A Prayer on the Fifth Day of Vacation

Gracious God,
help me appreciate
another rhythm of life
that comes when work ends for a time.

In my movement from activity to quiet,
from thinking to being,
from producing to relaxation,
give me the softness of your Spirit
that will slow my heart and change its beat.

I ask this for the sake of your love.

(from http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/essays/vacationpray.html)

A Fourth Vacation Prayer

Gracious God, give me a heart of playfulness while I am away from the regular responsibilities of my life. Give me a spirit of adventure – a spirit that is ready to try new things, taste new food, experience new people. Give me courage to do the unexpected and untried. Give me a desire to delight in what is new and different, knowing that I will return fuller for having been bold enough to stretch myself out. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

(from http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/essays/vacationpray.html)

Yet Another Vacation Prayer

Gracious God, it is a time to see and do new things now. The work that claims my heart is done now, and my soul is ready for a time of Sabbath rest. Help me be attentive and curious, open and aware, so that the images, experiences and encounters of this time may be bouquets of refreshment when work again is my soul’s delight. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

(from http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/essays/vacationpray.html)

Another Vacation Prayer

Gracious God,
may I see the wonders of creation
this day.

May the simple gifts
that are so often buried
under the activities of my life
be revealed in glory.

May my heart that
is so often distracted
be clear and still.

May my soul,
hungry for peace,
be fed by your grace.

When I close my eyes in sleep
this night,
may I be filled with gratitude
for the blessing of this leisurely day.

I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

(from http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/essays/vacationpray.html)

Vacation Prayer

Gracious God, it’s hard to shift from a life of busy work to a period of quiet relaxation. Help me let go of my need to produce and of my worry over what will happen at work while I am away. As I give myself to the relaxation of mind and body, let the activities of my work life silently recede into the background. Let me open my soul to you as if it were an empty canvas waiting for the creative touch of the artist’s hand. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

(from http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/essays/vacationpray.html)

A Prayer from Isaiah 11

let your Spirit,
who rested on Jesus the Branch—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord—
rest on me and rule in my life today,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on Isaiah 11:1-2)

For the Joy and Privilege of Being a Writer

Lord, Logos,
thank you for the joy and privilege
of being a writer.

Thank you,
a million times, thank you
that I get to spend my days
amid words
and sentences
and paragraphs
that (mostly) cooperate
and do my bidding.

Thank you for the honor
of seeing my words in print,
where others will read them
and perhaps be helped by them.

Thank you that my brain
and fingers
still work
(despite years of wear and tear),
and that agents
and publishers
and readers
haven't yet
found me out.


Traveler's Prayer

G-d who watches over us,
Watch over this journey.
Keep us free from affliction and strife,
Safe from danger and wrong doing,
Protected in Your loving sight.
May we know strength and good fortune on the way,
Rest and peace upon our return.
May this travel be blessed with the shelter of Your gentle arms,
The guidance of Your mighty hand,
The gift of Your countless blessings.

Bless our moments apart,
Bless our moments together.
Grace upon departure,
Joy upon return.
Remembering to praise and bless
Your Holy Name
Wherever You lead us.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Song of Jonah

I cried out to you in my distress,
and you heard me, Lord;
feeling like I was in hell,
I called, and you answered.

You hurled me down,
into the very depths,
and the deep waters swallowed me,
the waves and currents dragged me under.

I felt abandoned,
far from your watchful eye.
But I turned to you nonetheless.

I was engulfed.
Helpless to escape.

When I thought I was at the bottom,
I went deeper still.
Yet you found me there,
and began drawing me up.

When I stopped struggling
and trying to help myself,
I cast myself on you
and depended wholly on your strength,
and I felt your hand.

I don't know how the godless can manage
without the hope and help that is found in you.

I will sing a grateful song
and sacrifice to you.
Let my generosity express my praise,
for you alone are my salvation.

(based on Jonah 2:2-9)

Prayer on the First Day of Summer

Father, Creator of all,
thank You for summer!

Thank You for the warmth of the sun and the increased daylight.

Thank You for the beauty I see all around me and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation.

Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and
family, and for the more casual pace
of the summer season.

Draw me closer to You this summer.

Teach me how I can pray no matter
where I am or what I am doing.

Warm my soul with the awareness of
Your presence and light my path with
Your Word and Counsel.

As I enjoy Your creation, create in
me a pure heart and a hunger
and a thirst for You.

(author unknown)

Unto Thee Will I Cry

Unto thee will I cry,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Poor and needy am I,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Deep is calling unto deep,
Rugged are the heights, and steep:
Guide my steps and keep;
Hear, O hear my prayer!
Hear, O hear my prayer!

Where the tempest is loud,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
'Mid the darkness and cloud,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Let me hear thy voice afar,
Coming with the morning star,
Hear, O hear my prayer!
Hear, O hear my prayer!

Let the foe not prevail,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
My resources would fail,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Order all my steps aright,
Carry me from height to height;
Yonder shines the light!
Shepherd, lead me there!
Lead me safely there!

(a prayer by General Albert Orsborn of The Salvation Army)

A Prayer for Trinity Sunday

O blessed glorious Trinity,
Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith,
Which, as wise serpents, diversely
Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath,
As you distinguish'd, undistinct,
By power, love, knowledge be,
Give me a such self different instinct,
Of these let all me elemented be,
Of power, to love, to know you unnumbered three.

(by John Donne, from Litany)

You Lift My Head

You are my shield, Lord;
you are my glory.
You lift my head,
as a nurse lifts the patient's head for a drink,
as a father lifts the chin of a tearful child,
as a lover's expected kiss draws the head upward.

You hear me when I call;
you actually listen, and understand.

You give me sleep,
a respite from my troubles.

I will not be afraid,
no matter how alone I may feel,
for you are with me.

You are my shield,
and my very great reward.

(based on Psalm 3:3-6 and Genesis 15:1)

With Me

Lord, You are with me. You are praying for me. I am not alone. Is there any greater assurance that I should not fear? Your promise stands, spoken over and over again in Your Word and satisfying Your followers throughout thousands of years - You are with me. I commit this truth to my heart right now. May the realization that this is our challenge, our trial and our burden strengthen and sustain me today.

In the power of Your Name, amen.

(from 'Always True' by James MacDonald, by way of the Daily Prayer blog)

For a Child Yet Unborn

Lord God almighty, Abba, Father, you have made us out of nothing and redeemed us by the precious blood of your only Son; please preserve the work of your hands, the yet-unborn child of my daughter and son-in-law. Please defend both child and mother from all perils and evils. Please grant your mercy, grace, and all possible health to them both, especially from Cystic Fibrosis, which afflicts his (or her) big sister. Please bring about a happy and healthy arrival into this world, and bring this baby into our family, into your kingdom, and into the church, that he (or she) might be yours (and ours) forever, in Jesus' name, amen.

Lines of Prayer from a Hymn, Somewhat Revised

'Fear not,' Lord, you tell me, and 'Be not dismayed,'
For you are my God and will still give me aid;
You'll strengthen me, help me, and cause me to stand,
Upheld by your righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters you call me to go,
The rivers of woe shall not me overflow;
For you will be with me, my troubles to bless,
And sanctify to me my deepest distress.

When through fiery trials my pathway shall lie,
Your grace, all sufficient, shall be my supply;
The flame shall not hurt me, for you, Lord, design,
The dross to consume, and the gold to refine.

(from the hymn, How Firm a Foundation)

Plant Me Deep

Holy spirit, I surrender,
Take me where you want to go;
Plant me by your living water,
Plant me deep so I can grow.

(a prayer by Keith Green)

For the Joy of Living Free in Christ

Heavenly Father, it is our deep desire to glorify Your name. We want to honor Your Word, even when it squares off against our own feelings or experiences. We thank You for being kind enough to teach us the basic things about grace. And we pray that teaching might result in freedom from the bondage that has held captive some of Your people far too long.

Now we ask for several things—that You would guard us from extremism; that You would guard us from misunderstanding; that You would guard Your children from foolish, licentious living; and that You would guard us from a misappropriation of freedom. And, Father, that You would guard those of us who keep lists from thinking that our lists make us more holy. Deal first with our attitude, our Father, then with our lives—whether it's for salvation, or for deliverance from the terrible plague of legalism, or simply for the joy of living free in Christ.

We ask it in the name that is above all names, Jesus Himself. Amen.

(by Charles Swindoll, reprinted from Day by Day, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved)

A Prayer on Pentecost Sunday

O God the Holy Ghost
Who art light unto thine elect
Evermore enlighten us.
Thou who art fire of love
Evermore enkindle us.
Thou who art Lord and Giver of Life,
Evermore live in us.
Thou who bestowest sevenfold grace,
Evermore replenish us.
As the wind is thy symbol,
So forward our goings.
As the dove, so launch us heavenwards.
As water, so purify our spirits.
As a cloud, so abate our temptations.
As dew, so revive our languor.
As fire, so purge our dross

(by Christina Rossetti)

A Prayer in Darkness

This much, O heaven--if I should brood or rave,
Pity me not; but let the world be fed,
Yea, in my madness if I strike me dead,
Heed you the grass that grows upon my grave.

If I dare snarl between this sun and sod,
Whimper and clamour, give me grace to own,
In sun and rain and fruit in season shown,
The shining silence of the scorn of God.

Thank God the stars are set beyond my power,
If I must travail in a night of wrath,
Thank God my tears will never vex a moth,
Nor any curse of mine cut down a flower.

Men say the sun was darkened: yet I had
Thought it beat brightly, even on--Calvary:
And He that hung upon the Torturing Tree
Heard all the crickets singing, and was glad.

(a prayer of G. K. Chesterton)

On Miles's Fourth Birthday

Abba, Father,
thank you for my grandson,
Miles Jacob Hostetler,
who turns four years old today.

Thank you for his health,
his charm,
his energy
and gusto.

Thank you that he likes to pray.
Thank you for his sharp mind,
his engaging smile,
his expanding vocabulary,
his insightful eyes,
his big heart.

Thank you for the joy he brings me,
for the ways he lifts my spirits,
for the love we share.

Thank you for giving him to me,
through his parents.
Thank you for them,
and the wise and attentive way
they are raising him.

Thank you for every day
and every moment
of these first four years of his life,
and please grant many, many more
to come,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Soul Is In Turmoil

Lord, my soul is in turmoil.
I am stricken with grief.
I have no answers,
only sadness
and unrest.

But, as Henri Nouwen once wrote,
"in the midst of much inner turmoil and restlessness,
there is a consoling thought:
maybe you are working in me
in a way I cannot yet feel, experience, or understand."

I know that's true.
I don't much like it, but I know it.
So in faith I cling to you.
I know that you are God.
I know you are not sleeping.
I know that you see into my heart,
and that you do some of your best work
in darkness.

So work, Lord.
Lead me.
Teach me.
Soften me.
Mold me.
Break me and put me back together,
as you wish.

I will do my best to submit,
to listen,
and glorify you,
by your grace.

I will not give up on you,
I will not stop praying,
I will not hold back in worship,
I will not blame,
I will not judge,
I will not lash out...
by your grace.

Let this little death
I am experiencing now
be for me (as it was for Jesus)
a path to resurrection life,
in whose name I pray, amen.

Make Me a Fork

Father make me a crisis man.
Bring those I contact to a decision.
Let me not be
a mile post on a single road.
Make me a fork,
that men must turn
one way or another
on facing Christ in me.

(a prayer of Jim Elliot)


help me not to live
with expectations
but with a sense
of expectancy.

Everyday Graces

Abba, thank you
for everyday grace:
and more.

You are always faithful,
ever giving,
and completely loving.


Balm in Gilead

You are my balm in Gilead;
You make the wounded whole.
You are the balm in Gilead
That heals this weary soul.

So I won't feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain;
I'll let your Holy Spirit
Revive my soul again.

A Prayer for My Thirty-Fourth Wedding Anniversary

O God, what thanks can I possibly render to you
for my bride,
my wife,
my thirty-four years of marriage,
and thirty-seven years
with the lovely Robin in my life?

Thank you for yet another year of life together.
Thank you for her faithful,
constant heart.

Thank you for the happiness we have known together;
for the sorrows we have faced together;
for the children we have raised
and the grandchildren we have been given.

Thank you for our home,
our health,
our laughter,
our hopes and dreams,
our unfinished plans
and our small accomplishments.

Thank you that she still laughs at (some of) my jokes.
Thank you that she grows more beautiful every day.
Thank you for all her perfections,
and all my improvements.

Spare us another year to walk together,
and grant that for us it may be true
that the best is yet to be,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All My Words

God of mercy and truth,
You gave us the ability to speak
so that we might glorify You and
encourage our brothers and sisters.
Help me to overcome my tendency to
speak unkindly about others
and to criticize those around me.
Teach me instead to praise, to encourage, to defend,
and to say only those things I myself would
want to hear from someone else.
Form within me the habit of praying for help
in overcoming those faults I observe and of
speaking respectfully to those with whom I disagree.
Please give me also the courage to accept criticism
from others by responding calmly,
while honestly considering whether their remarks
contain wisdom and truth.
May all my words be pleasing to You
and beneficial to those who hear them. Amen.

(from the book Saintly Solutions to Life's Common Problems, by Fr. Joseph Esper, by way of the Daily Prayer blog)

Thanks in Hardship

Abba, Father,
you know
recent weeks have been
even depressing.

But your Word tells me to give thanks in everything.

So thank you.

Thank you for the gift of
eight to twelve more hours in my week.
Thank you for a more livable schedule.
Thank you for more time with people who love me.
Thank you for a sharper focus,
a clearer head,
a clean conscience,
and a growing freedom from stress and obligation.

Thank you that in all things
I am more than conqueror
through him who loves me.

Thank you that you are leading me,
though I don't know where.
Thank you for the sense
that you are about to open new doors
and make possible new opportunities
that I might not otherwise have seen or taken.

Hold Thou My Hand

Hold Thou my hand; so weak I am, and helpless,
I dare not take one step without Thy aid;
Hold Thou my hand; for then, O loving Savior,
No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid.

Hold Thou my hand, and closer, closer draw me
To Thy dear self—my hope, my joy, my all;
Hold Thou my hand, lest haply I should wander,
And, missing Thee, my trembling feet should fall.

Hold Thou my hand; the way is dark before me
Without the sunlight of Thy face divine;
But when by faith I catch its radiant glory,
What heights of joy, what rapturous songs are mine!

(a prayer by Fanny Crosby)