Prayer for Wisdom

copyright Bob Hostetler

I pray for wisdom, Lord--in general and specifically. I lack the wisdom to lead your people, as well as the wisdom to grasp the spiritual warfare that so often rages around me. Please show me the things I need to see, teach me the things I need to learn, and supply all that is lacking in my faith and in my wisdom. Without you, apart from you, I know nothing. But I have the mind of Christ; teach me to use that mind, to see with it, to decide with it, to act with it, to rely on it, in Jesus' name, amen.

Save Me From Gluttony

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, please save me from gluttony.
Let me say with my actions that my belly is not my god.
Teach me to eat for nourishment and enjoyment,
but not in a futile attempt to fulfill spiritual or emotional needs.

Control my eating today, Lord;
transform me physically by renewing me mentally and spiritually,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

I Want to Be a Man

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I want to be a man...
...who rises early,
...who eases into the day, thinking of prayer before food, spiritual above physical,
...who works hard, but not frantically,
...who creates, not just functions,
...who eats lightly and healthily,
...who exercises but not slavishly--to be in shape and to be useful, not impressive,
...who knows and expects that unexpected things will happen, and keeps enough margin in his month, week, and day to cope with the unexpected,
...who is confident enough of your pleasure that he doesn't sweat pleasing others,
...who is focused but not myopic,
...who knows how to rest, how to say no, and how to do without,
...who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with you...

Make it so, Lord, please, in Jesus' name, amen.

Help My Unbelief

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, in faith I beseech you for more faith...
more trust in you.
Build me up in my most holy faith,
until I believe wholeheartedly every word you've spoken,
every promise you've given,
everything you say by your Spirit to my spirit.
I believe, Lord; help my unbelief, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 9

Bob Hostetler

I will praise you, Lord, with my whole heart;
I will mention your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing my praises to you, O Most High.

When my enemies retreat,
it is you—not me—who causes them to fall and fail.
For you have defended my cause;
you judge justly from your throne.

You have rebuked the heathen,
you have destroyed the wicked,
you have erased their legacy for ever.

I have seen, Lord, that you let your enemies stew in their own juices;
you let their own words and deeds destroy them
and erode their reputations.

But you, Lord, endure for ever;
your throne, your place of judgment, is established.
You judge the world in righteousness,
and you rule its people fairly and faithfully.

You are also a refuge for the oppressed, Lord,
a shelter in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will put their trust in you,
for you never fail those who seek you.

I sing your praises, Lord, in my home, church, and community;
I will openly give you the credit you deserve.
I know that you are my defender; you do not ignore my humble cry.
Have mercy on me, Lord;
focus your gaze on those who cause trouble for me,
and lift me out of their clutches and the need I sometimes feel to defend myself,
so that my deliverance will be clearly your doing,
and my salvation will bring glory to you, not me.

Let the wicked, the hypocritical, the scheming, the resentful,
see their sin and turn from it,
or else be snared in the traps they lay for others.
You, Lord are just in all your works;
the wicked are justly brought down by you.

Let them go down, Lord;
let the fate of all those who ignore you befall them.
But remember the needy,
and let not the hopes of the poor be crushed.

Arise, Lord!
Don’t let silly humans defy you.
Straighten them out; straighten us all.
Let your enemies tremble in fear, Lord,
remind them that you are Sovereign…and they are not. Amen.

Bubbles in the Wind

copyright Bob Hostetler

Sometimes, Lord, my faith seems so fragile.
Like bubbles in the wind.

They sparkle with transparent color
and wobble in the wind,
frail and fine.

I want my faith to be strong.
I want to feel in control.

But then I remember
it’s their delicate weakness
and their utter surrender to the breeze
that allow bubbles in the wind to fly.

Foucald's Prayer of Abandonment

by Charles de Foucald

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures--
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

For Evils that Never Happened

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, that much evil that could have happened to me today didn't.

Thank you that I didn't run out of gas,
that I didn't get a ticket or a toothache.

Thank you that I didn't stub my toe or bite my tongue.

Thank you that I didn't hurt a friend or a loved one...or anyone.

Thank you that I didn't trip and fall,
that I didn't lose my wallet,
that I didn't lose my voice,
that I didn't lose my job,
that I didn't lose my health,
that I didn't lose my wife,
that I didn't lose my children,
that I didn't lose my mind...yet.

Thank you that I didn't fall into conscious, willful sin.

Thank you that I didn't neglect you in prayer.

In this and in everything, Lord, I give thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 8

Bob Hostetler

O Adonai my Lord, how incredible is your name
in all this sphere, throughout nature;
everywhere I look I see your signature!

You have painted your glory in the star-speckled skies;
your praise even gurgles in the mouths of newborns and children,
while your hands clamp shut lions’ mouths,
and your works leave your enemies speechless.

I don’t spend enough time outdoors these days, God,
but when I do I am struck by the majesty of your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have hung in place.

It awes me, confronts me with my littleness.
Yet you made us humans to be like you,
in your image,
and have crowned us with glory and honor.
You made us stewards over the works of your hands
and put all things under our feet:
sheep and cattle, and the beasts of the field;
the birds, the fish, and even crabs and lobsters, for crying out loud.

O Adonai my Lord, how incredible is your name
in all this sphere, throughout nature;
everywhere I look I see your signature!

Tiny Praise from a Tiny Soul

copyright Bob Hostetler

I praise you, Blessed God, King of the universe,
who grants me breath and life and health,
who lifts me up when I am down,
who shows infinitely more mercy to this wretched sinner than I deserve,
who holds me and my family in the palm of your hand,
who has given me a meaningful and rewarding vocation (or two),
who forgives, forbears,
understands, undergirds,
upholds, uplifts,
refines, refreshes,
overwhelms, and overflows
my poor, tiny, undeserving soul.

I praise you, Blessed God, King of the universe.

Thanks for Weaknesses

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, I give thanks to you for my every weakness, fault, failing, and imperfection--
my pride and "need" to be right,
my perfectionism,
my need for security,
my obsessive-compulsive nature,
my tendency to lust and gluttony,
my impatience,
my difficulty in listening to others,
my rude tendency to interrupt,
my leanings to self-pity,
my greed,
my foolishness,
my cluelessness,
my wont to act precipitously,
my people-pleasing ways,
my reluctance to confront and speak truth--
I accept these (and oh, so many, many more) as a favor from you and a means of your working your gracious will in my life; open doors for me to learn humility and dependence on you; reminders that you are far from done with me, and have not given up on me; and opportunities for you to show yourself strong in and through my weakness; for all of which I am grateful, in Jesus' name, amen.

God of Joyful Shouting

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I praise you because you are
a God of joyful shouting,
a God of celebration,
a God who leaps and dances,
a God who sings,
a God who is (in Tozer's words) "having a good time!"

God, help me to know your joy, your zeal, your zestful nature. Put me in touch with your singing, dancing, shouting heart. Let me laugh with you today and enjoy what you enjoy. Restore to me the joy of your salvation...of your very nature, in Jesus' name, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

You are worthy, Lord--
to receive power
and wealth
and wisdom
and strength
and honor
and glory
and praise.

Blessing and honor and glory and power are yours, Lord, the Lamb of God who sits upon the throne.

The conjunctions in those lists, Lord--"and...and...and"--emphasize to me that you are worthy of all, equally and completely. One is not your due more than another; there is no heirarchy or ranking of your worthiness, but you are worthy of it all, and I give it to you now, and desire to give it to you more fully and faithfully, in Jesus' name, amen.

Unchanging God

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, you have been good. You have been oh, so faithful, to me.

I am changeful, you are constant.
My faith is fleeting and mercurial, you remain the same.
I fly to you and flee from you, yet you are always with me.

Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer for Audacity

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, recent events, rebukes, and corrections that I believe have come to me from your hand, in your wisdom, may threaten to make me more timid in leadership. Please prevent that. Save me from pussyfootedness.

Give me instead the audacity that comes with knowing you are My Captain, My Great Warrior, My Dread Champion, in Jesus' name, amen.

Fairest Lord Jesus

Bob Hostetler

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus, you're fairer, Jesus, you're purer,
You make the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
You, Lord, shine brighter, you shine far purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than you, my Savior, are to me.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

My Psalm 7

Bob Hostetler

I come to you for protection, O LORD my God.
Save me from my Persecutor—rescue me from the devil's traps.
If you don't, he will maul me like a lion,
tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

O LORD my God, if I have done wrong
or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
or plundered even an enemy,
then I know I am in the Adversary's clutches;
he will trample me into the ground.
My honor will be left in the dust.

Arise, O LORD, in anger!
Stand up against the fury of my Enemy!
Wake up, my God, and bring justice!
Gather the nations before you.
Sit on your throne high above them.
You, LORD, pass judgment on the nations.
Declare me righteous, O LORD,
Make me innocent in your sight, O Most High,
even if it means correcting me, rebuking me,
stopping me cold in my tracks and turning me around.
End the wickedness of the ungodly,
but help all those who obey you.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
O righteous God.

God, you are my shield;
you save those whose hearts are true and right.
(Make me one of them).
You are a judge who is perfectly fair.
(I know you will be fair--and merciful--with me).
You are angry with the wicked every day.

If a person does not repent,
you will sharpen your sword;
you will bend and string your bow.
You will prepare your deadly weapons
and ignite your flaming arrows.
So I repent. I repent. I repent.
Show me any and all wickedness in me,
and create in me a clean heart.

The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a pit to trap others
and then fall into it themselves.
They make trouble,
but it backfires on them.
They plan violence for others,
but it falls on their own heads.
Save me from intrigue, Lord;
deliver me from anything that smacks of double-mindedness.

I will thank you, LORD, because you are just;
I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

God, You Are Good

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, you are good.
Recent days have been a slog.
My back has been bowed,
my mind a fog,
my heart leaden.

But you have come to me again, Lord.
You met me in prayer.
You sang to me,
relieved my cares,
and lifted me up.

God, you are good.
My eyes have been on all the wrong things:
people, circumstances, obstacles, problems.
You turned my head
and trained my eyes on you once more.

Thank you, God. You are good.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Arise, Lord, let your enemy be scattered and routed by the worshipful obedience of your people and the repentant response of the seeking, in Jesus' name, amen.

Save Me From Posturing

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, save me from posturing in prayer (even in private!). Save me from trying to be "literary" or "profound" in my communion with you. Steer me toward expressing my true feelings and desires, not just "thoughts." Even in this, I must trust you to complete my prayer by your Holy Spirit, because I'm not saying it well (!)--but you know, Lord.

Too Wonderful for Me

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, it's no wonder to me that you rejoice in yourself, in your perfection, because you are perfect, and utterly praiseworthy.

But to believe that you rejoice in me--not in the abstract "me," the "work of your hands," the vessel of clay, the "very good" humanity that I share with all humankind; but the "me" me, the proud, lazy, gluttonous, greedy, lustful, jealous, faithless me, the all-too-fallen me (though redeemed by your Son)--that's almost too much to believe.

But you do rejoice in me. You rejoice over me with singing. You dance over me. Because of your Son, yes, but nonetheless, this is me we're talking about. It's too wonderful for me. You are too wonderful for me. But I thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Unpleasant Tasks

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You persevered through unpleasant tasks, Lord. You corrected thick-headed disciples. You rebuked your closest friends. You agonized in Gethsemane over your approaching passion. You gritted your way through your execution.

Help me to do half so well. Help me through the unpleasant tasks that face me. Help me to stay dependent on you, and not on my own strength. Help me, Lord, help me.

Help me not to mistake ease for your blessing, or pleasantness for your will. I surrender my desire for a smooth path and an easy road to you, even as I ask your grace to bless both my obedience and my stupid mistakes, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 6

Bob Hostetler

Adonai, please spare me from your anger;
in your discipline, please be gentle.
Lord, have mercy on me right now; I am weak.
Be tender with me; I’m fragile.
I don’t even know, really, what’s wrong with me;
how long will it be like this?

Abba, return to me and save me;
flood me again with your kindness.
Dead spirits don't remember you;
people stuck in the depths of depression don't praise you.

I am worn out; I’m even tired of crying on your shoulder.
Some nights I sleep okay,
some nights I toss and turn.
Some days I seem constantly close to tears,
other days I feel numb and unable to cry.

I feel like screaming, “Get away from me,
all you who do evil,
you whiners,
you complainers;
all you with petty agendas,
and transparent strategies.
Just leave me alone.”
Lord, give me faith to believe that you hear my crying.
Help me hope that you have heard my cry for help
and will answer my prayer.
Let all those who want to spread doubt and division—
who would rather complain than serve,
who withhold forgiveness while asserting their righteousness,
who have a million ideas but no desire to pitch in—
let them be ashamed and troubled.
Let them turn and suddenly leave in shame.

To My Willing Creator

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, that you were pleased
to form the heavens and the earth,
that you lovingly and laughingly created the otter and the eel,
the hawk and the hippopotamus,
that you designed roses and orchids,
blacked-eyed Susans and black-eyed peas,
that you delivered Israel out of Egypt
and me out of sin and condemnation,
thank you that out of "happy willingness," as Tozer said,
you made me whole and gave me new life and fellowship with you, amen.

Save Me From Negative People

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I am so tired of negative people.

Help me, Lord, to give grace to them without giving them too much space, space to bring me down with them. Help me to take part in their healing without becoming infected by their negativity. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger...but also quick to "drive out the mocker, and...strife, quarrels and insults" (Proverbs 22:10).

Help me to become more like you and not like them. Save me from negative people. Save me from my own small faith. Help me to learn from the wise, and not be dragged down by nitpickers and faultfinders, in Jesus' name, amen.

Make Me Like

copyright Bob Hostetler

Gracious God, by your grace,
Make me like Enoch, who walked with you;
Make me like Noah, who found favor in your sight;
Like Abraham, who was your friend;
Like Joseph, who served you through thick and thin;
Like Moses, who saw your glory and led your people;
Like David, a man after your own heart;
Like Daniel, who stood--and knelt--before kings;
Like John, the beloved;
Like Peter, the rock;
Like Paul, the father of churches and "man of letters."

Most of all, make me like Jesus, conform me to the image of your Son, as you transform me from glory to glory, in Jesus' name, amen.

God My Anchor

Bob Hostetler

God, my God, teach me and help me not to be blown about by circumstances or rocked by people's opinions like a ship on the open sea. Please anchor me firmly to you, to your promises and your purpose, so that I might simply and steadfastly follow you and serve you without doubt, without wavering, without getting discouraged, in Jesus' name, amen.

No Words

Bob Hostetler

Father, I have no words to pray what has been on my heart these past few days;
the scale of the tragedy in New Orleans is dumbfounding.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

But I am only helpless to pray;
your children, the work of your hands, the people of New Orleans
are helpless, period:
what is there to pray for them? Everything, I know,
and yet it's so overwhelming.
Where do YOU begin, God?
How can I pray so as to partner with you
in supplying what those people need?

This, maybe: save them from the "Why" question.
Help them, Lord, not to try to understand.
Focus their minds and hearts on the "What Now?" question,
though even that seems nearly impossible to answer
(but with you, all things are possible).
Help those who have no hope left
by bringing alongside them those who will hope FOR them.
Help those who have no strength
by making others strong on their behalf.
Help those who are bereft
by giving them partners in their grief.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Let relief efforts and every relief worker be an instrument in your hands, Lord.
Use them to accomplish your will.
Make straight paths for their feet.
Show yourself, in every case, to be a father to the fatherless and a friend to the orphan and widow and refugee.

Punish the looters, Lord. With your mighty hand, punish them.
Destroy the swindlers, and all who would take advantage of this awful tragedy.

Bring about unity and wisdom.
Replace floodwaters and rubble with generosity and justice,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 5

Bob Hostetler

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
listen to my sighs and groans.
Turn your attention to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
as I pray to you.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
morning after morning I lay my requests at your feet
and wait expectantly.

I know that you are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
I know that as infinite as your presence is,
there is no room there for the wicked.
I know the arrogant cannot stand before you,
and you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
you abhor those who are cruel and deceitful men.

Only by your great mercy
can I come into your house;
awestruck, I bow down
before you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.

Protect me from the lies of the Attacker,
and from those whose hearts are filled
with destructive thoughts and emotions,
whose throats are yawning graves,
whose tongues speak deceit.
O God, let me not traffic in
the intrigues and resentments
of those who rebel against you.
Let me walk in openness and honesty,
forgiveness and mercy toward others.

Let all who take refuge in you be glad;
and let me always be among them, singing for joy.
Spread your wings of protection over your people,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Let my life, O Lord, show how you bless the righteous
and surround them with your favor as with a shield.