You Alone

Bob Hostetler

You alone are God,
You were from of old,
And You will be until eternity, always, first and last,
Now and always for ever and ever.
As for You, You are the same,
and Your epoch will not come to an end;
As for You, You are the same,
and Your kingdom will not be abolished,
And Your Power is invincible,
And Your strength is untiring,
And Your magnificence will not be humbled,
And the splendor of Your Name will not be dispelled,
and the praise of Your exalted fame will not be diminished,
And Your light will not be darkened,
And Your decree will not be abrogated,
The pillar of Your word will not be overthrown,
And Your wisdom will not fall into error,
And Your counsel will not be concealed.
You alone are God, God of all;
You alone are God, Lord of all;
You alone are God, King of all;
You alone are God, Creator of all;
You alone are God, Conqueror of all;
You alone are God, Omnipotent;
You alone are God, Slayer of all;
You alone are God, Destroyer of all;
You alone are God, Savior of all;
You alone are God, Life of all;
You alone are God, Sustainer of all;
You alone are God, Protector of all;
You alone are God, Restorer of all;
You alone are God, Raiser of all;
You alone are God, Supporter of all;
You alone are God, Helper of all;
You alone are God, a righteous God over all creation,

(Traditional Ethiopian Jewish prayer, translated by Margaret Hayon).

Impromptu Praise

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father,
Mighty God,
I praise you:
for the grace
to praise you.

I praise you:
for the symphony of seasons,
four movements,

I praise you:
for the marvelous variety of tastes
you've placed in this world,
grapes, apples,
bread, potato,
cheese, milk,
asparagus, peas,
egg yolk and white,
chocolate, coffee,
salt and pepper,
beef and chicken, pork and fish,
and so much more.

I praise you:
for your endless creativity,
your awesome majesty,
your thundering power,
your gentle caresses,
your incredible patience,
your immeasurable condescension
to listen to me
praise you.

A Prayer of Hildegarde of Bingen, slightly revised

Bob Hostetler

Fire of the Spirit,
Life of the lives of creatures,
Spiral of sanctity,
Bond of all natures,
Glow of charity,
Lights of clarity,
Taste of sweetness to the fallen,
be with me and hear me,
in Jesus' name, amen

(Hildegarde of Bingen, twelfth century).

The Grace of Loving Curiosity

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, I pray for "the grace of loving curiosity" (Eugene Peterson), that I may see you at work in other people's lives, and become more a man of blessing and insight to them, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 22

Bob Hostetler

My God, my God, how can you let me feel forsaken?
You seem so distant,
so far from the words of my groaning.
My God, I call to you by day,
but hear nothing back from you.
I call at night;
I am not silent…why are you?

Holy One, high and lifted up,
you sit enthroned on the praises of your people.
My ancestors trusted you;
they leaned on you, and you saved them.
They cried out for your help
and you bent down and scooped them up in your arms.
They threw themselves on your care,
and were not disappointed.

But I am brought low, like a worm crawling in the dust.
People say untrue things behind my back.
They even lie to my face.
They attribute their ‘stuff’ to me.
They’re probably thinking, “I can’t wait
to see you get your comeuppance.
When you fall on your face,
we’ll all know that God wasn’t with you in the first place.”

But you have been with me from birth, Lord.
You’ve graced me with your presence
since my diaper days.
And I have leaned on you since before I can remember;
you have been my God from birth.
So don't abandon me now,
when trouble surrounds me
and I feel all alone.
You see them, Father, those around me who wish me evil,
who snap and snipe at me like rabid dogs,
and like predators
wait for an opportunity to attack.
I don’t have the strength to fight back;
my blood feels water-thin,
and my old bones are weary.
My heart just isn’t in it,
it feels like all the fight has gone out of me.
I have no desire to defend myself anymore,
and no words to turn back their hatred.
I lie down: let them bury me.
All those who hate me surround me,
like dogs, they are relentless,
nipping at my ankles,
they’ll never be satisfied or turned away.

So, Lord, come.
You are my strength, you’re all I’ve got; hurry to help me.
Save me from their long knives;
save me from their growling and grumbling.
Rescue me from their lion's teeth;
save me from their longhorns.

All I want to do is tell others about you;
I just want to speak your good news.
I want to praise you, Lord, with those who revere you,
and actually honor you by taking you at your word
and doing what you say.
You will not ignore my troubles.
You will not hide from me
but will hear me when I whine and cry and sob to you.
Lord, I praise you in the company of your people;
your true worshipers will see me do what I have promised.
Let the poor eat their fill;
let your true worshipers praise you.
May their hearts forever beat your praises!
Let people everywhere remember
and turn to you, Lord.
Let all the families of the world
worship you
because you are King,
and you rule the nations.

Let weak and strong all feast and worship you together.
Let everyone bow down to you,
every mortal soul.
Preserve your praise among future generations,
and let my children’s children hear of you.
Let them proclaim your righteousness
to their children, not yet born,
for everything you do is worth telling.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, you know I don't like the pruning process. I want uninterrupted, straight-line growth...but I confess that as arrogance and ambition. I open my heart to your pruning process, confident in your loving nature, and good, wise plans for me. Do what you will with me, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings wherewith you have blessed me...
my family, my children,
for their health and mine,
for my wife's beauty, intelligence, and charm,
for my senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
For a sound mind,
for my natural and spiritual gifts,
for this home, these clothes,
for books,
for coffee,
for a refrigerator and pantry filled with food,
for computers and phones,
for movies,
for pens and pencils,
for light,
for snow and winter,
for days off,
for friends and co-laborers in the Gospel.
For the ability to keep going when I'm tired,
for the Bible,
for the many Bibles I own (an embarrassment of riches),
for all your grace, forgiveness, and kindness toward me,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For the Prayers of Others

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, thank you for the prayers of others on my behalf,
those times when someone's prayer--unbeknownst to me-- has encouraged me, healed me, delivered me, or empowered me.

How many times in my life have I unknowingly been saved because someone--somewhere--prayed for me?

How many prayers have turned back some disaster that awaited me?

How many moments have been shot through with blessing and loveliness because someone spoke my name to you?

Whether close or distant,
from a friend or stranger,
long or short,
thank you for them all.
How I will rejoice in eternity to see the record of all who have prayed for me, and how much I owe to them.

On Taking My Problems Less Seriously

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord God, help me to take my problems less seriously,
and with them my obsessions,
my perfectionism,
my concern for getting every detail right,
and looking good to others
and pleasing others
and keeping a perfect "track record."

And help me to take more seriously your joy,
the joy of my salvation,
your sense of humor,
your delight in your Creation,
your compassion for the lost and unloved and "unloveable."
Help me to take seriously your will,
your agenda,
your priorities,
your timing,
your ways of doing things,
and not try to get you on board with me!

Help Me Swallow

copyright Bob Hostetler:

Abba, help me swallow whole the truth that you will never leave me nor forsake me; that you will be with me through dark times and will not let the waters overwhelm me nor the fire burn me; that your plans for me are good and not evil, plans to prosper, not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future; that when I call, you will hear and answer; that "greater things" I can do through faith in you, in Jesus' name, amen.

On My Son's Engagement

Bob Hostetler

Abba, thank you for my son, and for his fiance Nina.
Thank you that he has found a woman who lights his eyes,
who thrills his heart,
who excites his ambition,
who teaches him to believe in himself,
who inspires him to believe in your desire to bless him,
who appreciates his strengths,
who complements his weaknesses,
and makes him better in every way.

Thank you for him, thank you for her, and thank you for bringing them together. Please protect them from every attack, and allow them to experience only those discomforts and misfortunes that in your wise plan will make them better for your service and for each other's enjoyment, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Jesus, I Love Thee

A hymn by William Featherston with a new verse by Bob Hostetler

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the pleasures of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love with this heart you have purchased from sin,
I love with a mind you've renewed from within,
With whatever strength you may give me from now on,
My Jesus, I'll love you, my strength and my song.

Thanks for Catholics

copyright Bob Hostetler

the blessings of this day
remind me to thank you for the impact
Roman Catholic brothers and sisters have had on my walk with you,
from Brennan Manning
to John Michael Talbot
to my brothers at the Abbey of Gethsemani, and more.

Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 21

copyright Bob Hostetler

I will rejoice in your strength, O Lord;
and oh, how greatly do I rejoice in your salvation!
You have given me my heart's desire,
and have not withheld anything good from me.
You have blessed me with all sorts of good things;
you treat me like a prince—which is what I am in your eyes!
I asked you to save my life, and you did;
even giving me long life.
I exult when you win the victory,
and you robe me and garland me like a champion.
You have given me eternal and temporal blessings,
and I am happiest when I feel your presence and sense your smile.
because I trust in you, Lord,
and because of that I will not be swayed or tripped up or turned aside.

You will triumph over all your enemies;
your strong right hand will crush all who oppose you.
You will destroy them in flaming fire when you appear,
they will be engulfed in your wrath, and consumed by your judgment fires.
You will castrate evil
and stop it from reproducing on earth.
Those who plot against you will be foiled,
and their malicious schemes will finally be frustrated.
They will run for shelter and find none
when you aim your arrows at them and call them to account.

I praise you, Lord, for all your glorious power;
I celebrate your mighty works with words and music.