A Prayer of John Baillie, Revised Only Slightly

O Holy Spirit of God, abide with me;
inspire all my thoughts;
pervade my imagination;
suggest all my decisions;
order all my doings.

Be with me in my silence and in my speech,
in my haste and in my leisure,
in company and in solitude,
in the freshness of the morning and
in the weariness of the evening;
and give me grace at all times humbly to rejoice
in your mysterious companionship,
in Jesus' name, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord Jesus, why do I expect my path to be easy, when yours certainly wasn't?
Holy Spirit, why do I expect people to listen to me, when I don't often listen to you?
Almighty Father, why do I expect everyone to like my leadership decisions, when your children don't always like yours?

Help me to rejoice, rather, in the testing of my faith and the trying of my patience, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 15

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I long to abide in your tabernacle;
I want to dwell in your holy hill, and bask in your presence.
So, Lord, cause me to walk uprightly,
do righteously,
speak the truth in my heart.
Guard me from slander,
from doing any harm to those around me,
from speaking evil of anyone.
Give me honest eyes that recognize evil,
and honor those who fear you, Lord.
Make me honest to a fault, true to my word.
Save me from greedy, stingy behavior,
and give me integrity that cannot be bought off.

Make me firm, immovable, always abounding in devotion to you…
that I might abide in your tabernacle;
dwell in your holy hill,
and bask in your presence.

Throw Open the Windows of My Soul

Father, my soul gets so cluttered: old hopes, broken dreams, dusty determinations, stored-up hurts and resentments, good intentions waiting to be pulled out at just the right time, undone tasks, unkempt thoughts, unrepented sins.

Come to my heart, Lord God,
throw open the windows of my soul,
sweep through its dusty confines,
clean out its musty places,
go through, blow through, flow through,
clear it,
clean it,
rearrange it,
and make it your own,
like a bride moving into a bachelor pad,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Post-Thanksgiving Confession

copyright Bob Hostetler

Forgive us, Lord, for the worship of this Thanksgiving just past:
for our worship of our bellies,
for our worship of the T.V. gods,
for our worship of football gods,
for our worship of the retail gods,
for our worship of sentiment and smarmy feel-goodism,
for our civic attempts to give thanks without mentioning you,
for our family feasts that pass by prayerlessly,
for bellying up to the table instead of kneeling in gratitude to you,
we acknowledge these sins and ask you to reveal those sins we are still blind to, in Jesus' name, amen.

Acrostic Thanks

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, for...

Aubrey and Aaron, my precious children,
Dreams you've made come true,
Every day of life and health so far,
Grins on friends' faces,
House and home,
Independence and interdependence,
Jesus, my Lord,
Karaoke--just joking, Lord. But also for
Laptop computers,
Moons and seasons, snows and melts,
Pumpkin pie,
Questioning minds,
Robin, my lovely bride and the love of my life,
Sense of humor,
Talks with old friends,
Variety in seasons, schedules, and sensations,
Whistles from distant trains,
X-rays that have saved me and those I love from harm,
You, Lord, my shield, my glory, and the lifter of my head,
Zion, your holy mountain, the joy of the whole earth,
in Jesus' name, amen.

I Cannot Do This Alone

(A prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

May the Mind of Christ

Yes, Lord,
May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him, amen.

Simple Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Give me a good digestion, Lord,
And also something to digest;
Give me a healthy body, Lord,
With sense to keep it at its best.
Give me a healthy mind, Good Lord,
To keep the good and pure in sigh,
Which seeing sin, is not appalled
But finds a way to set it right.
Give me a mind that is not bored,
That does not whimper, whine, or sigh;
Don't let me worry overmuch
About the fussy thing called "I."
Give me a sense of humor, Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some pleasure out of life
And pass it on to other folk
(prayer hanging in a cathedral at Chester, England,
shared by E. Stanley Jones in The Way to Power and Poise).

For Working in My Life

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Father, for seeking and finding me,
for drawing me,
for speaking and singing to me,
for wooing me,
for saving me (repeatedly),
for upholding and defending me,
for protecting me,
for building me up in my most holy faith, in Jesus' name, amen.

Thanks for Books

Bob Hostetler

Thank you for books, Lord.
Thank you for John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer.
Thank you for Watchman Nee's Sit Walk Stand.
Thank you for Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours.
Thank you for Mere Christianity, The Pursuit of God, and Knowing God.
Thank you for Eugene Peterson's books,
for Henri Nouwen's books,
for Buechner, Wangerin,
Thomas Merton, Andrew Murray, and F.B. Meyer.
Thank you for Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence.
Thank you for Oswald Chambers's My Utmost for His Highest and E. Stanley Jones's The Way to Power and Poise.
Thank you for Peter Marshall's sermons,
Robert Frost's poems,
Chris Van Allsburg's picture books,
David McCullough's history and biography,
and Louis L'Amour's fiction.
For these and more, I give you thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 14

Bob Hostetler

Father God, thank you that though I act foolishly often enough,
I know better than to say in my heart, “There is no God.”
Thank you for saving me from corruption, from works of evil;
though there is no one that does good, thank you that I possess the righteousness of Christ.
Lord, when you look down from heaven on this world full of people,
let your eyes light on me, even if there are no others seeking you,
even if everyone else has turned aside, and the whole stinkin’ world offends your purity, let me be found faithful.
Lord, let me be among the few who learn from their mistakes,
who treat others as precious children of God, and call upon you.
Save me from the misery of those who refuse to learn your ways,
and give me instead the heritage of the righteous.
Help me to shun the counsel of the poor,
and always make you my refuge.
Let my salvation arise daily like the sun over Zion!
Let me rejoice like a returning exile and be glad because of your many blessings, amen.

Mill Prayer

Lord God, make me like a mill beside a flowing stream. Let living water flow through me. Let your mighty power be harnessed and channeled and focused as it flows through my life. Let it flow out of me to bless and benefit all those around me, the whole community, rich and poor, big and small, those I know and those I don't, those I like and those I don't, making us all healthier and better, in Jesus' name, amen.

As in the Exile

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, just as in the exile you laid down careful plans (Ezekiel 40-48) for your people to return and occupy the Land and build the Temple, so would you please mark out yourself the land you've given to Cobblestone, and reveal to us your plans for its use, to the glory of your name, in Jesus' name, amen.

Fearing People

copyright Bob Hostetler

Adonai, your Word says,

"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety" (Proverbs 29:25, NLT).

Lord, you know I am and have been a people-fearer, a people-pleaser. Please save me, deliver me from that. Cause me to serve, fear, and seek to please ONLY you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Head in the Clouds

copyright Bob Hostetler

My head was in the clouds this morning, Lord,
as you blanketed the world with fog.
My eyes were filled with stars last night,
and the crescent-moon you hung in the sky.

My heart sings your praise, Father,
my eyes spy your nature in Nature,
God of beauty,
God of variety,
God of storm and calm,
God of clear and covered,
God of earth dirt and star dust;
my heart sings your praise, in Jesus' name, amen.

Wheel of Wisdom

copyright Bob Hostetler

Okay, Father, since I'm pretty doggone quick to complain and protest when my frequent prayers for wisdom seem to fall on deaf ears,
when the wheels seem to be falling off my wagon,
I must thank you now for those times--like just recently--
when you seem to be greasing the wheels
and making my way smooth.

You've given wisdom,
you've granted success,
you've brought clarity to my mind
and peace to my heart,
and I say thank you.

Thank you.

Against Forgetfulness of My Need

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, I so easily forget my need of you.
I so easily and regularly lapse
into thinking I can "live for a length of time
without fellowship with the Lord Himself" (Murray, The Prayer Life, p. 138).
Please cleanse me of this hidden fault, in Jesus' name, amen.

Wean Me

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I pray, wean me from sin, my pet sins, my most grievous sins. I know that in me dwelleth no good thing, but you are able to keep me from falling. I know that when I sin, not only that moment is defiled, but my hunger for sin and its empty promises is fed, and my strength to resist and please you more is doubly diminished like an athlete who not only skips a workout but spends the workout hour in strength-sapping activity. So, Lord, please change me, strengthen me, wean me from pride, lust, greed, self-centeredness, laziness, faithlessness, and all such things, that I might build up the muscles of my character and be the man I want to be instead of the man it's easy to be, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 13

Bob Hostetler

It sure does seem like you forget me sometimes, Lord.
I know it’s not forever, but why do you seem to hide your face from me?
Why do I have to content myself with taking counsel in my soul,
as if you give others “clear” signs written in neon and leave me to stumble in the darkness…or the fog?

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God:
clear my eyes and light my way;
let my enemy never be able to say, “I win!”
nor let those that wish me ill yuk it up.

I have trusted in your mercy,
and my heart still rejoices in your saving kindness to me.
I will sing to you, Lord, because even on my worst days, you have dealt bountifully with me.