Evening Prayer

Day is dying in the west;
heaven is touching earth with rest.
I wait and worship while the night
sets the evening lamps alight
through all the sky.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of you!
Heaven and earth are praising you,
O Lord most high!

Lord of life, beneath the dome
of the universe, your home,
gather us who seek your face
to the fold of your embrace,
for you draw nigh.

While the deepening shadows fall,
heart of love enfolding all,
through the glory and the grace
of the stars that veil your face,
our hearts ascend.

(a prayer by Mary A. Lathbury, slightly revised)

A Prayer of Augustine

Great are you, O Lord, and exceedingly worthy of praise; your power is immense, and your wisdom beyond reckoning. And so we men, who are a due part of your creation, long to praise you – we also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you may bring us joy, because you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is unquiet until it rests in you.

Grant me to know and understand, Lord, which comes first. To call upon you or to praise you? To know you or to call upon you? Must we know you before we can call upon you? Anyone who invokes what is still unknown may be making a mistake. Or should you be invoked first, so that we may then come to know you? But how can people call upon someone in whom they do not yet believe? And how can they believe without a preacher?

But scripture tells us that those who seek the Lord will praise him, for as they seek they find him, and on finding him they will praise him. Let me seek you then, Lord, even while I am calling upon you, and call upon you even as I believe in you; for to us you have indeed been preached. My faith calls upon you, Lord, this faith which is your gift to me, which you have breathed into me through the humanity of your Son and the ministry of your preacher.

How shall I call upon my God, my God and my Lord, when by the very act of calling upon him I would be calling him into myself? Is there any place within me into which my God might come? How should the God who made heaven and earth come into me? Is there any room in me for you, Lord, my God? Even heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me – can even they contain you? Since nothing that exists would exist without you, does it follow that whatever exists does in some way contain you?

But if this is so, how can I, who am one of these existing things, ask you to come into me, when I would not exist at all unless you were already in me? Not yet am I in hell, after all but even if I were, you would be there too; for if I descend into the underworld, you are there. No, my God, I would not exist, I would not be at all, if you were not in me. Or should I say, rather, that I should not exist if I were not in you, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things? Yes, Lord, that is the truth, that is indeed the truth. To what place can I invite you, then, since I am in you? Or where could you come from, in order to come into me? To what place outside heaven and earth could I travel, so that my God could come to me there, the God who said, I fill heaven and earth?

Who will grant it to me to find peace in you? Who will grant me this grace, that you should come into my heart and inebriate it, enabling me to forget the evils that beset me and embrace you, my only good? What are you to me? Have mercy on me, so that I may tell. What indeed am I to you, that you should command me to love you, and grow angry with me if I do not, and threaten me with enormous woes? Is not the failure to love you woe enough in itself?

Alas for me! Through your own merciful dealings with me, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.

Set Our Hearts Afire

O Lord, take our mouths and speak through them;
Take our hands and work through them,
Take our minds and think through them,
And take our hearts and set them on fire.

(a prayer by William Sloane Coffin, offered as a benediction at a Yale University commencement)

A Prayer Based on Words by Leonard Sweet

Give me, please,
the passion of Jesus and the compassion of God.
Give me the passion of Paul, Augustine, Catherine of Siena,
Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Pascal,
Sojourner Truth, Karl Barth, Howard Thurman.
Up my intensity.
Get me cheering and clapping.
Like Ginny Owens, I don't wanna be a flame,
I wanna be a raging fire.

Be pleased, Lord, to make it so. Amen.

(based on words by Leonard Sweet, from his book, Viral)

Your Word

My God, I love your Word. It is a blessing to my heart and a boon to my life.

Thank you for inspiring it. For preserving it. For translating it and applying it to me and my circumstances, in Jesus' name, amen.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

That We May Be Transformed Into Your Image

Grant, Almighty God, that as you no longer appear to us in shadows and types, as formerly to the holy fathers, but clearly and plainly in your only-begotten Son--O, grant that we may be wholly given to the contemplation of your image, which thus shines before us; and that we may in such a manner be transformed into it, as to make increasing advances, until at length, having put off all the filth of our flesh, we be fully conformed to that pure and perfect holiness which dwells in Christ, as in him dwells the fulness of all blessings and thus obtain at last a participation of that glory which our Lord has procured for us by his resurrection. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English)

Path Prayer

Holy Father, always be our path and guide, our protection and shield, our consolation and strength. Set our feet, minds, and hearts onto your path of divine peace. Make your holy and divine Word, which you allow us to hear, vibrant and active in our hearts so we might please and serve you until the end of our lives. Amen.

(from the book Amish Prayers, compiled by Beverly Lewis)

Servant Prayer

It was your joy to serve.
Thank you for your service.
Show me where you want me to serve,
give me the ability to serve,
let me serve.
And make my heart pure toward everyone.

It was your joy to sacrifice.
Thank you for your sacrifice.
Show me what you want me to sacrifice,
give me the ability to sacrifice,
let me sacrifice.
And make my heart pure toward everyone.

It was your joy to suffer.
Thank you for your suffering.
Show me how you want me to suffer,
give me the ability to suffer,
let me suffer.
And make my heart pure toward everyone.

(from Common Prayer Pocket Edition by Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove)


Abba, make me sensible of the treasures that abound in my life, that I have too often passed by without notice or appreciation:
a grandchild asking me to play,
a breeze,
a scent,
a warm shower,
a smile from a stranger,
my beloved's hand in mine,
fresh clean sheets.

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A Prayer for Spring

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.

(by Robert Frost, from A Boy's Will)


Lord God, my King, my Savior,
thank you for home.
Thank you for how it feels
to walk in the door,
kick off my shoes
and slide on my slippers,
to be embraced by effortless familiarity
and countless comforts.
It's no palace but it's perfect,
and I've missed it.
Thank you that I'm home
and that I have a home to come to,
in Jesus' name, amen.

That We May Entirely Devote Ourselves

Grant, Almighty God, that inasmuch as you show yourself to us at this day so kindly as a Father, having presented to us a singular and an invaluable pledge of your favour in your only begotten Son--O, grant that we may entirely devote ourselves to you, and truly render you that free service and obedience which is due to a Father, so that we may have no other object in life but to confirm that adoption, with which you have once favored us, until we at length, being gathered into your eternal kingdom, shall partake of its fruit, together with Christ Jesus thy Son. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English)

St. Patrick's Breastplate for My Children and Grandchildren

I bind to my children and grandchildren today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
Invoking the same
The Three in One
and One in Three.

I plead for them forever
The power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I plead all for them today.

I invoke for my children and grandchildren the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I ask for them today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s lifegiving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I beseech for them today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to their need.
The wisdom of their God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give them speech,
His heavenly host to be their guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar their course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I ask, in Jesus’ name, these powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect them, Christ, till your returning.

Christ be with them, Christ within them,
Christ behind them, Christ before them,
Christ beside them, Christ to win them,
Christ to comfort and restore them.
Christ beneath them, Christ above them,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love them,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I ask all this in the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.

When Others See the Chaste Path We Follow

Holy Father, may we shine as a light in the world so that when others see the chaste path we follow in Christ, they may be won over and edified through our example, even without instruction. May this serve to praise and honor your holy name, and to bring comfort and salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

O Lord, almighty God and heavenly Father! For the love and faithfulness that you demonstrate to us at all hours of every day, we faithfully praise and thank you. May you be praised forever and ever, O Lord, now and always. Amen.

(from the book Amish Prayers, compiled by Beverly Lewis)

A Prayer Before Travel

Lord Jesus Christ,
I am once again leaving on a trip.
Be my companion, guide and protector
during my journey.
Keep me from all danger,
misfortune and temptation.
By Your divine power grant me
a peaceful and successful journey
and safe arrival.
In You I place my hope and trust
and You I praise, honor and glorify,
together with the Father and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Gracious God, I exalt you.
You are almighty; I am weak.
You know all things; I am still an infant in understanding, a babe in wisdom.
You created all things; I can only mimic your creativity.
You are self-giving, self-sacrificing in your love; I am self-centered in my love.
You are omnipresent; I am finite, and often unaware and oblivious.
You are eternal; I am mortal.
You are gracious and merciful; I am judgmental.
You are holy; I am sinful, steeped in sin from my birth.
You are my God, worthy of only praise, great in power and glory,
and I praise you, in Jesus' name, amen.


Transforming God,
we beg for softer, gentler,
less fearful, more gracious and generous hearts.

Protect us from our need to control.
Make us more humble, loving, and poor in spirit.
Lead us into new paths of peace.

We pray, too, for the transformation of our world.
May the nations, leaders, and peoples of this planet
turn and embrace your way of humility, poverty, charity.

Empower us to name the lies
and oppose the seductive powers of dominion in our day.
Rebuild your church.

Raise up a whole new generation
of saints willing to let go of all distractions
and willing to take risks for your kingdom.

In poverty, humility, and charity
we pray with St. Francis of Assisi …

Enlighten our darkness, and give us
correct faith and trust,
firm hope,
perfect love (even for our enemies)
wisdom and perception,
that we may do what is truly your most holy will.

(From Words for Worship 2, by way of Jamie Arpin-Ricci's blog and the In-Formatio blog)

Since We Are Too Secure and Torpid in Our Sins

Grant, Almighty God, that since we are too secure and torpid in our sins, your dread majesty may come to our minds, to humble us, and to remove our fear, that we may learn anxiously to seek reconciliation through Christ, and so abhor ourselves for our sins, that you may then be prepared to receive us: and that unbelief may not shut the door against us, enable us to regard you to be such as you have revealed yourself to be, and to acknowledge that you are not like us, but the fountain of all mercy, that we may thus be led to entertain a firm hope of salvation, and that, relying on the Mediator, your only-begotten Son, we may know him as the throne of grace, full of compassion and mercy. O grant, that we may thus come to you, that through him we may certainly know that you are our Father, so that the covenant you have made with us may never fail through our fault, even this, that we are your people, because you have once adopted us in your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English)

As a Little Child

Lord God,
I thank you wholeheartedly
that many of the joys of childhood
are still mine,
though I don't often appreciate them as I should:
Eating candy,
Going potty (by myself!),
Watching fireworks,
Reciting the alphabet,
Making noise,
Playing hide 'n' seek,
Playing "Catch Me!,"
Writing my name,
Sliding down a slide,
Splashing in the tub,
Blowing bubbles,
Climbing steps,
Performing somersaults,
Sticking out my tongue,
Kicking a ball, a can, a rock,
Skipping rocks,
and more.

I am richer than I know,
as rich as any three-year-old.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Traveling Day Prayer

Father God,
grant me safe and successful travel today.
Make smooth paths
(and flight schedules) for my feet.
Grant safe and timely travel to the airport.
Help me to make my flights
and safely reach my destination.
Protect me from coach cabin infections.
Guide my steps,
guard my thoughts,
and give me sweet communion with you
and pleasant interactions with others.
Protect and bless my lovely Robin while I am away,
and please give me your hand of blessing,
your anointing,
your empowerment,
in my speaking ministry,
in Jesus' name, amen.

The Meltings of Thy Heart to Me

O Lover to the Uttermost,

May I read the meltings of thy heart to me
in the manger of thy birth,
in the garden of thy agony,
in the cross of thy suffering,
in the tomb of thy resurrection,
in the heaven of thy intercession.

Bold in this thought I defy my adversary,
tread down his temptations,
resist his schemings,
renounce the world,
am valiant for truth.

Deepen in me a sense of my holy relationship to thee,
as spiritual Bridegroom,
as Jehovah's Fellow,
as sinners' Friend.

I think of thy glory and my vileness,
thy majesty and my meanness,
thy beauty and my deformity,
thy purity and my filth,
thy righteousness and my iniquity.

Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
may I love thee as I am loved;
Thou has given thyself for me,
may I give myself to thee;
Thou has died for me,
may I live to thee,
in every moment of my time,
in every movement of my mind,
in every pulse of my heart.

May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
but walk by thy side,
listen to thy voice,
be clothed with thy graces,
and adorned with thy righteousness.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)

2 Thessalonians 1 Prayer

Great God, please use all persecution and hardship in my life to make me worthy of your calling, and by your power to bring to fruition my every desire for goodness and my every deed prompted by faith, so that the name of my Lord Jesus may be glorified in me, and me in him, according to the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(based on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, NIV)

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For Those Who Have Been Devastated

Father, we pray for those who have been devastated by the recent storms. Heal those who are injured, provide for those who have lost homes and possessions, and comfort those who have lost loved ones. May your grace and love fill their hearts. Amen.

(from the Daily Prayer blog)

My 2,000th Prayer

Lord, I don't know what I expected
when I started posting some of my prayers
on this blog in 2005.

But I'm sure I hadn't given a thought
to doing it two thousand times,
nor to doing it into 2012.

But it has been such a joy,
to spend these moments in your presence
and to share them with others...
to discover or remember the prayers
of Rossetti and Calvin,
of Baxter, Edwards, and Andrews,
Hildegarde and Francis,
of popes and kings,
and poets and prophets.

Thank you, Lord.
Thank you for prayer.
Thank you for meeting me here, so often and so regularly.
Thank you for the hope that these prayers--
some of them even mine!--
have been of some encouragement
to your flock.
I know they have to me.

That We May Not Bring Forth Wild Grapes

wild grapes

Grant, Almighty God, that as you train us up with so much diligence and assiduous care, and regard us as dear and precious like an hereditary vine--O, grant that we may not bring forth wild grapes, and that our fruit may not be bitter and unpleasant to you, but that we may strive to so form our whole life in obedience to your law, that all our actions and thoughts may be pleasant and sweet fruits to you. And as there is ever some sin mixed up with our works, even when we desire to serve you sincerely and from the heart, grant that all stains in our works may be so cleansed and washed away by the sacrifice of your Son, that they may be sweet-smelling sacrifices to you, through the same, even Christ Jesus, who has so reconciled us to you as to obtain pardon even for our works. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English)

It Is Finished

Dear Lord, let me recount to Thee
Some of the great things thou hast done
For me, even me
Thy little one.

It was not I that cared for Thee,--
But Thou didst set Thy heart upon
Me, even me
Thy little one.

And therefore was it sweet to Thee
To leave Thy Majesty and Throne,
And grow like me
A Little One,

A swaddled Baby on the knee
Of a dear Mother of Thine own,
Quite weak like me
Thy little one.

Thou didst assume my misery,
And reap the harvest I had sown,
Comforting me
Thy little one.

Jerusalem and Galilee,--
Thy love embraced not those alone,
But also me
Thy little one.

Thy unblemished Body on the Tree
Was bared and broken to atone
For me, for me
Thy little one.

Thou lovedst me upon the Tree,--
Still me, hid by the ponderous stone,--
Me always,--me
Thy little one.

And love of me arose with Thee
When death and hell lay overthrown:
Thou lovedst me
Thy little one.

And love of me went up with Thee
To sit upon Thy Father's Throne:
Thou lovest me
Thy little one.

Lord, as Thou me, so would I Thee
Love in pure love's communion,
For Thou lov'st me
Thy little one:

Which love of me brings back with Thee
To Judgment when the Trump is blown,
Still loving me
Thy little one.

(a prayer by Christina Rossetti)

A Prayer from My New Book

Lord Jesus, thank you for your insistent knock at the door of my heart…the door of my life.

Show me how to keep company with you. Teach me how to include you in the rhythms and responsibilities of my day. Help me, like Zacchaeus, to jump at the chance to eat with you, and spend time with you. Enable me to share my life with you, to learn to chat with you, to tell you what I’m thinking, to listen as you tell me what you’re thinking, and even haggle, complain, consult, and wrestle with you as I go through my day.

I open to you. I will save a chair for you. Come in, Lord. Amen.

(a prayer from my new book, Quit Going to Church)


Abba, you don't sleep.
You never slumber.
You give your beloved ones sleep,
but it is a gift
you don't need
and a pleasure
in which you don't indulge.
That amazes me
because I love sleep.
It is a kindness.
A blessing.
And a comfort,
especially since I know while I sleep,
you watch. And work.
So thank you
for all you do
and what you don't do.