To the Lord of Childhood

Lord of childhood
make me childlike
not childish
not scared
not devious.

When you plow a field
I know you plan
a crop
when you harrow
breaking up plowed clods of dirt
to fine earth.

(from Joseph Bayly's Psalms of My Life)


My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad.


Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past.

(from "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," a hymn by Charles Wesley)

To Live Untaxed Lives

On this day of internal revenue
some of us are paid up,
some of us owe,
some of us await a refund,
some of us have no income to tax.

But all of us are taxed,
by war,
by violence,
by anxiety,
by deathliness.

And Caesar never gives any deep tax relief.

We render to Caesar . . .
to some it feels like a grab,
to some it is clearly a war tax,
to some – some few –
it is a way to contribute to the common good.

In any case we are haunted
by what we render to Caesar,
by what we might render to you,
by the way we invest our wealth and our lives,
when what you ask is an “easy yoke”:
to do justice
to love mercy
to walk humbly with you.

Give us courage for your easy burden, so to live untaxed lives. Amen.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People, Abingdon, 2008)

Rising Up and Rushing Forth

Abba, Father, Lord God Almighty,
make me a spring of living water (John 7:38),
rising up and rushing forth
in rivers of hope, and love, and blessing.

Let my ministry,
my life,
my every word and deed,
be an outflow of your gracious work in me,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Writer's Breastplate

(based on the Breastplate of St. Patrick)

I bind to myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
Invoking the same,
The Three in One
and One in Three.

I plead for my thinking and writing today
The power of love, the power of faith,
Christ’s incarnate immanence,
The passion of his holy death,
Awareness of His imminence,
His power bursting from the spiced tomb,
His exaltation up the heavenly way,
His princely coming at the day of doom
I plead for them all today.

I invoke for my words the power
Of angels' shout,
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The voice of the seraphim,
The certainty of the Apostles,
The backbone of Patriarchs,
the certainty of prophets,
And all good work done
as to the Lord and not for men.

I ask for my work today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s lifegiving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I beseech for my sentences, paragraphs, and pages,
My grammar, style, usage, and punctuation,
My concepts and conceits, advances and retreats,
The power of God to inspire and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give them speech,
His heavenly host to be their guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The lie of judgment, lack of grace,
The haunting doubts that war within,
The lazy word, the easy phrase,
Such fatal flaws as these in me,
In every place and in all hours,
Against all unChristlike tendencies
I ask, in Jesus’ name, these powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the world's deceitful thrills,
Against the lure of pleasing men,
Against dependence on my own skills,
Protect me, Christ, as you alone can.

Christ be with me, be all to me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ flow through me,
Christ to empty and restore me.
Christ my waking, Christ my sleeping,
Christ my thinking, Christ my feeling,
Christ my laughing, Christ my weeping,
Christ concealing and revealing.

I ask all this in the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Fresh Flowers in My Garden

Come, O Lord my God;
my soul invites thee earnestly,
and waits for thee eagerly.

Come to me, O Jesus, my well beloved,
and plant fresh flowers in my garden,
such as I see blooming
in such perfection
in thy matchless character!

Come, O my Father,
who art the Husbandman,
and deal with me in thy tenderness and prudence!

Come, O Holy Spirit,
and bedew my whole nature,
as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews.

Oh, that you would speak to me!
Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.
Oh, that you would walk with me;
I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to you.

I am only asking what you delight to give.

(a prayer of Charles H. Spurgeon, slightly revised)