A Prayer on December 31

Our great and Gracious God, as we come to the close of another year, we would indeed make it the prayer of our hearts that you would abide with us. We thank you that you have been with us through the days of this past year.

Perhaps many a day we have not felt you near,
Perhaps at times we have even felt that you have
forsaken us and forgotten us
but we thank you that it has never been so.
We thank you that you are constantly with your people,
and that you have enabled us to persevere in grace,

You have comforted our hearts,
You have heard our prayers,
You have come so often to our aid.
We pray that you will go with us into this new year.

There is none of us who knows what the new year will hold,
but we thank you that every moment of that year is in your hands,
and you will be with your people.
We thank you that with that promise girding us,
we can go forward with confidence and in your peace.
We pray that you will help us to walk with you in this new year better than we have ever done before.
Forgive us, Lord, for our sins and our backslidings of this past year.

Grant to us, as the days of the new year unfold, an ever closer walk with you.
Help us to put sin to death,
Help us gladly yield our lives unreservedly to Jesus Christ, our Savior, and God
that we may regard ourselves entirely at his disposal to be, to go, to do, as he would wish.
We pray that it may be our privilege to serve him,
to bring glory to him, to help others to know him better,
and to help some, indeed, to come to know him for the first time.
Have mercy, we pray, upon those connected with us who come to the end of this year
and their hearts are still closed against you, still hardening their hearts against you.

Spare them, O God, we pray; spare them!
Grant that this new year would mark the beginning of new life in Jesus Christ.
We are so thankful for the almighty Holy Sprit, for his limitless power
to bring conviction of sin,
to give new birth,
and to draw those who are away from you
to faith and to repentance.
We pray, Lord, that you would do that in the hearts and lives of all who are upon our hearts.
For Jesus’ sake,
Amen.

(From the book Heart Cries to Heaven, by David Campbell)

As We Approach the Close of Another Year

Our great and Gracious God,

As we come to the close of another year, we would indeed make it the prayer of our hearts that you would abide with us.

We thank you that you have been with us through the days of this past year.

Perhaps many a day we have not felt you near,
Perhaps at times we have even felt that you have
forsaken us and forgotten us but we thank you
that it has never been so.
We thank you that you are constantly with your people, and that you have enabled us to persevere in grace,

You have comforted our hearts,
You have heard our prayers,
You have come so often to our aid.
We pray that you will go with us into this new year.

There is none of us who knows what the new year will hold, but we thank you that every moment of that year is in your hands, and you will be with your people.
We thank you that with that promise girding us, we can go forward with confidence and in your peace. We pray that you will help us to walk with you in this new year better than we have ever done before. Forgive us, Lord, for our sins and our backslidings of this past year.

Grant to us, as the days of the new year unfold, an ever closer walk with you.
Help us to put sin to death,
Help us gladly yield our lives unreservedly to Jesus Christ, our Savior, and God that we may regard ourselves entirely at his disposal to be, to go, to do, as he would wish
We pray that it may be our privilege to serve him,
to bring glory to him, to help others to know him better, and to help some, indeed, to come to know him for the first time.
Have mercy, we pray, upon those connected with us who come to the end of this year and their hearts are still closed against you, still hardening their hearts against you.

Spare them, O God, we pray; spare them! Grant that this new year would mark the beginning of new life in Jesus Christ. We are so thankful for the almighty Holy Sprit, for his limitless power
to bring conviction of sin,
to give new birth,
and to draw those who are away from you
to faith and to repentance.
We pray, Lord, that you would do that in the hearts and lives of all who are upon our hearts.
For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

(from Heart Cries to Heaven by David Campbell)

The Radiance of Your Love

Father in heaven, God of grace,
Grant that we may know
Your beauty and gaze on your face
To such an extent as to show
The radiance of your love
As well on earth as is seen in heaven above.

A Prayer on the Feast of Stephen

Father, on this feast of Stephen,
the first martyr of your church,
I pray for all those
among my brothers and sisters
who today face persecution, even martyrdom.
Give them strength, Lord,
and stamina.
Lift their eyes to their Lord,
as you did for Stephen,
and give them love for their persecutors
and hope for themselves and their families,
in Jesus' name, amen.

On This Christmas Day

We yearn, our Father, for the simple beauty of Christmas -- for all the old familiar melodies and words that remind us of that great miracle when He who had made all things was one night to come as a babe, to lie in the crook of a woman's arm.

Before such mystery we kneel, as we follow the shepherds and Wise Men to bring Thee the gift of our love -- a love we confess has not always been as warm or sincere or real as it should have been. But now, on this Christmas Day, that love would find its Beloved, and from Thee receive the grace to make it pure again, warm and real.

We bring Thee our gratitude for every token of Thy love, for all the ways Thou hast heaped blessings upon us during the years that have gone.

And we do pray, Lord Jesus, that as we celebrate Thy birthday, we may do it in a manner well pleasing to Thee. May all we do and say, every tribute of our hearts, bring honor to Thy name, that we, Thy people, may remember Thy birth and feel Thy presence among us even yet.

May the loving kindness of Christmas not only creep into our hearts, but there abide, so that not even the return to earthly cares and responsibilities, not all the festivities of our own devising may cause it to creep away weeping. May the joy and spirit of Christmas stay with us now and forever.

In the name of Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins, even in that lovely name we pray. Amen.

Come, Come, Jesus, I Await You

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.

Amen.

(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).

O Emmanuel



O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Amen.

O Rex Gentium



O King of the gentiles and their desired One,
the cornerstone that makes both one:
Come, and deliver man,
whom you formed out of the dust of the earth.

O Oriens



O Rising Sun,
splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.
Amen.

O Clavis David



O Key of David,
O royal power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.
Amen.

O Radix Jesse



O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up
as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
Amen.

O Adonai



O sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. Amen.

O Sapientia



O Wisdom,
coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
Amen.

Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven,
hold me together;
Be forever near me,
Breath of Heaven.

Breath of Heaven,
lighten my darkness;
Pour over me Your holiness,
for You are holy,
Breath of Heaven.

(excerpt from "Mary's Song," a prayer by Amy Grant and Chris Eaton)

To Approach That Day on Tiptoe

Lord Jesus,
the day of your nativity approaches,
the day on which we commemorate
your birth,
your condescension,
your humble incarnation.

Please help me and mine
to approach that day on tiptoe,
with reverence and awe,
mindful of your holiness and beauty,
and grateful for the privilege
of finding
and approaching
and kneeling at
your manger, amen.

Jonah Prayer

Lord God Adonai,
incline my heart
to run to your will
and not from it...
when it pleases me,
and when it doesn't...
when I am at peace,
and when I am in turmoil...
when you call me to ease
and when you call me to sorrow,
for in your will
is your wisdom,
and in obedience
is my peace. Amen.

A Prayer for More

More holiness give me, more strivings within.
More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.
More faith in you, Jesus, more sense of your care.
More joy in your service, more purpose in prayer.

More gratitude give me, more trust in you, Lord.
More zeal for your glory, more hope in your Word.
More tears for your sorrows, more pain at your grief.
More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more faithful and true,
More bless├Ęd and holy, more, Savior, like you.

(a prayer of Philip Bliss, slightly revised)

Blessed Trinity

O God the Father, of heaven,
who marvelously created
the world out of nothing,
who governs and upholds heaven
and earth with your power,
who delivered to death
your only-begotten
for us:

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
who willed to be incarnate of a virgin,
who has washed us from our sins
by your precious blood,
who rising from the dead
ascended victorious to heaven:

O God the Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
who descended upon Jesus in
the form of a dove,
who coming upon the apostles
appeared in fiery tongues,
who visits and confirms with your grace
the hearts of the saints:

O sacred, highest, eternal, blissful,
blessed Trinity,
always to be praised, yet always
unspeakable:
O Father good -
O Son loving -
O Spirit kind -
whose majesty is unspeakable,
whose power is incomparable,
whose goodness is inestimable:
whose work is life,
whose love is grace,
whose contemplation is glory:

Deity, Divinity, Unity, Trinity:
I worship you, I call upon you,
with the whole affection of my heart
I bless you now and forever:
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

(a prayer of Lancelot Andrewes, slightly updated)

Ingenuity

God, I praise you for your ingenuity....
to have thought of the Sabbath...
and snow...
to have created two sexes....
to have created growth itself,
and sleep,
and so many other wonderful things
that we take for granted as though they have always existed...
but once they were not,
and then they were formed in your mind,
and now they are.
How wonderful you are. Amen.

Spare Me

Save me from getting all I pray for,
from receiving all I ask,
until I learn to ask only according to your will.
Break me of my desire to have my desires.
Spare me any pleasure that will halt or delay my progress
in becoming more like you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on a Puritan prayer, found here)

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;
bless me,
prosper me,
and make me a scourge
to all who oppose you,
for the sake of your kingdom,
and for the glory of your name,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(Based on 2 Kings 18:6-7)

Enter

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,
expectantly,
adoringly,
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.
Amen.

From This Misty Lowland

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune god, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(a prayer of A. W. Tozer)

For Pastor Saeed Abedini

Free Pastor Saeed in Iran, Lord.
Please free him.

Open the gates of stubborn hearts.
Cut through the red tape of politics.
Guard him from other prisoners.
Sustain his health and spirit as he waits.

Free him, Lord.
Amen.

(a prayer of author Lisa T. Bergren)

A Confession

I confess to being a jerk while driving.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to eating too much because I can.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to giving too little because I can.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to losing my temper with children...and adults.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to the selfishness of wanting to be noticed and admired.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to smugness and self-righteousness.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to being ungracious and unmerciful toward others.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to enjoying comfort and plenty as if I am entitled to them.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess to lustful glances and unclean thoughts.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess my envy and jealousy.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess my impatience and insensitivity.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess my covetousness.
Lord, have mercy.

I confess my hypocrisy.
Lord, have mercy.

Thank you for your promised forgiveness
and the cleansing and restoration that is mine
in Christ Jesus,
amen.

A Prayer of Moses, Adapted

Even if you're not pleased with me,
teach me your ways so I may know you
and continue to find favor with you,
for you are my strength,
my life,
my only hope.

(Based on Exodus 33:13)

Incarnation of Divine Love

Dear Lord, help me keep my eyes on you.
You are the incarnation of Divine Love,
you are the expression of God's infinite compassion,
you are the visible manifestation of the Father's holiness.
You are beauty, goodness, gentless,
forgiveness, and mercy.
In you all can be found.
Outside of you nothing can be found.

Why should I look elsewhere or go elsewhere?
You have the words of eternal life,
you are food and drink,
you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
You are the light that shines in the darkness,
the lamp on the lamp stand,
the house on the hilltop.
You are the perfect Icon of God.
In and through you I can see the Heavenly Father,
and with you I can find my way to him.

O Holy One, Beautiful One, Glorious One,
be my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Guide,
my Consoler, my Comforter, my Hope, my Joy, and my Peace.
To you I want to give all that I am.
Let me be generous, not stingy or hesitant.
Let me give you all--
all I have, think, do and feel.
It is yours, O Lord.
Please accept it and make it fully your own.
Amen.

(a prayer of Henri Nouwen, from A Cry for Mercy)