That Inner Gift

Lord, I would share,
But first possess,
That inner gift, serenity.
Then, comforted, blessed, free from unrest,
Serve you nonetheless,
But with tranquility.

(from Abundant Living, by E. Stanley Jones, p. 155; slightly revised)

It Pales

All that is here within these bones
All that is future and unknown
All that the world would sell--it pales compared to you.
All that is in us hears your call
Mountains of doubt before you fall
All that we could not give before--abandoned now.

(by Frederick Booth-Tucker;
photo via

An Independence Day Prayer

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 244th birthday of this nation,
these wonderful United States of America
in which I live.

I thank you for the freedom
to worship you publicly...
even as I ask you to show kindness and mercy
to those who lack that freedom
because they live elsewhere.

Thank you for all those
who have sacrificed for my freedom,
for those who risked
(and some who gave) their lives
to make this a free and independent nation,
for those in my nation's armed services, past and present,
and for all who have served the cause of liberty in other ways...
even as I pray for those who even now
are in harm's way,
far from home,
in this nation's service.
Please meet their needs,
watch over them and their loved ones,
and grant them your favor in every way.

And, Father, on this Independence Day 2020,
I pray for the people in this land
and every land
who have not yet discovered the freedom
that is offered to them in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Draw them to you,
set them free
from sin and sadness and strife,
and grant them the eternal freedom
that is found only in trusting you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

To Feel the Music of Living

Giver of life, creator of all that is lovely,
Teach me to sing the words to your song;
I want to feel the music of living
And not fear the sad songs
But from them make new songs
Composed of both laughter and tears.

Teach me to dance to the sounds of your world and your people,
I want to move in rhythm with your plan,
Help me to try to follow your leading
To risk even falling
To rise and keep trying
Because you are leading the dance.

(author unknown)

Ready to Give Us Pardon

Grant, Almighty God, that since we are at this day as guilty before you as were the Israelites of old, who were so rebellious against your prophets, and that as you have often tried sweetly to allure us to yourself without any success, and as we have not hitherto ceased, by our continual obstinacy, to provoke your wrath--O, grant that, being moved at least by the warnings you give us, we may prostrate ourselves before your face, and not wait until you put forth your hand to destroy us, but, on the contrary, strive to anticipate your judgment; and that being at the same time surely convinced that you are ready to be reconciled to us in Christ, we may flee to Him as our Mediator; and that relying on his intercession, we may not doubt but that you are ready to give us pardon, until having at length put away all sins, we come to that blessed state of glory which has been obtained for us by the blood of your Son. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English; photo illustration by fancycrave1 via