Anniversary Thanks

O Lord my God,
how can I possibly thank you
for my bride,
my wife,
and these forty-three years of marriage,
and forty-six years of love
you've given me
with the lovely Robin?

Thank you for yet another year of life together.
Thank you for her faithful,
giving,
loving,
kind,
passionate,
sweet,
constant heart.

Thank you for all
the happiness we have known together;
the sorrows we have faced together;
the children we have raised together
and the grandchildren we have been given.

Thank you for our home,
health,
laughter,
hopes and dreams,
our unfinished plans,
and our small accomplishments.

Thank you that she has stuck with me, never wavering in her support.
Thank you that she still laughs at (some of) my jokes.
Thank you that she grows more beautiful every day.
Thank you for all of her perfections,
and all of my improvements.

Spare us another year to walk together,
and grant that for us it may be true
that the best is yet to be,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thy Footprints on My Road

I know thee who thou art,
And what thy healing name;
For when my fainting heart
The burden nigh o’ercame,
I saw thy footprints on my road
Where lately passed the Son of God.

Thy name is joined with mine
By every human tie,
And my new name is thine,
A child of God am I;
And never more alone, since thou
Art on the road beside me now.

Beside thee as I walk,
I will delight in thee
In sweet communion talk
Of all thou art to me;
The beauty of thy face behold
And know thy mercies manifold.

Let nothing draw me back
Or turn my heart from thee,
But by the Calvary track
Bring me at last to see
The courts of God, that city fair,
And find my name is written there.

(a prayer by General Albert Orsborn of The Salvation Army; the first line is based on Mark 1:24 in the King James Version, the account of Jesus healing a demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum, depicted in the picture by the great biblical artist James Tissot)

Serious Seeking

Keep me O Lord, while I tarry on this earth,
in a serious seeking after you,
and in an affectionate walking with you,
every day of my life;
that when you come, I may be found
not hiding my talent,
nor serving the flesh,
nor yet asleep with my lamp unfurnished,
but waiting and longing for you.

(a prayer by Richard Baxter; photo by MemoryCatcher via pixabay.com)

No Great Matter to You


To be Sovereign of the universe
is no great matter to you, God.
In yourself, at home in "the land of the Trinity,"
you are Sovereign of a far greater realm.

Help me to keep always before my eyes
that vision of Lady Julian’s
in which you carried in your hand
a little object like a nut,
and that nut was "all that is made."

God, you who needs nothing,
loves into existence
wholly superfluous creatures like me
in order that you may love and perfect them.

Praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

(based on lines from C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, pages 175-176)

Psalm of Protest

A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.

(© 2019 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved; photo by cocoparisienne via pixabay.com)

Hold Thou Me Up

O God the author of all good, I come to Thee for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without Thee I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Thy power. Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe.

Preserve my understanding from subtilty of error, my affections from love of idols, my character from stain of vice, my profession from every form of evil. May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Thy blessing, and in which I cannot invite Thy inspection. Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, Who is the Lord? or be poor, and steal, and take Thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Thy will. Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within, to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians. And to Thee be the glory.

Amen.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)