest from their labors, many among us toil every day for the strength to live in the new normal they did not choose to experience.

Grant grace to each one who grieves and bring hope where there is despair, make a way where there seems to be no way, and make the light of your future dawn upon all who walk in darkness.

We pray especially today for those among us who most recently have felt the sting of loss through death.

In that same spirit, we pray today also for those among us who need healing and renewal. Grant your grace and strength to them.

Abide with us, Lord, in these days of challenge and prepare us for your kingdom, as we pray the words our Lord Jesus himself taught us to pray, saying…

Our Father, which art in heaven…

Prayer by the Rev. Mark Wingfield, associate pastor, Wilshire Baptist Church, Dallas, November 5, 2017, in observance of All Saints Day. Shared with permission.

Was it God’s timing that Mark prayed this prayer at almost the exact same time a gunman began his assault on the gathered congregation at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs?

Hymns are the poetry of my soul; and I automatically, almost unconsciously sing or hum them as I work around the house and as I drive. In the years since Lev’s death, I have claimed the praise song, Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart, for the weeks leading up to the Holidays; but this fall I find myself singing the ancient Dutch hymn I have sung on Thanksgiving Sunday worship services all my life, We Gather Together.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!