My Psalm 40

Bob Hostetler

I wait patiently for you, LORD;
turn to me and hear my cry.
You have lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
Now, set my feet on a rock again,
and give me a firm place to stand.

I pray for a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to my God.
I pray that many will hear and see my song,
and put their trust in you, LORD.

Bless me with the blessedness of the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
I believe the things you have planned for us
no one can recount to you;
if you would reveal them to me ahead of time,
I would quickly lose count.

I know, LORD, that you don't desire
stale offerings and old forms;
you want a living sacrifice,
my body,
my days,
my thoughts,
my efforts.

So, as your Son said,
the Supreme Sacrifice,
the Ultimate Offering,
I say, "Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

Whatever comes, LORD,
I will proclaim your righteousness in the great assembly;
I will not seal my lips,
(as you know, O LORD).

I will not hide your righteousness in my heart alone,
but will speak aloud of your faithfulness and salvation.
I will not conceal your love and your truth
from the assembly of your people.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD;
may your love and your truth always protect me.

You know how I so often feel surrounded by troubles,
and not only my own sins,
which are more than the hairs of my head,
but my heart fails within me at the sins
and burdens of your people, my flock.

Be pleased, O LORD, to save me;
O LORD, come quickly to help me.

May all my critics and castigators
be proven wrong,
not by my success,
but by your great mercy.

May those who say to me, "Aha! Aha!"
come to say "Wow!" at your wonderful working.

May all who sincerely seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation always say,
"The LORD be exalted!"

Yet I am poor and needy;
so think of me, Lord.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O my God, do not delay.
Come now.
Come fully.
Come powerfully.
Come sweetly.
Come, in Jesus' name, amen.

While I Tarry on This Earth

A prayer by Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

Keep me O Lord, while I tarry on this earth,
in a serious seeking after you,
and in an affectionate walking with you,
every day of my life;
that when you come, I may be found
not hiding my talent,
nor serving the flesh,
nor yet asleep with my lamp unfurnished,
but waiting and longing for you.

A Psalm to the Master Musician

(A prayer of Liz Kimmel, from her book A Little Bit of Life; used with permission)

You sang the earth into being, Lord God.
You sang, and stars were lit
and set in place throughout the sky.
You sang so beautifully, and every creature
that You made received that song
and, by that act,
received Your life into themselves.

You are the Master Musician.
Each song you write is perfect.
Each one is complete
and You delight to hear Your works sung back to You.

So sing, every ocean--
that the Lord is vast and mighty,
sing, you trees and forests--
of His gentle movement in your midst,
sing, you creatures of the earth--
the song you've heard, that He provides for every need,
and sing, oh soul of mine!
Sing back the song He wrote for you.

With each new day another song is lifted up to You,
another child has heard his song and cannot keep it in.
And as You listen from your throne on high, Jehovah God,
this is the total of all songs that You will hear:
Praise and alleluia to Your name!


A prayer (hymn) by Herbert H. Booth

I bring to Thee my heart to fill;
I feel how weak I am, but still
To Thee for help I call.
In joy or grief, to live or die,
For earth or Heaven, this is my cry:
Be Thou my all in all.

I've little strength to call my own,
And what I've done, before Thy throne
I here confess, is small.
But on Thy strength, O God, I lean,
And through the Blood that makes me clean,
Thou art my all in all.

No tempest can my courage shake,
My love from Thee no pain can take,
No fear my heart appal;
And where I cannot see, I'll trust,
For then I know Thou surely must
Be still my all in all.

Christ is all, yes, all in all,
My Christ is all in all.

A Prayer of Dag Hammarskjold

A prayer of Dag Hammarskjold (1905 – 1961)

Have mercy
Upon us.
Have mercy
Upon our efforts,
That we
Before thee,
In love and in faith,
Righteousness and humility,
May follow thee,
With self-denial, steadfastness and courage,
And meet thee

In the silence.

Give us
A pure heart
That we may see thee,
A humble heart
That we may hear thee,
A heart of love
That we may serve thee,
A heart of faith
That we may love thee,

Whom I do not know
But whose I am.

Whom I do not comprehend
But who hast dedicated me
To my fate.
Thou -

My Psalm 39

Bob Hostetler

Lord God, Adonai, I said, "I will watch carefully what I do
and try not to sin with my tongue.
I will shut my mouth—muzzle myself—
while the wicked are around."
So I worked hard to be quiet,
and held my tongue even to my hurt.
And that didn’t work out so well.
Lord God, I’m nearly fifty,
and I still am not wise in knowing when to speak
and when to shut up.
My heart gets hot within me,
and all my intentions to be a man who holds his counsel
go up in flames.

So here I am again, jabbering—but at least it’s to you.
Lord, let me live always with the end of my life in sight,
as if I know how many days I have to live.
Let me live like a dying man (which I am),
urgently but not frantically.
My days so far have passed like the wave of a hand,
and the days I have left will be even shorter.
When I’m gone, my whole life’s span will have been only a breath.
I walk here and there like a shadow.
I make all sorts of sound and fury—which amounts to nothing.
I store up riches, not knowing who will gather them.

So, Lord, what am I waiting for? My hope is in You.
Save me from all my sins.
Never let me be ashamed for trusting you.
I feel like I’m running out of words;
I have nothing left to say, unless you speak to me and through me.
I’m tired of being beaten and battered
by my enemies and my friends!
Please do not test me any more.
Please give me a time of refreshment;
O Lord, hear my prayer, and listen to my cry.
Let my tears and my fasting move you to have compassion on me.
For I am a stranger here, in this world,
but you are my home.
Please visit my heart and my life with joy again,
with blessing and peace and confidence,
before I go to my grave,
before I go to my reward.

Draw Me Completely Into Yourself

A prayer by Johann Freylinghausen (1670 – 1739)

Draw me completely into yourself,
So that I might completely melt in your love.

Lay upon me, stamp upon me,
So that my stubborn pride might be destroyed.

Embrace me, kiss me,
So that my spiritual ugliness may turn to beauty.

Lock me into your chamber,
So that I might never stray from your presence.

Oh My

Bob Hostetler

Oh my, Lord.
Sometimes you just make me have to say, "Oh, my."
Your presence,
your blessing,
your power,
your kindness
makes me say "Oh, my."

Prince of Tides Prayer

Lord God, I thank you for oysters and porpoises,
praise you for birdsong and sheet lightning,
see you reflected in pools of creekwater and the eyes of stray cats.
Let me talk to yard dogs as if they are my friends and fellow travelers
along the sun-tortured highways intoxicated with the love of God.
Let me see the whole world with eyes incapable of anything but wonder,
and a tongue fluent only in praise, amen.

Based on a passage from Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides, pp. 277-278.

Constant Prayer

A prayer by Brother Lawrence (1611 – 1691)

My God, here I am,
my heart devoted to you.
Fashion me according to your heart.

Live, Die, Rest, Rise, Reign

A prayer by William Laud (1573-1645)

Grant, Lord, that we may live in your fear,
die in your favour,
rest in your peace,
rise in your power
and reign in your glory;
for your own beloved Son's sake,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Remind Me

Bob Hostetler

Adonai, please remind me today that I am yours.
Remind me that I am in your hand,
and all things are in your control.
Remind me that nothing that happens to me today
will surprise you or throw you off your game.
Remind me to keep my eyes on you,
whatever storms may come.
Remind me how spiritual reading
feeds my soul.
Remind me not to fear,
not to hurry,
and not to rely on my own strength and wisdom,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Julian's Prayer

A prayer by Julian of Norwich (?1342 - after 1413)

God of goodness, give me yourself.
For you are sufficient for me.
If I were to ask for anything less I should always be in want,
for in you alone do I have all.

Traveling Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Father, grant me safe and successful travel today.
Make smooth paths (and flight schedules) for my feet.
Protect me from coach cabin infections.
Grant that my luggage may arrive where I do, when I do.
Protect and bless my lovely Robin while I am away.
And please give me your hand of blessing,
your anointing,
your empowerment,
in my speaking ministry tonight and tomorrow,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Praise of My Lips

Bob Hostetler

Adonai, I praise you with my lips
and with my mind,
and ask that you bring my heart along,
so that I can praise you with my whole self.

I praise you for your majesty,
evident in the skies;
your artistry
evident in the clouds;
your power
evident in the storm;
your gentleness
evident in the breeze;
your beauty
evident in the trees;
your grace
evident in the fawn that feeds by the treeline;
your strength
evident in the firmness of the earth beneath it all.

I praise you Lord, Adonai,
for your greatness and your goodness,
for all splendor and majesty,
glory and power belongs to you,
and you are the sum
and the source
of all that is good, amen.


Dear Lord, Help me to live this day,
quietly, easily,
To lean upon thy great strength-
trust fully, restfully
To wait for the unfolding of thy will,
patiently, serenely.
To meet others-
peacefully, joyously;
To face tomorrow-
confidently, courageously
With Jesus help, amen.

Author Unknown

Who Is Like You?

A prayer by Johann Freylinghausen (1670 – 1739)

Who is like you,
Jesus, sweet Jesus?

You are the light of those who are spiritually lost.
You are the life of those who are spiritually dead.
You are the liberation of those who are imprisoned by guilt.

You are the glory of those who hate themselves.
You are the guardian of those who are paralysed by fear.
You are the guide of those who are bewildered by falsehood.

You are the peace of those who are in turmoil.
You are the prince of those who yearn to be led.
You are the priest of those who seek the truth.

Monday Prayer

O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Abba Father, feed me like Elijah,
raise me up like Lazarus,
restore my soul like David,
in Jesus' name, amen.

On Going to Bed

by Johann Freylinghausen (1670-1739)
(Excerpted from Bedside Prayers by June Cotner, ©1997, HarperSanFrancisco).

As my head rests on my pillow
Let my soul rest in your mercy

As my limbs relax on my mattress
Let my soul relax in your peace.

As my body finds warmth beneath the blankets
Let my soul find warmth in your love.

As my mind is filled with dreams,
Let my soul be filled with visions of heaven.

Be My Help

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I am helpless. Be my help.
I am weak. Be my strength.
I am faithless. Be my inspiration.
I am overwhelmed. Be my peace.
I am desperate and needy. Be my Dread Warrior,
my Captain, Provider, Shield and Bucker, in Jesus' name, amen.


Bob Hostetler

Father, increase my faith.
Increase my giving.
Increase my dependence on you.
Increase my insight and discernment.
Increase my obedience.
Increase my diligence.
Increase my effectiveness.
Increase my witness.
Increase my purity, and all for your name's sake, amen.