Tired Prayer

Lord God, I'm tired.
But I thank you for the work that makes me tired.
Thank you for the breath to feel out of breath,
and for the consciousness to feel all but unconscious,

My Maker and My King

My Maker and my King,
To Thee my all I owe;
Thy constant goodness is the spring
Whence all my blessings flow.

The creature of Thy hand,
On Thee alone I live;
Thy countless benefits demand
More praise than I can give.

O let Thy grace inspire
My soul with strength divine!
Let all my powers to Thee aspire,
And all my days be Thine.

(A hymn by Anne Steele)


Abba, how can I possibly pray
for all the people I have to pray for?
How can I bring the great needs of the flock before you every day?
I need your grace just to be able to pray!
You know my need.
You know theirs.
Give grace to me to pray,
and Holy Spirit please intercede with me and for me
in my shortcomings, in Jesus' name, amen.

Two Verses

My Lord God Adonai:
God of earth and sea and sky,
I lift my voice, I speak my prayer,
And cast on you my every care.

This day, Lord, now is past,
And I am much in need of rest.
I need your peace, I need your calm,
I beg your Spirit's healing balm.

A Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Loving Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

A Prayer for Christmas Eve

(This prayer, written by a young Italian seminarian named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in 1902 who would later become Pope John XXIII, has become a Christmas Eve tradition for me).

Night has fallen; the clear, bright stars are sparkling in the cold air; noisy, strident voices rise to my ear from the city, voices of the revelers of this world who celebrate with merrymaking the poverty of their Saviour. Around me in their rooms my companions are asleep, and I am still wakeful, thinking of the mystery of Bethlehem.

Come, come, Jesus, I await you. . . .

I am a poor shepherd; I have only a wretched stable, a small manger, some wisps of straw. I offer all these to you, be pleased to come into my poor hovel. I offer you my heart; my soul is poor and bare of virtues, the straws of so many imperfections will prick you and make you weep--but oh, my Lord, what can you expect? This little is all I have. . . . I have nothing better to offer you, Jesus, honour my soul with your presence, adorn it with your graces. Burn this straw and change it into a soft couch for your most holy body.

Jesus, I am here waiting for your coming. Wicked men have driven you out, and the wind is like ice. I am a poor man, but I will warm you as well as I can. At least be pleased that I wish to welcome you warmly, to love you and sacrifice myself for you.


O Lord, I Will Delight in Thee

O Lord, I will delight in Thee
And on Thy care depend,
To Thee in every trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend.

When all created streams are dried,
Thy fullness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied
And glory in Thy Name.

No good in creatures can be found
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound
While God is God to me.

O Lord, I cast my care on Thee,
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and please Thee more.

(A hymn by John Ryland)

God of Ice

God of ice, God of cold,
I praise you for your power
and creativity displayed
in frigid temperatures,
icy blasts,
gray skies,
frosting breaths,
in all the awesome array
of your ways in nature.
You are God of all:
arctic and tropic,
cold and heat,
ice and magma,
and you are worthy of praise
in all your ways,

Sunday Morning Prayer

O Lord, Abba, Father, at the beginning of another week I come to You for help and light.

Please make this a sacred day of worship and service to you. Call forth wholehearted worship, joyful and effective service, and faith from all who gather. Make your praise glorious today. Make your servants joyful. Stir up the spiritual gifts that are in us. Call those who are lost out of darkness and into the light. Revive your church. Renew us all. Unite us with you and with each other as we worship. Tear down strongholds. Break through barriers. Cast out Satan. Fill us with the Holy Spirit, and build us up in our most holy faith, in Jesus' name, amen.

I Take the Blessing From Above

What am I, O Thou glorious God,
And what my father's house to Thee,
That Thou such mercies have bestowed
On me, the chief of sinners, me?
I take the blessing from above
And wonder at Thy boundless love.

Honor and might and thanks and praise,
I render Thee, O pardoning God,
Extol the riches of Thy grace
And spread Thy saving name abroad,
That only name to sinners given
Which lifts poor dying souls to Heaven.

Jesus, I bless Thy gracious power,
And all within me shouts Thy name;
Thy name let every soul adore,
Thy power let every tongue proclaim,
Thy grace let every sinner know
And find (with me) their Heaven below.

(from a hymn by Charles Wesley)


Abba, I am yours.
I am in your hands.
I ask nothing today except what you have in mind,
in your limitless mind,
for me to enjoy,
or lose.
Be it unto me according to your will,
in Jesus' name, amen.

From A Diary of Private Prayer

O Thou whose eternal presence is hid behind the veil of nature, informs the mind of man, and was made flesh in Jesus Christ our Lord, I thank Thee that He has left me an example that I should follow in His steps.

Jesus Christ said, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Do good and lend, hoping for nothing again. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Love your enemies. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Fear not, only believe. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Except ye turn again and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.

Jesus Christ said, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. O God, incline my heart to follow in this way.


(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer)


Lord God Adonai,
how I thank you for days free of meetings!

Sabbath Gift

Lord, your Sabbath command,
your Sabbath gift,
is a boon to my soul.
Please forgive me for often
neglecting it,
and missing out on your best for me.
Thank you for the refreshment
it brings me
when I remember the Sabbath
and keep it holy.


Lord, you answered my prayer
for insight and understanding.
I don't like the insight,
but I thank you for the answered prayer!

A Prayer of Clement

You, Lord, through your works have revealed the everlasting structure of the world.
You, Lord, created the earth.
You are faithful throughout all generations,
righteous in your judgments,
marvelous in strength and majesty,
wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists,
good in all that is observed
and faithful to those who trust in you,
merciful and compassionate;
forgive us our sins and our injustices,
our transgressions and our shortcomings.

Do not take into account every sin of your servants,
but cleanse us with the cleansing of your truth,
and "direct our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart,"
and "to do what is good and pleasing in your sight"
and in the sight of our rulers.
Yes, Lord, "let your face shine upon us" in peace "for our good,"
that we may be sheltered "by your mighty hand"
and delivered from every sin "by your uplifted arm";
deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.

Give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on the earth,
just as you did to our fathers
when they reverently "called upon you in faith and trust,"
that we may be saved,
while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name,
and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth. Amen.

O Master, Let Me Walk With You

(A hymn by Washington Gladden, slightly revised)

O Master, let me walk with you
in lowly paths of service true;
Tell me your secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Holding Fast

Lord, I hold fast to you.
I will not depart from following you,
but will keep your commandments,
by your grace.
Please be with me wherever I go,
prosper me,
for the sake of your kingdom,
and your flock,
in Jesus' name, amen.
(2 Kings 18:6-7)

Not Enough

Abba, I confess.
I am not smart enough to get through this day without you;
I need your knowledge and wisdom.
I am not strong enough;
I need your power and might.
I am not NEARLY righteous enough;
I need your holiness to course through me and flow from me.
I am not joyful;
I need your help to "rejoice always;"
I am no communicator;
I need you to empower my poor attempts at communication.
I am poor and needy, Abba,
and my poverty and need are all I have
to give you today--or any day.
I bring my emptiness to you
and ask for a fresh filling,
in Jesus' name, amen.


I will enter your gates
with thanksgiving in my heart, Lord;
I will enter your gates
with praise.
I will enter with anticipation.
I will enter with faith.
I will enter humbly,
grateful simply for the privilege
of entering,
and hopeful of giving you the honor
that is due you,
and whatever I may receive from you
is added blessing.

A Prayer for Safe Travel

Lord, I know there are millions of travellers on the roads (and in the skies) today, and you love and care for them all. But please keep an eye out for a black 2004 Mazda Tribute heading home from Kenosha. Grant us Godspeed, in Jesus' name, amen.

Unbroken Thanks


No Need to Wait

Abba, there is of course no need to wait
for tomorrow to give thanks
for all you are
and all you've given
to me.

How can I possibly
thank you
let alone generously,
for all your grace and mercy
and manifold blessings to me?

I who am so rich
in blessings
must unavoidably
be so poor
in thanks.

I can no more thank you sufficiently
than I can repay you.
But I give you thanks nonetheless:
Please forgive my poverty of thanksgiving
even as you have blessed me far,
beyond my deserving,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Just Like Jeremiah

Lord God Adonai, by your great grace
make me, like Jeremiah,
"a fortified city, an iron pillar, bronze walls,"
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Columba of Iona

Be thou a bright flame before me,
Be thou a guiding star above me,
Be thou a smooth path below me,
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind me,
Today - tonight - and for ever.

Dawn on Us

The Lord lives! Blessed is the rock,
exalted is the horn of my salvation!
You, Lord, have done great things for me.
You have given triumph over the Enemy.
You have granted strength to your people.
You have helped us this far;
now, today, dawn on your people like the morning light,
like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning,
like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth (2 Sam. 23:4),
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 78

O Lord, bless my teaching today;
grant me words worth listening to.
In parable,
in mystery,
new insights or old,
let me speak what
the testimony that will make you glad.

Let my words be accessible
to young and old;
let everyone grasp the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
your power, and the wonders you have done.

The statutes decreed to your people,
the law you established in Israel,
which you commanded them
to teach their children,

so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.

Let my flock put their trust in you
as they did in their best moments,
and not forget your deeds
but follow you passionately.

Let us not be like our predecessors,
and like so many these days,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts are not loyal to you,
whose spirits are not faithful to you.

Let us not
turn back on the day of battle;

Let us not
forsake our covenant with you
and refuse your guidance.

Let us not
forget what you have done,
the wonders you have shown us.

Let us not
forget your miracles,
both in ancient times
and the ones we have seen with our own eyes.

Seas divided,
walls of water,
a cloud by day
and fire by night.
Water from rocks in the desert
and manna every morning.

But they continued to sin against you,
rebelling against the Most High.

They willfully put you to the test
by demanding the food they craved.

They spoke against you, saying,
"Can God spread a table in the desert?

When water gushed from a rock,
and streams flowed abundantly,
they kept complaining,
demanding meat from your hand.

Save us from such complaining and faithlessness, Lord God.
Save us from your anger.

Bread of heaven, feed us till we want no more!

Let us never forget that you are our Rock,
that God Most High is our Redeemer.

Let our hearts remain loyal to you,
whatever our outward circumstances.
Teach us to measure our success
by your mercy,
your forgiveness,
your constant forbearance and goodness to us.

What you have done before,
do again, Adonai!

Lead us like sheep through a desert.
Guide us safely, and teach us to be unafraid.
Drive out our enemies before us,
and give us the fulfillment of your every good promise.

You have given your people a sanctuary,
like Zion,
you have established even more
than you had before.

You have anointed fine servant leaders,
and brought together many skilled hands to serve your people.

Make this flock like Israel of old,
and our leaders like David the shepherd king. Amen.

A Fenced Wall

Let your angels be a fenced wall around us against all our enemies,

(part of a prayer by Martin Luther)

I Choose Peace

I choose peace today, Lord, in all I do,
in all my prayer and work,
in every contact and conversation,
in what gets done and what doesn't.
You are my peace, Jehovah-Shalom. Amen.

Hot Water

Lord God, thank you for hot water.
The real kind, not the figurative kind.

A Morning Prayer by John Baillie

Here am I, O God,
of little power and of mean estate,
yet lifting up heart and voice to Thee
before whom all created things are as dust and a vapour.
Thou art hidden behind the curtain of sense,
incomprehensible in Thy greatness,
mysterious in Thine almighty power;
yet here I speak with Thee familiarly
as child to parent, as friend to friend.
If I could not thus speak to Thee,
then were I indeed without hope in the world.
For it is little that I have power to do or to ordain.
Not of my own will am I here,
not of my own will shall I soon pass hence.
Of all that shall come to me this day,
very little will be such as I have chosen for myself.
It is Thou, O hidden One, who dost appoint my lot
and determine the bounds of my habitation.
It is Thou who hast put power in my hand to do one work
and hast withheld the skill to do another.
It is Thou who dost keep in Thy grasp the threads of this day's life
and who alone knowest what lies before me to do or to suffer.
But because Thou art my Father, I am not afraid.
Because it is Thine own Spirit that stirs
within my spirit's inmost room,
I know that all is well.
What I desire for myself I cannot attain,
but what Thou desirest in me Thou canst attain for me.
The good that I would I do not,
but the good that Thou willest in me,
that Thou canst give me power to do.

Dear Father, take this day's life into Thine own keeping.
Control all my thoughts and feelings.
Direct all my energies.
Instruct my mind.
Sustain my will.
Take my hands and make them skillful to serve Thee.
Take my feet and make them swift to do Thy bidding.
Take my eyes and keep them fixed upon Thine everlasting beauty.
Take my mouth and make it eloquent in testimony to Thy love.
Make this day a day of obedience,
a day of spiritual joy and peace.
Make this day's work a little part
of the work of the Kingdom of my Lord Christ,
in whose name these my prayers are said,

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer, Ninth Day, Morning)

Thanks for a Car

Thank you, Lord, for a faithful car,
a dependable little Ford Focus
that still serves me well
after 125,000 miles
and asks very little
besides regular doses of fuel
and oil
and an occasional pat on the hood.


Praise is due you, Lord,
for a glorious day
in which you honored
the labor and worship
and prayers and dedication
and sacrifice and commitment
and willingness and submission
and repentance and servanthood
of your people.
You have done great things.
You have been faithful.
You have done marvelously.
You have answered prayer.
You have certainly, and abundantly, blessed me,
and I give you praise and thanks and honor,
to which you are abundantly due, amen.


Spirit of the Lord,
rush upon me
from this day forward (1 Samuel 16:13),
in Jesus' name, amen.

Te Deum

We praise thee, O God
: we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee
: the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud
: the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim
: continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy
: Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty
: of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world
: doth acknowledge thee;
The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory : O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man
: thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death
: thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come : to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants
: whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people
: and bless thine heritage.
Govern them : and lift them up for ever.
Day by day : we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us
: as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted
: let me never be confounded.

(From the Book of Common Prayer)


God of peace, Jehovah Shalom,
please crush Satan under my feet (Romans 16:20),
in Jesus' name, amen.


Thank you, Abba, for the absences I enjoy today.
Thank you for the absence of pain in my body;
for the absence of hatred in my heart;
for the absence of hunger in my belly;
and the absence of fear in my soul.
Thank you for no sniffles and no tears,
no bruises, no splinters,
no pulls or strains or breaks.
Thank you that I have no onerous duty awaiting me--
no friend to bury,
no loved one to correct,
no one to reprove.
Thank you for the void
of tragedy and calamity
I enjoy right now,
and use it please to rest me
and strengthen me
for the day when that void is filled,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Dread Warrior

Dread Warrior,
today strike my Enemy "hip and thigh" (Judges 15:8).
Let him and his work be crushed before my very eyes.
And split open "the hollow place"
and send waters of refreshing and revival
for me and all your people (Judges 15:19),
in Jesus' name, amen.


Abba, make my heart like a stream of water in your hand; turn it wherever you will.

Yahweh Yireh

Abba, give me the faith
to believe in you as Yahweh-Yireh,
God my Provider.
Give me faith to see you
at work
at all times,
achieving my good,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Teach Me

Lord, teach me to pray (Luke 11:1). Teach me again. Teach me your ways. Teach me to love your Word, and to experience your presence, and to hear your voice. Teach me to say no to sin. Teach me to trust you. Teach me to rest. Teach me to cast all my cares on you. Teach me to preach. Teach me to lead. Teach me to write. Teach me to be all you call me to be, in Jesus' name, amen.


Lord God, thank you for the powerful reminder you sent yesterday of the awesome privilege you've granted me of being a laborer in your vineyard, a teacher of your Word, of making known the manifold wisdom of God. Completely restore to me the joy and excitement of this ministry, in Jesus' name, amen.

All Things Bright and Beautiful, Slightly Revised

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
You, Lord God, made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
You made their glowing colors,
You made their tiny wings.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky,

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
You made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

You gave me eyes to see them,
And lips that I might tell
How great you are, my Father,
Who has made all things well.

(from the hymn by Cecil Frances Alexander)

Praise for Hard Workers

Lord God, I praise you with my whole heart
for hard workers
who stick with a job
and get things done
and make things happen
and spend every last ounce
of energy and industry
for the sake of the flock.
Reward them all, Lord,
with restoration and renewal,
prospering them in every way,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Arise, O Lord

Arise, O Lord,
and defend your people today.
Deliver us!
Exalt yourself,
frustrate your enemies,
and satisfy your people,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for All Saints' Day

How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world's power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.

(Unknown author, 10th century)

A Prayer for All Hallows' Eve

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

(Traditional Scottish Prayer)

A Prayer of St. Gregory of Khandzta

Christ Our Lord
You suffered and were tempted.
You are powerful to come to the aid
of those who are assailed by the devil,
For you are the support of Christian people.
O Lord, protect with Your Right Hand
those who trust in Your Name.
Deliver them from the Evil One,
and grant them everlasting joy. Amen.

(St. Gregory of Khandzta, 759-861)

Blessèd Lord, in Thee is Refuge

Blessèd Lord, in Thee is refuge,
Safety for my trembling soul;
Pow’r to lift my head when drooping
’Midst the angry billows’ roll.
I will trust Thee, I will trust Thee;
All my life Thou shalt control.

In the past, too, unbelieving,
’Midst the tempest I have been,
And my heart has slowly trusted
What my eyes have never seen.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus,
Teach me on Thine arm to lean.

O, for trust that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near;
O, for faith that changes fighting
Into vict’ry’s ringing cheer!
Faith triumphant, faith triumphant,
Knowing not defeat nor fear.


(from the hymn by Herbert Booth)

Kyrie Eleison

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,
have mercy on us.

A Prayer of John Baillie

Today, O Lord--
let me put right before interest;
let me put others before self;
let me put the things of the Spirit before the things of the body;
let me put the attainment of noble ends above the enjoyment of present pleasures;
let me put principle above reputation;
let me put Thee before all else.


(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer, Day 14, Morning)


Lord God Adonai,
plunder our enemies.

Take captive men, women, and children
from the camps of our enemies,
and their gifts and talents and treasure,
for the sake of what you plan to do in Oxford
and our surroundings.

Bring to us more and more souls
who will enable us to reach out to more and more souls,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer by John Newton

Your love in time past
Forbids me to think
You'll leave me at last
In trouble to sink;
Each sweet Ebenezer
I have in review
Confirms your good pleasure
To help me quite through.

(from a hymn by John Newton, slightly revised)

Psalm 36:11

Let me not be crushed under the heels of the proud,
nor disheartened by the works of the wicked,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Mighty Savior

Thou art a mighty Savior,
Thy love doth never waver;
Thou shalt be mine forever,
And Thine alone I'll be.

(from the hymn by George S. Smith)


Lord God,
let me mind the things of God
and not the things of man (Matt. 16:23),
in Jesus' name, amen.

Spiritual Vultures

Lord, I read today of your disciples plucking grain on the Sabbath, and the Pharisees finding fault with you for it. And I realized, if you were going from place to place, how came the Pharisees to see this, and criticize...except that they were tracking your every move, weren't they? They were spiritual vultures, waiting for a good cause to find fault. So, Lord, you know how it is.

Lord, as you answered the Pharisees then, answer the Pharisees who follow and surround your church today, those spiritual vultures who track others' every move, looking for a reason to find fault. Defend your church. Defend your pastors. Defend your servants who love you fervently and serve you freely, in Jesus' name, amen.

Shout of a King!

Lord God, let it be with Cobblestone Community Church
as it was with Israel, that:
"the Lord their God is with them,
and the shout of a king is among them!" (Numbers 23:21b).

Great is the Lord Who Delights in the Welfare of His Servants

Abba, let my life,
my temperament,
my ministry
cause people to say,
"Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare
of his servants" (Ps. 35:27),
in Jesus' name, amen.


Abba, Father,
how gracious and generous you have been
to me as a pastor
and to your church, Cobblestone,
with so many volunteers,
and such hard-working servants.
I praise you for them all,
even as I cry out
for more workers for the harvest!

Immortal, Invisible

(a hymn by Walter C. Smith)

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.

My Psalm 77

I cried out to you for help, Lord;
My heart cried out for your attention.
I was in distress, I sought you; 

I reached out for you all day and night,
even waking from sleep to cry for your mercy,
and comfort would not come.
I called to you, O God, as you tell me to;
I asked,
I sought,
I knocked.

But no respite came,
the burden never lifted.
I sank lower and lower.
I longed for the old days,
that now seem so long ago,
when I felt your presence,
and slept in your warm embrace.

My heart asked, my spirit sought:
“Is this what it’s going to be like now?
Will you let the Enemy have the victory?
Has your unfailing love failed?
Have your promises expired?
Will you forget to be merciful?
Will you leave me this way?”

Then something happened.
I felt the cloud lift.
I know I didn’t cause it,
but at some point, a gentle wind
blew through my spirit.
I remembered your ways with me,
I gave up doubting and complaining,
and once again turned to focus on you
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy.
They are past finding out, far beyond my ken.
You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
You have done it before,
and you will do it again.

The storm clouds saw you, O God,
the storm clouds heard you coming
and fled before you.
You trod the crashing waves
and came to my side.

Lead me now
as you led Moses and your people.
Lead me.
Lead your people.

I Would Valiant Be

Lord, let the words of John Bunyan be true of me:

He who would valiant be
'gainst all disaster,
let him in constancy
follow the Master.
There's no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.

Who so beset him round
with dismal stories
do but themselves confound;
his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might;
though he with giants fight,
he will make good his right
to be a pilgrim.

Since, Lord, thou dost defend
us with thy Spirit,
We know we at the end,
shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away!
I'll fear not what men say,
I'll labor night and day
to be a pilgrim.


I'm In Your Hands

(From a hymn by Stanley Ditmer, slightly revised)

I shall not fear though darkened clouds may gather round me,
The God I serve is One who cares and understands;
Although the storms of life may threaten to confound me,
Of this I am assured: I'm in your hands.

I'm in your hands,
I'm in your hands,
Whate'er the future holds,
I'm in your hands.
The days I cannot see
Have all been planned for me.
Your way is best for me,
I'm in your hands.


God, be merciful to us
And bless us. Amen.

(Psalm 67:1)

Dare Not

Lord, I dare not think,
I dare not decide,
I dare not act,
on my own.
In each and every thing I need you.

(based on a prayer suggested by Watchman Nee in his book, The Release of the Spirit)

Spirit Wind

Lord God Adonai,
teach me please not to be blown around
on the waves of circumstances,
but to sail solely
by the wind
of the Spirit,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Who Like Me?

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven;
Who like me your praise should sing?

(from the hymn by Henry F. Lyte, "Praise, my Soul, the King of Heaven")

Poor and Needy

Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy (Psalm 86:1).

Let Down

Holy Spirit, you let me down.
What do I do know?


If on my own strength I had to depend,
then I would be helpless and useless right now. BUT....

I'll go in your strength, O Lord,
in paths you have marked for my feet.
I'll follow the light of your Word
and not shrink from the dangers I meet.
Your presence my steps shall attend,
your fulness my wants shall supply,
on you till my journey shall end,
my unwavering faith shall rely.

I'll go in your strength, O Lord,
to work you appoint me to do;
in joy which your smile will afford
my soul shall her vigor renew.
Your wisdom will guard me from harm,
your power my sufficiency prove;
I'll trust your omnipotent arm
and prove your unchangeable love.

I'll go in your strength, O Lord,
to conflicts which faith will require,
your grace as my shield and reward,
my courage and zeal shall inspire.
Since you give the word of command
to meet and encounter the foe,
with your sword of truth in my hand,
to suffer and triumph I'll go.

(except for the first two lines, revised from a hymn by Edward Turney)


(A prayer of William Booth, slightly revised)

O Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Your blood bought gift today I claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and send what I need most,
Pour out the promised Holy Ghost;
I need another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

’Tis fire I want, for fire I plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet my every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make my weak heart strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
O see me on your altar lay
My life, my all, this very day;
To crown the offering now I pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

You Know How It Feels

Lord Jesus, you yourself had to say to Philip,
"Have I been with you all this time,
and you still do not know me?"

Thank you, Lord, for the reminder
that you know how that feels.
You know what it's like to have a friend,
whom you thought knew you,
say or do something that makes you feel
utterly misunderstood, unknown, unloved, unheard.

I cast all my cares on you,
for you care for me.
Friends may desert me
or disappoint,
but you will uphold me forever.

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe,
I’ll bless your holy name!
O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!

You forgive my sins – every one.
You heal my diseases – every one.
You redeem me from hell – save my life!
You crown me with love and mercy – a paradise crown.
You wrap me in goodness – beauty eternal.
You renew my youth – I’m always young in your presence.

You make everything come out right.

(Psalm 103:1-6, The Message).

Teach Me to Care and Not to Care

Lord, Adonai, to slightly paraphrase Eugene Peterson's words,

"Teach me to care, teach me to use all these occasions of need that are the agenda of my work as access to God, as access to neighbor. Teach me to care by teaching me to pray, to pray so that human need becomes the occasion for entering into and embracing the presence and action of God in this life. Teach me to care by teaching me to pray so that those with whom I work are not less human through my caring but become more human. Teach me to care so that I do not become a collaborator in self-centeredness, but rather a companion in God-exploration. Teach me to use each act of caring as an act of praying so that this person in the act of being cared for experiences dignity instead of condescension, realizes the glory of being in on the salvation, and blessing and healing of God, and not driven further into neurosis and the wasteland of self.

"And, not to care. Teach me to be reverential in all these occasions of need that are the agenda of my work, aware that you were long beforehand with these people, creating and loving, saving and wooing them. Teach me the humility of not caring, so that I do not use anyone's need as a workshop to cobble together makeshift, messianic work that inflates my importance and indispensability. Teach me to be in wonder and adoration before the beauties of creation and the glories of salvation, especially as they come to me in these humans who have come to think of themselves as violated and degraded and rejected. Teach me the reticence and restraint of not caring, so that in my eagerness to do good, I do not ignorantly interfere in your caring. Teach me not to care so that I have time and energy and space to realize that all my work is done on holy ground and in your holy name, that people and communities in need are not a wasteland where I feverishly and faithlessly set up shop, but a garden, a rose garden in which I work contemplatively.

Suffer me not to mock ourselves with falsehood.

Teach me to care and not to care,"

in Jesus' name, amen.

(adapted from Subversive Spirituality, by Eugene Peterson, pp. 167-168).

A Prayer from James 1

I rejoice, Lord God, with praise and thanksgiving,
for the various trials I have fallen into,
because I know you intend for them
to produce patience in me.
Grant that I may let patience do its perfect work,
that I may be made more complete in you,
lacking nothing.
And do please grant me wisdom,
liberally, in fulfillment of your promise.
I ask in faith,
trusting you completely and with renewed hope,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Forgive me my gluttony, Lord God.
How can my sufficiency be in you
when I seek comfort and satisfaction in food?
How can you be the bread of life to me
when I am constantly stuffing my face?
How can I change?
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Go ahead

Go ahead and ruin me, Lord.
Go ahead and break me,
demolish me,
crush me,
if it is your will.

I am weak;
you are strong.

I am nothing;
you are all.

I am here;
I am yours.

Go ahead.

I Know Thee Who Thou Art

I know thee who thou art,
And what thy healing name;
For when my fainting heart
The burden nigh o’ercame,
I saw thy footprints on my road
Where lately passed the Son of God.

Thy name is joined with mine
By every human tie,
And my new name is thine,
A child of God am I;
And never more alone, since thou
Art on the road beside me now.

Beside thee as I walk,
I will delight in thee
In sweet communion talk
Of all thou art to me;
The beauty of thy face behold
And know thy mercies manifold.

Let nothing draw me back
Or turn my heart from thee,
But by the Calvary track
Bring me at last to see
The courts of God, that city fair,
And find my name is written there.

(A prayer by General Albert Orsborn of The Salvation Army; the first line is based on Mark 1:24 in the King James Version, the account of Jesus healing a demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum, depicted in the picture by the great biblical artist James Tissot)


Lord God, my Abba,
however you do it,
may I please have my joy back?

My Psalm 76

In Judah you are known;
your name is great in Israel.
Pitch your tent in Oxford,
as gloriously as your dwelling place in Zion,
where you broke the flashing arrows,
the shields and the swords, the weapons of war
of all your enemies.

Show your resplendence,
more majestic than mountains teeming with game.

Plunder the high and mighty,
lay low those who sneer at you and your church.

At a single word from you, O God of Jacob,
both horse and chariot lie still.

You alone are to be feared.
Who can stand before your righteous anger?

From heaven you pronounce judgment,
and the land feared and was quiet-
when you, O God, rose up to judge,
to save all the afflicted of the land.

Rise up again, Lord God,
and save us all!

Hear the vows we have made,
let us fulfill them all,
bringing our worshipful devotion to the One
who alone is to be feared.

You break the unbreakable,
you are king of all the kings of the earth.

Paper Hat Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for paper hats,
for drinking straws,
facial tissues,
gadgets that make noise,
gadgets that make light,
and all the things
that bring my grandson joy,
because my grandson brings me joy!

True Friends

Lord God, teach me who are my true friends.
I sense that you are.
Teach it well.
Gently, if you can.


Lord, teach me nepsis:
to be watchfull, alert, vigilant,
to control my thoughts
instead of being controlled,
in Jesus' name, amen.


I sure could use
some of your kindness
right about now.

Preacher Prayer

Lord, save me please from "clever" thoughts;
give me instead the mind of Christ
and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Denise Levertov

I do nothing, I give you
nothing. Yet you hold me

minute by minute
from falling.
Lord, You provide.

(excerpt from "Psalm Fragments (Schnittke String Trio)," by Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire, p. 23).

World Prayer

Abba, I pray for the church in China,
in Myanmar,
in North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran,
and throughout the world,
in oppression,
enduring persecution,
while I sit in comfort and ease,
in luxury, even.
Lord, hear my prayer:
deliver them from the lion's jaw,
from the dragon,
from the serpent.
Lord, give strength and hope.
Release them from prison
and deliver them from torture.
Protect them and grant them your presence.
Prosper them miraculously.
Give success in their efforts to minister
and survive,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Not Like Abraham

Abba, may I never again do like Abraham
pleading for Sodom,
who quit asking before you quit granting
what he asked!

Make me bolder,
more persevering,
in prayer,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 75

I give thanks to you, O God,
I give thanks, for your Name is near;
your wonderful deeds surround me.

You choose the appointed time;
you judge uprightly.

When the ground beneath me moves,
you hold the earth's pillars nonetheless.

Shut up the arrogant and their boasts;
tell the wicked, "Put down your weapons!
Abandon your plans!
Be still!"

No one, no matter how powerful,
can exalt a man.

You alone are Judge:
you bring one down, you exals another.

A cup is in your hand.
It overflows with spiked wine.
You pour it out,
and all the wicked of the earth
lap it up.

As for me, I will declare this forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob.

I will resist the wicked,
and let you take care of the results.

A Prayer by John of Damascus

Thou hallowed chosen morn of praise,
That best and greatest shinest;
Fair Easter, queen of all the days,
Of seasons, best, divinest!
Christ rose from death; and we adore
Forever and forevermore.

Come, let us taste the vine’s new fruit,
For heav’nly joy preparing;
Today the branches with the root
In resurrection sharing:
Whom as true God our hymns adore
Forever and forevermore.

Rise, Zion, rise! and looking forth,
Behold thy children round thee!
From east and west, from south and north,
Thy scattered sons have found thee;
And in thy bosom Christ adore
Forever and for evermore.

O Father, O co-equal Son,
O co-eternal Spirit,
In persons Three, in Godhead One,
And One in power and merit;
In Thee baptized, we Thee adore
Forever and for evermore.

(A prayer by John of Damascus, 8th Century, translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale, 1862)

Unfaltering Praise of Mine

Lord, be it thine,
Unfaltering praise of mine!
To thee my whole heart's love be given
Of earth and Heaven Thou King divine!

Lord, be it thine,
Unfaltering praise of mine!
And, I pure prince! make clear my way
To serve and pray at thy sole shrine!

Lord, be it thine,
Unfaltering praise of mine!
O father of souls that long,
Take this my song and make it thine!

(O'Laoghaire, The Celtic Monk at Prayer, p. 134).

The Three That Seek My Heart

Bless to me, O God,
Each thing mine eye sees;
Bless to me, O God,
Each sound mine ear hears;
Bless to me, O God,
Each odor that goes to my nostrils;
Bless to me, O God,
Each taste that goes to my lips,
Each note that goes to my song,
Each ray that guides my way,
Each thing I pursue,
Each lure that tempts my will,
The zeal that seeks my living soul,
The Three that seek my heart,
The zeal that seeks my living soul,
The Three that seek my heart.

(A prayer from the Carmina Gadelica, III, p. 33, a compendium of Celtic Christian prayers and songs)

My Psalm 74

I know you have not rejected us, O God,
though at times it seems your anger does smolder
against the sheep of your pasture.

Remember the people you purchased years ago,
the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—
your flock, your dwelling.

Turn your steps toward our winding way,
and save us from wandering.

Our enemy prowls about like a roaring lion,
so adept at picking us off one by one and two by two,
setting us against each other
and pointing our attention at everything but you!

We can be so good at messing things up,
so destructive when we get suspicious
and seek our own way
and step across healthy boundaries.

Yet you have done miracles;
you have spoken through your prophets,
you have shown yourself to your people.

How long will the enemy mock you, O God?
Will the foe revile your name forever?

Do not hold back your hand, your right hand;
Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy the works of the Enemy!

You, O God, are my king from of old;
you bring salvation upon the earth.

You cleaved the oceans by your great power;
you broke the heads of the sea-monsters.

You crushed Leviathan
and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.

You opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the thundering rivers.

The day belongs to you, and yours also is the night;
you established the sun and moon.

You set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.

Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD,
how foolish people have reviled your name.

Do not hand over this flock to wild beasts;
do not forget your faithful servants.

Have regard for your great plans for our future,
and save us from foes within and foes without.

Let us not retreat in disgrace;
but save the poorest and neediest among us,
and bring about praise for your name.

Rise up, O God, and defend your cause,
we who bear your name.

Silence the clamor of your adversaries,
hush the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

Thank You for the "Didn't"

Lord God, thank you for the catastrophes that did NOT happen this year:
the tsunami that never struck,
the cancer I didn't get,
the accident my child avoided,
the reversal my budget didn't suffer,
the attacks that never came,
the sin that was avoided,
all the tragedy I and my loved ones
and this world could have suffered
but somehow,
by your great mercy,
Thank you,
in Jesus' name,
for the "didn't."

A Prayer of Julian of Norwich

of your goodness,
give me yourself,
for you are enough for me,
and I can ask for nothing which is less
which can pay you full worship.
And if I ask anything which is less,
always I am in want;
but only in you do I have everything.

Julian of Norwich, Showings: Classics of Western Spirituality (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1978), p. 184.

For This Day

Abba, thank you for this day:
its health and nourishment,
its encouragement and productivity,
its warmth and comfort.
Thank you for the grace you've given me
to trust you and live in you
and let you take care of the rest,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Lord God Adonai, I need you today. I would say "I need you more than ever," or "especially" today, but I know my need of you, being utter and complete, never changes. But I feel my need of you today, keenly. I need you. Oh God, come to my assistance; oh Lord, make haste to help me. Amen.

Help and Helplessness

Lord, it stinks to be called to help people, to lead them to you, and yet to be so powerless and ineffectual to help them! Lord God, please help, because I am helpless. Oh, God, come to our assistance; oh Lord, make haste to help us.

Late Have I Loved You

Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, and so new. Late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made — the things which would have no being unless they existed in you! You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness. You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness. You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you. You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace. Amen.

A prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo, from his Confessions

On What Everybody Else Ought to Do

Lord God, everybody seems to know
what everybody else needs to do!
Oh, please, save me from that attitude,
and help me not to accept it from others.

A Prayer from Paul

Lord, your gracious favor is all I need.
Your power works best in my weakness.
Let the power of Christ work in me
through weakness
by your gracious favor.

(based on 2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

Glory in the Grey

Almighty God...
Sun behind all suns...
Soul behind all souls...
show to us in everything we touch
and in everyone we meet
the continued assurance of thy presence round us,
lest ever we should think thee absent.
In all created things thou art there.
In every friend we have
the sunshine of thy presence is shown forth.
In every enemy that seems to cross our path,
thou art there within the cloud to challenge us to love.
Show to us the glory in the grey.
Awake for us thy presence in the very storm
till all our joys are seen as thee
and all our trivial tasks emerge as priestly sacraments
in the universal temple of thy love.

(George MacLeod, The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory, pp. 13-14)

A Prayer of Alcuin of York

Give me grace, O Lord,
to be in all things strong, prudent and just
with a wise restraint at need.
Grant me an exact faith,
unshakeable trust in thee,
and perfect charity.
Fill me with the spirit of intelligence and wisdom.
Let me be always thoughtful for others and courageous,
with loyalty and reverence.
O Light, perfect and eternal, enlighten me.


Jesus, tender lover of my soul,
Pardoner of my sins, and friend indeed,
Keeper of the garden of my heart,
Jesus, thou art everything to me.

Jesus, thou art everything to me,
Jesus, thou art everything to me,
All my lasting joys are found in thee;
Jesus, thou art everything to me.

What to me are all the joys of earth?
What to me is every sight I see,
Save the sight of thee, O Friend of mine?
Jesus, thou art everything to me.

Here I lay me at thy bleeding feet,
Deepest homage now I give to thee;
Hear thy whispered love within my soul;
Jesus, thou art everything to me.

Authors: Edward Henry Joy (1871-1949) (verses),
Arthur Smith Arnott (1870-1941) (chorus)
The Salvation Army Song Book: Song Number: 600

Enoch Prayer

Lord God,
let it be said of me
that I "walked with God."
Let me entertain no delusions
and seek no other plaudits
except those that come
from walking humbly with my God.
Show me your ways.
Let it be enough for me
to walk with you,
in Jesus' name,

Caedmon's Hymn, Revised

Now, Lord, I honor you, Guardian of heaven,
your might as an architect, and your purpose,
your work, O father of glory,
for you, the Eternal Lord,
established each wonder from the beginning.
You, the Holy Creator,
first fashioned the heavens as a roof for the children of men.
Then, Guardian of mankind, Eternal Lord,
you adorned the middle earth,
the lands, for men.
I praise you, Almighty King of Heaven.

A Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

With Thy Spirit, Fill Me

With thy Spirit, fill me.
Make me wholly Thine, I pray:
With thy Spirit, fill me.

The Hiding of Thy Face

(A prayer of George Macdonald)

O Father, help us to know that the hiding of Thy face is wise love. Thy love is not fond, doting and reasonless. Thy bairns must often have the frosty cold side of the hill, and set down both their bare feet among the thorns: Thy love hath eyes, and in the meantime is looking on. Our pride must have winter weather.

Half Measures

Lord, save me from half measures.
Keep me from taking shortcuts,
like Abram with Hagar (Gen. 16),
or from trying to "help" you
with puny compromises.
Give me the courage
to dive in,
rather than trying to tiptoe into your presence
and promises.
Grant me a faith even greater
than Abram in Genesis 16,
and be my shield
and my very great reward,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For Open-Handedness

(A prayer of Archbishop Helder Camara)

isn't your creation wasteful?
Fruits never equal
the seedling's abundance.
Springs scatter water.
The sun gives out
enormous light.
May your bounty teach me
greatness of heart.
May your magnificence
stop me being mean.
Seeing you a prodigal
and open-handed giver
let me give unstintingly
like a king's son
like God's own.

Make Us Dangerous

God, turn my eyes upon Jesus.
Focus me intently on him.
Make my church a dangerous church,
a church that is focused on Jesus,
a church that is constantly looking for him,
finding him,
waiting for him,
expectantly hoping,
fervently seeking him,
joyfully sharing him,
effectively serving him,
our Savior,
our King,
our Alpha and Omega,
the author and finisher of our faith,
the Lamb of God,
the Prince of Peace,
the Son of God and Son of Man,
our Jesus,
our Savior,
our King….

A Father's Thanks

Abba, thank you for ever drawing my children to you,
ever more deeply into your heart,
each in his or her own way.
I thank you that you are always working,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Leave Me As I Am

Abba, you are great, and greatly to be praised.
Thank you that I am not rich,
or powerful,
or influential,
for I could not handle those things.
As it is, I am too mindful of money,
so having more would surely distract me from you.
As it is, I am too controlled and controlling,
so having more power would probably
deform me more.
And, as it is, I care far too much what people think,
so being more influential would certainly
be far too dangerous--and stressful.
So leave me as I am....
except to make me more as you are,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Chaos of Uncalculating Love

(A prayer by George MacLeod)

It was your custom,
to go to the temple,
to the noisome temple
sometime to the scandalised temple
listening to the mumbo jumbo,
but it was your custom to go.
Give us grace in our changing day
to stand by the temple that is the present church,
the noisome temple
the sometime scandalised temple that is the present church,
listening sometime to what again seems mumbo jumbo.
Make it our custom to go
till the new outline of your Body for our day
becomes visible in our midst.

(George MacLeod, The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory, p. 39)

A Prayer of Karl Rahner

who are love itself,
give me
the grace of love,
give me
so that all my days
may finally empty
into the one day
of your eternal life.


Lord God Adonai,
I stake my reputation on yours,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for the Jewish People

God of our fathers,
you chose Abraham and his descendants
to bring Your name to the nations:
we are deeply saddened
by the behavior of those
who in the course of history
have caused these children of Yours to suffer
and asking Your forgiveness
we wish to commit ourselves
to genuine brotherhood
with the people of the Covenant.

A prayer of Pope John Paul II,
at the Western Wall, Jerusalem,
March 26, 2000.

Early Morning Prayer of Thanks

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray and gather my thoughts to you;
I cannot do it alone.
In me it is dark, but with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not desert me;
My courage fails me, 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.
Father in Heaven, praise and thanks be to you
for the night’s rest,
Praise and thanks be to you for the new day.
Praise and thanks be to you for all your lovingkindness
and faithfulness in my past life.
You have shown me so much goodness;
let me also accept what is hard to bear from your hand.
You will not lay a heavier burden on me than I can carry.
You make all things serve for the best for your children.
Lord, whatever this day brings, your name be praised.

( A prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written in Tegel prison, Berlin)

Give Them

Lord God, give them joy.
Give them safety.
Give them laughter.
Give them beauty.
Give them intimacy.
Give them health.
Give them unity.
Give them fulness.
Give them rest.
Give them harmony.
Give them cooperation.
Give them breathtaking moments.
Give them them the making of wonderful memories.
Give them a blessed start,
a perfect honeymoon,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Lord God, tomorrow is my daughter's wedding day.
How am I supposed to "give her away?"
Can't I just keep her?


Lord God,
give me that water,
and let me drink
and be forever satisfied,

A Prayer at Breaking a Fast

Lord God, I break my fast today--or pray that I do--
for the same reasons I started it six days ago:
to remind myself that you are God, and I am not;
to tell you that I love you and bow before you with all my soul and body;
to crucify my flesh and subdue my desires and cravings
and tell myself (and you)
that your lovingkindness means more to me than life,
your blessing more than food and fulness in my belly.
Lord, please take my pitiful offering,
my small sacrifice,
my tiny faithfulness in small things,
and use it to refine me and glorify you...
and, if you will, to bless your church, Cobblestone,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Praise for Answered Prayer

Lord God, I praise you again
because you answer prayer.
I praise you for answering prayer for Bill.
I praise you for answering prayer for Amy's mother.
I praise you for answering prayer for the outreach last Saturday,
and for the baptisms on Sunday.
I praise you for answered prayer for our worship last weekend.
I praise you because you deign to answer prayer.
I praise you because you love to answer prayer.

Ungrace, Certitude and Conviction

Abba, Father, save me from the ungrace
that too often accompanies
certitude and conviction.
Grant me the humility to pray (and live),
"I believe; help my unbelief."

For Miracles of Grace

Abba, God of miracles,
I call on you today;
please do miracles of grace,
and faith and generosity
and renewal and commitment
and joy and worship
and prayer and warfare
and outwardness and surrender
among your people
before our eyes
as we gather to worship you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Herbert 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.

A Variation on a Theme by Nehemiah

Remember me with favor, O my God (Nehemiah 5:19),
not for anything I have done,
but for the sake of all Jesus has done for me,
in whose name I pray, amen.

My Psalm 73

Surely, God, you are good to your people,
to those who are pure in heart,
and even to me, though my feet are prone to slip,
and I am frequently on the edge.

I admit my envy of the arrogant
and my frustration at the easy lives of the wicked.

They have no struggles;
they sow bitterness and reap sweetness.

They seem free from the burdens I bear;
they don't have to put up with the crap I do.

They adorn themselves with pride
and clothe themselves with discord.

They expect perfection from others
while they are blind to the darkness of their own hearts.

They treat others with ungrace and unforgiveness,
while they condemn the best intentions of others.

They talk as if they are wise
and everyone else is stupid.

And of course people listen to them,
lapping up their lies and distortions like thirsty dogs.

Do they really believe you don't see,
that you the Most High lack knowledge?

They must: and not without reason, apparently,
for you seem happy to let them prosper.

It all makes me feel at times like I have kept my heart pure for no good reason,
like I have devoted myself to your will and work in vain.

I am plagued by complainers and critics.
Every morning someone says "we need to meet."

I can't even be honest with them, Lord,
for that would simply add offense to offense
and cause them to call me defensive or recalcitrant.

No matter how hard I try to get a godly perspective on all this,
it oppresses me,
until I turn my eyes on you
and focus on "this one thing I do."

I'm not here for man's approval, Lord,
and I know enough to assume there will be opposition and misunderstanding.

As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise in my heart and mind, O Lord.

You alone can assuage my loneliness;
your presence is a balm to my hurting heart.

Therefore I turn to you once more;
hold me by my right hand.

Guide me with your counsel,
and show me your glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And I desire nothing on earth besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but you are the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you--
they are your problem, not mine.
Those who taunt and attack your servants
will be called before your court.

But as for me, I will focus on staying near you, God.
I will make the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will boast only in you.


Abba, Father, save me from gossip.
From hearing it.
From speaking it.
From suffering it.
In Jesus' name, amen.

A Pastor's Whine

Father, recent weeks--have they been as full of spiritual attack as I think? Or have I forgotten how to trust...how to rest...how to obey? Please tell me things will get better--no, not things, tell me I will get better. Please tell me I will yet learn to command my schedule (instead of vice versa). Please tell me I will yet figure out my own rhythms so I'm not always straining to get through a day, to get to a sabbath, to dread the end of a day(s) off! Please tell me I will become wise enough not to be ruled by worry and fear, and not to be so unhealthily affected by the moods and judgments of those who seem to live in ungrace and unhappiness.

I really do want to please you, Lord, and I want to trust you completely and constantly. I long to walk in peace, in confidence, in abandonment. I long to truly shepherd the flock and feed the lambs, to do it effectively. Even as I write this, I sense you urging me to see myself and my ministry with more gracious eyes than I do. So, okay. I will rest in you, Lord, and seek to walk in the awareness that you will build your church, as you have promised. I will just be faithful, as you enable me, by your grace, in Jesus' name, amen.

Presence Prayer

Lord God, I am happy in your presence tonight.
I sit at your feet.
I gaze on your beauty.
I feel your closeness.
You are here, and I am here, amen.

Remember Me

Lord God, remember me.
Remember me in my poverty.
Remember me in my weariness.
Remember me in my sadness and ennui.
Remember me in my lowliness.
Remember me in my extremity.
Lord God, remember me, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer from Psalm 112

Lord God, I fear you; I find great delight in your commandments. Therefore, my children will be mighty in the land, and even the generation after them will be blessed. Wealth and riches will fill my house. Even in the dark, light will dawn for me. Good will come to me because I am generous and lend freely. I will not fear bad news, because my heart steadfastly trusts in you. I will look in triumph on my foes because my heart is secure. I will even be honored by you, because I honor you! My detractors will be vexed and all their longing for my embarrassment will come to nothing. Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Never Alone

Thank you, Lord God Almighty,
for today's reminder
that I never pray alone:
Thank you for the Spirit's intercession
and for my Lord Jesus,
who "ever liveth" to intercede for me
and with me.
Please let me pray in concert
with you
and in sensitive agreement
with your will.

Save me From "Making" Prayers

Abba, teach me to pray.
Save me from "making" prayers.
Help me to know how to pray,
what to pray,
for whom to pray.
Prompt my praying.
Guide my praying.
Be the author of my prayers,
from beginning to end, amen.

A Prayer of Christina Rosetti

O Lord,
who art as the shadow
of a great rock
in a weary land,
who beholdest thy weak creatures,
weary of labor,
weary of pleasure,
weary of hope deferred,
weary of self:
In thine abundant compassion
and unutterable tenderness,
bring us, we pray thee, unto thy rest. Amen.


Father, I confess:
Sometimes I make up stuff.
I do stuff for show.
I pretend to know stuff.
I even act like I'm made of stuff I'm not.
But I thank you that, by your grace,
I am becoming less of a sham
and more of a man.


Lord God, please teach me contentment.
Teach me to be satisfied in the now,
and grant me the grace to anticipate the not-yet
without pining or worrying,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Holy Spirit, please make me less attentive
to my own desires
and more attentive
to yours,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for the Lord's Day

Abba, Father,
please grant me energy today beyond my resources.
Grant that your people may truly worship you.
Grant that all may be drawn closer to you.
Tear down strongholds.
Route the Enemy.
Convict of sin.
Be glorified,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Arthur Hays Sulzberger

(This prayer by the late chairman of the board of the New York Times was reportedly inspired by a passage from Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis; it has been revised slightly)

God give me clear eyes and freedom from haste!
God give me anger against all pretence!
God keep me looking for my own mistakes!
God keep me at it till my results are proven!
God give me strength to trust the strength of God!

The Prayer Appointed for This Week

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your servant who calls upon you, and grant that I may know and understand what things I ought to do, and that I also may have the grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Variation on Lord Astley

Lord, Thou knowest
I shall be verie busie this day.
Let me not forget Thee.
Let Thee not forget me.


Abba, Father,
reading the book Infidel today
drove me to prayer,
to say thank you for the cleanliness
I take for granted in my life:
clean floors,
clean air,
clean streets,
public places,
and more,
so much so that our most public places
would resemble Disney World to an immigrant
from Somalia or Kenya or many other nations in the world.

So I thank you,
even as I pray for those living in opposite circumstances,
and say Lord, have mercy on them,
in Jesus' name, amen.

I Lay Down

I lay down tonight, Lord. I lay down in peace, in the knowledge that you are sovereign, loving, and utterly trustworthy. I lay down my need to do, and surrender anew to you. I lay down my fears, and rest in your wakeful care. I lay down my agenda for tomorrow and say, "your will be done." I lay down my drive to please man and ask you for the simple--but great--privilege of pleasing you. I lay down. Goodnight.

In Your Hands

Abba, I am in your hands.
Do with me--
and in me, and through me--
what you will,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Abba, you have helped me to realize that one of the reasons I so love solitude is that there, by myself, I get my way! How stubborn is my selfish nature. Please forgive me. Amen.

My Psalm 72

Endow this pastor with your wisdom, O God,
your servant and son with your guidance.

Help me lead your people in righteousness,
and comfort your suffering children with compassion.

Bring prosperity to your people,
let their lives reflect your nature
as surely as the earth and sky around them.

Defend the afflicted among your people
and save the poor and needy;
crush the oppressor.

Grant that I may live and serve you as long as I am useful,
and then anoint my successor.
Let your hand be upon us like rain falling on a field of fresh-mown hay,
like showers refreshing the soil.
Make the righteous flourish, O Lord;
send prosperity to your people that lasts until the moon disappears.
Exert your rule from end to end in our community,
and show yourself strong throughout the “metroplex!”

Let your foes fall down before you;
press your Enemy’s face into the dust.
Let the powers of this earth,
the mighty, moneyed kings of academia,
bring you tribute and present you gifts.
Let the best and brightest bow down to you,
and all nations and tongues serve you,
because you rescue the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no help.
You take pity on the weak and the poor
and save the destitute.
You rescue them from oppression and violence,
for you watch over them with care and concern.

Lord, strengthen this pastor,
your servant and son.
May your people be faithful in praying for me,
and bless me and my coworkers with their prayerful support.
Protect, preserve, and prosper
your church;
cause it to flourish like Lebanon;
cause it to thrive like the Shephelah.

May our efforts for you endure forever;
may they continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed through us,
and may the names of your saints live on.

Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
for you alone do marvelous deeds.
Praise be to your glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with your glory.
Amen and Amen.

Freedom Prayer

Almighty God, help me to honor the freedom you have given me
by offering it to you
and using it for you,

in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer by Saint Benedict

O Lord,
I place myself in Your hands
and dedicate myself to You.

I pledge myself to do Your will in all things:
To love the Lord God with all my heart,
all my soul,
all my strength.
Not to kill,
not to steal,
not to covet,
not to bear false witness,
to honor all persons.
Not to do to another what I should not want done to myself.
Not to seek after pleasures.

To love fasting.
To relieve the poor.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the sick.

To bury the dead.
To help those in trouble.
To console the sorrowing.
To hold myself aloof from worldly ways.
To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

Not to give way to anger.
Not to foster a desire for revenge.
Not to entertain deceit in the heart.
Not to make a false peace.

Not to forsake charity.
Not to swear, lest I swear falsely.
To speak the truth with heart and tongue.
Not to return evil for evil

To do no injury, indeed,
even to bear patiently any injury done to me.
To love my enemies.
Not to curse those who curse me but rather to bless them.
To bear persecution for justice's sake.

Not to be proud.
Not to be given to intoxicating drink.
Not to be an overeater.
Not to be lazy.
Not to be slothful
Not to be a detractor.

To put my trust in God.
To refer the good I see in myself to God.
To refer any evil I see in myself to myself
To fear the day of judgment.
To be in dread of hell.

To desire eternal life with spiritual longing.
To keep death before my eyes daily.
To keep constant watch over my actions.
To remember that God sees me everywhere.

To call upon Christ for defense
against evil thoughts that arise in my heart.
To guard my tongue against wicked speech.
To avoid much speaking.
To avoid idle talk.

Not to seek to appear clever.
To read only what is good to read.
To pray often.
To ask forgiveness daily for my sins,
and to seek ways to amend my life.

To obey my superiors in all things rightful.
Not to desire to be thought holy, but to seek holiness.
To fulfill the commandments of God by good works.

To love chastity.
To hate no one.
Not be jealous or envious of anyone.
Not to love strife.
Not to love pride.

To honor the aged.
To pray for my enemies.
To make peace after a quarrel,
before the setting of the sun.
Never to despair of your mercy, O God of mercy.

All I Ask

Father, if I could,
all I would ask for from this life
would be a quiet place to live,
books to read,
time with my wife,
time with my family,
time to think,
space to write,
a church to love,
and all my bills paid.
If you wanted to make me really happy,
I would let you throw in
an occasional visit with friends,
a nice steak once in a while,
and every year a trip to someplace new.
That would do it,
that would more than do it.
So why, Lord, why did you go and make me a pastor?

When Many Are Coming and Going

When many are coming and going and there is little leisure, give us grace, O heavenly Father, to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who knew neither impatience of spirit or confusion of work, but in the midst of his labors held communion with you, and even upon earth was still in heaven; where he now reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

(A prayer by C. J. Vaughan, 1816-1897)

Prayer for my Grandson

Abba, Father, God,
I pray that as he grows,
Miles will have a heart that is tender toward you;
a heart that beats to please you;
that from his first awareness of you,
his hands won't hesitate to lift toward heaven in praise and worship;
and as he grows up,
that those hands will be used to reach out
in service to you
and comfort those who are hurting
and help for those in need.
May the first step he takes be one of many
on the path that you have planned and laid out before him,
and ultimately, may his countenance reflect a man who has come
to know and love his Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in whose name I ask,

All the Afflictions I've Never Had

Abba, Father,
Mighty God,
my Healer and Sustainer,
I thank you for the health and vitality I enjoy,
for the energy and ability that characterizes my daily life.
I thank you with my whole heart
for all the afflictions I've never had,
all the sufferings I've never had to face:
from AIDS to anemia,
arthritis and meningitis,
autism and muscular dystrophy,
from botulism to mad cow disease,
cancer and carpel tunnel,
cerebral palsy and cholera,
kidney stones and diabetes,
diphtheria and ebola,
necrotizing faciitis,
heart disease,
high cholesterol and high blood pressure,
lyme disease,
multiple sclerosis,
yellow fever,
and more,
and more,
and more.
I thank you for every danger and affliction I have escaped,
even as I pray for those who have not,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Waiting for the Fire

In full and glad surrender,
I give myself to Thee,
Thine utterly and only
And evermore to be.

My all is on the altar,
I'm waiting for the fire,
Waiting, waiting, waiting,
I'm waiting for the fire.

A Thin Place

O God,
make of my heart,
and of my church,
and of the Loft,
and of Oxford,
a thin place.

(Based on an incident related to Evelyn Underhill by a friend who had been to the Isle of Iona and there heard a local gardener say, “Iona is a very thin place.” She asked, “What do you mean?” The gardener, a Scotsman, said, “Its a thin place, because there is not much between Iona and the Lord”)

For a Braveheart's Prayer Life

Make me a man of prayer.
Make my church a house of prayer.
Grant us the joy and exhilaration of partnering with you
through prayer
to bring about things that we can’t imagine
can scarcely even dream,
as we not only see the needs around us
and feel them,
but learn to submit them to you
in faith,
day by day
and moment by moment, in Jesus’ name, amen.