I Need to Breathe Deeply

(a prayer from Ted Loder's Guerrillas of Grace)

Eternal Friend,
grant me an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this light,
this miracle of now.

Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make me attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for me to be,
to do,
to give,
to receive,
that I may miss neither my neighbor's gift
nor my enemy's need.

Rebuke Him

Abba, I confess, as Watchman Nee says in Let Us Pray,
that my Enemy has been wearing me down
for much of the past year--
my friendships,
my physical strength,
my spiritual fervor, etc.
Through 2008 (and more)
he has been chipping away.
I will not have it!
In Jesus' name and by your grace,
I stand against the devil and his wiles!
I refuse to be worn down.
Rebuke him, Lord God Adonai.
Curse him; I know it is your will to curse him.
Cast him down and cast him away
from me and mine, in Jesus' name.
Please let 2009 be for me a year
of renewed strength
and a surge of passion
and enthusiasm for you and your church.
Teach me again to care...and not to care.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Lord, make me like a tree
planted by streams of living water.
Let my roots go down deep into you,
your love and kindness.
Let me grow stronger and taller
and give shade to many,
in Jesus' name, amen.

More Varied

Abba, thank you for yesterday's worship at Cobblestone.
Thank you that you are kindly
answering my prayer
to defy statistics and demographics
and make us a multi-racial,
inter-national church!
Nothing is too hard for you.
Make us ever more varied,
ever more colorful,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday Morning Prayer

Abba, Lord God Adonai,
please visit your people Cobblestone today
with power
and grace...
and joy.

Bless the ministry of Dr. Faust.
Bless the ministry of Con Brio.
Bless the ministry of greeters
and teachers
and parking lot attendants
and coffee makers
and technicians
and prayer team members
and worshipers
and people who wipe things up
and people who recognize friends
and people who respond to your call.

Abba, Lord God Adonai,
please visit your people Cobblestone today
with power
and grace...
and joy.

Water and Fire

I praise you today, Lord, though I do not feel like it.
You walk with me through the waters,
you dance with me in the fire.
I praise you for your presence,
for your faithfulness.
I thank you for this day that you have made,
and all the blessings that fill it,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Thanks Overflows

Father, my thanks overflows.
Thank you for black ink and blank journals.
Thank you for loyal friends.
Thank you for disloyal friends,
who make loyal friends all the more valuable.
Thank you for a faithful wife.
Delightful kids.
A healthy and charming grandson.
A beautiful and healthy granddaughter.
Another on the way.
My own health.
Two reliable (and paid off!) cars in the garage.
Absorbing books.
Sight, and color.
Taste, and food and drink.
Sound, and music and laughter
and the throb of a distant train.
Your closeness.
Your kindness.
Oh, Lord, your constancy.
Thank you for being my rock,
my fortress,
my strong tower,
my refuge,
my God in whom I trust,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Pondering the Small Ways

We ponder you in your greatness.

We bless you in your wonders of creation.

We magnify you for your miracles of deliverance.

We relish the news of your gift of newness give us in Jesus of Nazareth.

We make our doxology as large as we can,
in order to match your
massive presence in the world.

But then, in slow times and in lesser venues,
we know you to be the God of small things:
one widow and one orphan,
one touch of healing,
one lunch turned to much food,
one small temple for a small people in a small city,
one small scroll to power the small city.

On good days we are among those,
who do not occupy ourselves
with things too great and too marvelous.

It is enough that short of glory and magnificence,
you hang in to make small places your venue for governance.
We are grateful for your "tidbits"
that bespeak life among us.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People, p. 101)

Faithful Ignorance

Abba, how come Daniel could see the future
in dreams and visions,
and I can't even understand my present?
Can you give me some of his spirit,
his wisdom (which I know was yours)?
Can you please help me to see things
as they really are?
Or are you more concerned
about my willingness
to follow you
in faithful ignorance?

A Prayer of John Waller

I'm waiting,
I'm waiting on You, Lord,
And I am hopeful.
I'm waiting on You, Lord,
Though it is painful.
But patiently, I will wait.

I will move ahead, bold and confident,
Taking every step in obedience,
While I'm waiting
I will serve You,
While I'm waiting
I will worship,
While I'm waiting
I will not faint,
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait.

I'm waiting,
I'm waiting on You, Lord,
And I am peaceful,
I'm waiting on You, Lord,
Though it's not easy,
But faithfully, I will wait,
Yes, I will wait.
I will serve You while I'm waiting,
I will worship while I'm waiting,
I will serve You while I'm waiting,
I will worship while I'm waiting,
I will serve you while I'm waiting,
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord.

A Prayer for Tax Day

Father God, thank you
for placing no greater burden on man
than to do justly,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with our God.

Grant that I may also fulfill my civic duties,
pay my taxes,
and still provide for my family
and generously support your work in this world,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer on Reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Give me this day
my daily lion,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Help Me Listen

(a prayer from Ted Loder's Guerrillas of Grace)

O Holy One,
I hear and say so many words,
yet yours is the word I need.
Speak now,
and help me listen;
and, if what I hear is silence,
let it quiet me,
let it disturb me,
let it touch my need,
let it break my pride,
let it shrink my certainties,
let it enlarge my wonder.

A Prayer of Nan C. Merrill

(excerpted from Psalm 26 in her book, Psalms for Praying)

Keep me always in your presence,
Ever ready to praise your Name.
Make me holy, complete in You,
Write my name among the saints.


Easter Prayer

You are risen, Lord Jesus!
You are risen from the dead!
You are risen indeed!

You died.
You have risen.
You will come again.

I praise you, Risen One!
I praise you, Conqueror of Death!
I praise you, Banisher of Darkness!

I bow before you.
I kneel at your feet.
I prostrate myself,
My Lord and my God!
The First and the Last!
The Alpha and Omega!
The One who is, who was, and is to come!


Prayer for Holy Saturday

May our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who alone by his powerful word governs all things, yet has buried the shame of the Cross and iron bonds, who has broken the bars of the bronze doors and has descended into hell, who has shone with the brightness of a new light on those who were sitting in the shadow of death — may he, the sun of justice, rising from the tomb, shine upon our darkness with the marvelous light of his risen Body.

A Good Friday Prayer by Christina Rossetti

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon--
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

My Psalm 87

God, you have set your foundation on your holy mountain;
yours is a singular love
for the gates of Zion,
that glorious city of God.

No matter how great the cities of the earth,
it remains an honor to be born in Zion,
a blessing to be able to say, "I was born there."

Let me return there, Lord God;
let me see Jerusalem again;
let me live there sometime before I die.

And let my lifesong sing:
"All my fountains are in you."

A Prayer of Henry David Thoreau

Great God, I ask for no meaner pelf
Than that I may not disappoint myself,
That in my action I may soar as high
As I can now discern with this clear eye.
And next in value, which thy kindness lends,
That I may greatly disappoint my friends,
Howe'er they think or hope that it may be,
They may not dream how thou'st distinguished me.

That my weak hand may equal my firm faith
And my life practice what my tongue saith
That my low conduct may not show
Nor my relenting lines
That I thy purpose did not know
Or overrated thy designs.

Excerpt from A Prayer by Claude McKay

'Mid the discordant noises of the day I hear thee calling;
I stumble as I fare along Earth's way; keep me from falling.

O God, You Have Made of One Blood

(from the Book of Common Prayer)

O God, you have made of one blood
all the peoples of the earth
and sent your blessed Son to preach peace
to those who are far off and those who are near.
Grant that people everywhere may seek after you
and find you.
Bring the nations into your fold;
pour out your Spirit upon all flesh
and hasten the coming of your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Palm Sunday Benediction

(My prayer for the people of Cobblestone today,
based on a prayer by Brother Roger of Taize)

May the blood of Christ save you,
the water from his side cleanse you,
his outstretched arms enfold you,
and his resurrection raise you to new life and new heights,

A Prayer of Brother Roger of Taize

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, refresh me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me,
O good Jesus, hear me,
Within your wounds, hide me,
Let me never be separated from you,
From the powers of darkness, defend me,
In the hour of my death call me,
And bid me come with you,
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost

OH, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

My Psalm 86

Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and in great need.
Defend me, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God;
save your servant who trusts in you.

Be gentle with me
and be kind to me, O Lord;
I'm calling on you right now.

Give me back my joy, O Lord,
for your joy is my strength.

You are gracious and good, O Lord,
overflowing with love to all who call to you.
So overflow in my direction, LORD,
please be moved to action by my cry for mercy.

I'm in trouble, as you know;
I'm in need; that's nothing new.
I call to you, and wait for your answer.
What else can I do?
There is no one else to whom I can turn.
There is no god but you,
and I have no hope but in you.

Let all the nations come and worship before you, O Lord;
let all your people bring glory to your name.
For you are awesome and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

I praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
I glorify your name,
and I will glorify it forever.
I know your love for me is great,
and you've saved me so many times before.
So come to my aid now, O God,
as the fur flies all around me.
Save me from every temptation and attack,
even the well-intentioned ones.
For there is no one else to whom I can turn.
There is no god but you,
and I have no hope but in you.

Turn to me and have mercy on me;
give me strength,
give me energy,
give me hope,
give me joy,
give me clarity,
and wisdom,
and effectiveness.
Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

A Fool's Prayer

(from a poem by Edward Rowland Sill)

O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
‘Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

The ill-timed truth we might have kept–
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders — oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!