Be Our Help and Succor

We beseech Thee, Lord and Master, to be our help and succor. Save those among us who are in tribulation; have mercy on the lowly; lift up the fallen; show Thyself unto the needy; heal the ungodly; convert the wanderers of Thy people; feed the hungry; release our prisoners; raise up the weak; comfort the fainthearted. Let all the Gentiles know that Thou art the God alone, and Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture.

(1 Clement 59:4, tr. Lightfoot; photo via everystockphoto.com).

Your Zeal

Jesus, I fain would find,
Your zeal for God in me,
Your yearning pity for mankind,
Your burning charity.

In me your Spirit dwell,
In me your mercies move,
So shall the fervor of my zeal
Be the pure flame of love.

(a hymn by Charles Wesley; photo by John Hughes via everystockphoto.com)

Lamb of God

Saturday Psalm #23

Lord, you are my shepherd;
in your hand is everything I need:
you give me rest in lush green meadows,
you lead me beside gently flowing streams,
you renew my strength,
and lead me along good paths—
all of which reinforces your reputation as a good shepherd.

So, even if I must walk through the darkest valley,
where danger and death surrounds me,
I will not be afraid,
as long as you are right next to me,
because I know your rod and your staff
will protect and comfort me.

Lord, you bless me bountifully
in the very presence of my enemies.
You treat me like a guest—a king, even!—
anointing my head with oil.
And you keep pouring out blessings, though my cup overflows.

I know this: your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in your house, Lord, forever.

(photo by Kevin Walsh, via everystockphoto.com)

Fill Them With Joy

Today's prayer (which I pray for my kids and my grandkids) in the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app, available for iPads and iPhones.

In You Do I Trust

In you, O Lord, do I put my trust.
Not in myself,
not in my own righteousness (which is filthy rags),
not in my own obedience (for I am a sinner, and when I do obey you, it is all of you),
not in my service,
not in my gifts,
not in my sense of my own spirituality,
but in you alone. I trust you.

Into your hands I commend my spirit, O Lord, O God of truth;
please keep me as the apple of your eye and hide me under the shadow of your wing, in Jesus' name, amen.

Kevlar

God, you are my defender,
my armor,
my coat of Kevlar,
my tower,
my help,
my rescuer,
my Marines,
my cavalry,
my Dread Warrior,
Captain, my Captain,
my mountain of strength,
my miracle at the eleventh hour. Amen.

For Kindness In Them

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad:

Saturday Psalm #22

My God, my God,
how can you let me feel forsaken?
You seem so distant,
so far from the words of my groaning.
My God, I call to you by day,
but hear nothing back from you.
I call at night;
I am not silent…why are you?

Holy One, high and lifted up,
you sit enthroned on the praises of your people.
My ancestors trusted you;
they leaned on you, and you saved them.
They cried out for your help
and you bent down
and scooped them up in your arms.
They threw themselves on your care,
and were not disappointed.

But I am brought low, like a worm crawling in the dust.
People say untrue things behind my back.
They even lie to my face.
They attribute their ‘stuff’ to me.
They’re probably thinking, “I can’t wait
to see you get your comeuppance.
When you fall on your face,
we’ll all know that God wasn’t with you in the first place.”

But you have been with me from birth, Lord.
You’ve graced me with your presence
since my diaper days.
And I have leaned on you since before I can remember;
you have been my God from birth.
So don't abandon me now,
when trouble surrounds me
and I feel all alone.
You see them, Father, those around me who wish me evil,
who snap and snipe at me like rabid dogs,
and like predators
wait for an opportunity to attack.
I don’t have the strength to fight back;
my blood feels water-thin,
and my old bones are weary.
My heart just isn’t in it,
it feels like all the fight has gone out of me.
I have no desire to defend myself anymore,
and no words to turn back their hatred.
I lie down: let them bury me.
All those who hate me surround me,
like dogs, they are relentless,
nipping at my ankles,
they’ll never be satisfied or turned away.

So, Lord, come.
You are my strength, you’re all I’ve got; hurry to help me.
Save me from their long knives;
save me from their growling and grumbling.
Rescue me from their lion's teeth;
save me from their longhorns.

All I want to do is tell others about you;
I just want to speak your good news.
I want to praise you, Lord, with those who revere you,
and actually honor you by taking you at your word
and doing what you say.
You will not ignore my troubles.
You will not hide from me
but will hear me when I whine and cry and sob to you.
Lord, I praise you in the company of your people;
your true worshipers will see me do what I have promised.
Let the poor eat their fill;
let your true worshipers praise you.
May their hearts forever beat your praises!
Let people everywhere remember
and turn to you, Lord.
Let all the families of the world
worship you
because you are King,
and you rule the nations.

Let weak and strong all feast and worship you together.
Let everyone bow down to you,
every mortal soul.
Preserve your praise among future generations,
and let my children’s children hear of you.
Let them proclaim your righteousness
to their children, not yet born,
for everything you do is worth telling.

For Calleigh

Heavenly Father it was through your power that we were created. Every breath we take, every morning we wake, every moment of every day we live under your power. Father, we ask you now to touch Calleigh with that same power. Cast out anything that shouldn't be in her. Let the warmth of your healing love pass thorough her body to make new any unhealthy areas so that they function the way you created them to function. Restore her to full health so she may serve you all the days of her life. In the precious name of Jesus we pray, amen.

(a prayer of my friend, Charles Kerr, posted on Facebook yesterday)

The Beauties of Nature

Lord, grant that by the blessed Spirit we may always be sensitive of the presence of God wherever we are. Yours are the beauties of nature, Yours the sunshine which is bringing on the harvest, Yours the perfume which loads the air from multitudes of flowers, Yours the insects which glitter around us like living gems.

(a prayer of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, slightly revised; photo via everystockphoto.com)

A Prayer from Ravensbruck

O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering--our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgment, let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.

(a prayer found by a Russian soldier on May 17, 1945, pinned to a child's body in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, in northern Germany; photo by copelaes via everystockphoto.com)

Saturday Psalm #21

I will rejoice in your strength, O Lord;
and oh, how greatly do I rejoice in your salvation!
You have given me my heart's desire,
and have not withheld anything good from me.
You have blessed me with all sorts of good things;
you treat me like a prince—which is what I am in your eyes!

I asked you to save my life, and you did;
even giving me long life.
I exult when you win the victory,
and you robe me and garland me like a champion.
You have given me eternal and temporal blessings,
and I am happiest when I feel your presence and sense your smile.
because I trust in you, Lord,
and because of that I will not be swayed or tripped up or turned aside.

You will triumph over all your enemies;
your strong right hand will crush all who oppose you.
You will destroy them in flaming fire when you appear,
they will be engulfed in your wrath, and consumed by your judgment fires.
You will castrate evil
and stop it from reproducing on earth.
Those who plot against you will be foiled,
and their malicious schemes will finally be frustrated.
They will run for shelter and find none
when you aim your arrows at them and call them to account.

I praise you, Lord, for all your glorious power;
I celebrate your mighty works with words and music.

Water

Thank you, Lord, for water--clean, cold, plentiful. Amen.

You Rejoice Over Me

God, it's no wonder to me that you rejoice in yourself, in your perfection, because you are perfect, and utterly praiseworthy.

But to believe that you rejoice in me--not in the abstract "me," the "work of your hands," the vessel of clay, the "very good" humanity that I share with all humankind; but the "me" me, the proud, lazy, gluttonous, greedy, lustful, jealous, faithless me, the all-too-fallen me (though redeemed by your Son)--that's almost too much to believe.

But you do rejoice in me. You rejoice over me with singing. You dance over me. Because of your Son, yes, but nonetheless, this is me we're talking about. It's too wonderful for me. You are too wonderful for me. But I thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

The Mountains Will Sing

So shall my word be
that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty,
but it will accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field
shall clap their hands (Isa. 55:11-12).

Gracious Father, you know how much I love mountains of all shapes and sizes. There's just something about mountains that causes my heart to feel the greatness of your glory and grace--the weightiness of your majesty and the endlessness of your mercy. What a Creator! What a creation!

I guess it started with Boy Scout trips to the hills of western North Carolina, then on to exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains around Boone and Banner Elk, North Carolina. And I'll never forget my first sighting of the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado--the shimmering aspen leaves against the rich blue of a humidity- and haze-free fall skyline!

But then there was the day I stepped off the train in the village of Interlaken, Switzerland, and got hammered with the holy wonder of three Alps: the Eiger, the Mönch, and the Jungfrau. I can still see, smell, feel, and taste the sensual overload of that day. Indeed, Father, the works of your hands declare your glory, loud and clear. How can I keep from singing your praise?

But, Father, these words of Isaiah envision a day when the mountains themselves will burst into song--the new song of the new creation. Though your glory is clearly revealed in the beauty of your creation, it is revealed ten thousand times more in the redemption that you freely give us in Jesus. Jesus is the Alps of your mercy, grace, and love for us!

Because of Jesus, we, your redeemed people, will go out in joy and be led forth into peace, into shalom--the perfect order, society, environment, and world of the new heaven and new earth. You have spoken, you have promised, and so shall it be! Your Word will accomplish everything you decree and all your delights. With great hope we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

(a prayer of Scotty Smith, from his book, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith;' photo by Tamlyn Rhodes via everystockphoto.com ).

To Be Marked by Prayerfulness

Today's prayer from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad...and my prayer today for my kids and my grandkids.

A Prayer of Christina Rossetti

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.

(a prayer of Christina Rossetti)

Saturday Psalm #20

In times of trouble, LORD, respond to my cry.
God of Israel, keep me safe from all harm.
Send me help from your sanctuary
and strengthen me from Jerusalem.
Lord, remember all my gifts
and look favorably on the offerings I bring.

Lord, grant your heart's desire for me
and fulfill all your plans for me.
May I scream for joy and shout your praise
when you grant me victory;
let me fly banners to honor you, my God,
for you, LORD, answer all my prayers.

I know, LORD, that you save all who call on you.
You answer from your holy heaven
and rescue by your great power.
Some boast of their own great power and ability,
but I will boast in you, my LORD and my God.
Those who trust in themselves will fall down and collapse,
but I will rise up and stand firm because I trust in you.

Give victory, O LORD!
Respond to my cry for help.

Responsibility

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad (available exclusively on iTunes):

Come, King of Grace

Come, King of Grace, and fill me with your grace in this life, just as you will fill me in heaven with your eternal glory. Reign over me in the gracious kingdom of your Holy Spirit; yes, prepare your kingdom in me, which is justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Enlighten my heart, rule my life, and sanctify my thoughts so that they all may be reverent and pleasing to you. Surround me with your grace, that I may never be removed from it.

Come to me, Holy Trinity! Make me your dwelling and your temple. Spark in me the light of your knowledge, faith, hope, humility, patience, prayer, perseverance, and reverence. Amen.

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

Let Me Learn by Paradox

Let me learn by paradox:
-that the way down is the way up
-that to be low is to be high
-that the broken heart is the healed heart
-that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit
-that the repenting soul is the victorious soul
-that to have nothing is to possess all
-that to bear the cross is to wear the crown
-that to give is to receive
-that the valley is the place of vision.

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

In My Behavior




Deliver me from timidity of spirit and from storminess...
from all heedlessness in my behavior, deliver me, Oh Lord.

(a prayer of Gertrude the Great)

Saturday Psalm #19



















The dome of heaven declares your glory, God;
the spangled sky displays your handiwork.
Day after day they speak of you,
and nightly they show knowledge of you like a canvas revealing the artist.
Without speech or language,
without an audible voice,
they publish your praise through all the earth,
and silently shout your glory to the end of the world.

You have made the sky to house the sun,
which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and daily springs up like an athlete ready to run a race.
You send it forth every morning from the eastern horizon,
until it sinks in the western sky,
giving light and heat to everything in its path.

As the sun, so your law, O Lord: it is perfect,
giving strength to the soul:
the testimony of your Word, Lord, is sure,
making wise the simple.
Your statutes are right,
rejoicing the heart:
your commandments are pure,
enlightening the eyes.
Respect for you, Lord, is pure;
let it last for ever in my heart:
your judgments are true
and righteous altogether.

Your Word is more desirable than gold,
far more valuable than a Ft. Knox of fine gold:
your words are sweeter than honey
and tastier than the drippings from a honeycomb.
They steer me away from danger:
in keeping them there is great reward.

Lord, even your “errors” are too sophisticated for me;
let your Word convict and cleanse me from my most secret faults.
Keep me from presumption;
break the power of pride in my life;
make me upright
and keep me innocent in your sight.

Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord,
my strength, and my redeemer, amen.

(from Psalm 19; photo by foodmenu via everystockphoto.com)

On the Lovely Robin's Birthday

Abba, you have granted me the loveliest bride, the perfect woman for me,
and I am grateful.
Thank you for hearing my heart's cry 43 years ago
and thank you for giving her in marriage to me 40 years ago.
And thank you for every day with her since then,
days that could not have been
so wonderful,
so beautiful,
so warm and loving,
without her,
in Jesus' name, amen.

How Wide is My Vista

Lord, how wide is my vista now. I am free to eat of every tree in the garden, so to speak. I am not impeded by dividing lines but can fellowship and worship and learn from and enjoy Thomas Merton (Catholic), A. W. Tozer (CMA), Henri Nouwen (Catholic), John Bevere (charismatic), Andrew Murray (Dutch Reformed), Charles Swindoll (EV Free, nondenominational), Samuel Logan Brengle (Salvation Army), Max Lucado (Church of Christ), and so many others. How blessed I have been through Episcopalian podcasts, and Catholic monasteries, and Methodist chapels, Baptist baptistries, and Church of God in Christ T.V. preachers, and so much more. How beautiful is the whole Body of Christ to me!

A Prayer for Faith

Lord, save me from trusting
in myself,
in my ideas,
in my ingenuity.
Give me the gift of faith in you,
your ideas,
your ingenuity,
your voice,
your power,
your words, in Jesus' name, amen.

I Should Be Farther Along

Abba Father, sometimes I may feel discouraged to have reached this place in life and wonder that I haven't arrived to greater maturity and faith. Sometimes I feel I should be farther along in my walk with You than I am. When I think this way, You always encourage me to remember that You are the One who is working in me for Your pleasure and good will. It is You who began this work in me and You will continue this work until Jesus returns or I go to be with you. Until that day, my prayer is that I grow in love and the knowledge and understanding of Your love. Help me and strengthen me to walk in what I know, as I trust Your grace and mercy to see me to completion. Amen.

(from the Daily Prayer blog)

Saturday Psalm #18

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,
my God, my mountain in whom I take refuge,
my shield, my great salvation,
my stronghold.
I praise you, Lord, how I praise you!
I called on you, and I was saved from my enemies.

I was ensnared in the ropes of death.
Sin surrounded me, enveloped me,
like a yawning grave sucking me in.
The Enemy had me in his clutches.

I called on you in my distress.
I cried to you, God, for help.
You heard my voice from your heavenly sanctuary
and my cry for help reached your ears.

Like a horsed warrior, you came to my rescue,
shaking and quaking the earth
until the very foundations of the mountains trembled,
shaking violently at your approach.
Smoke from your nostrils,
and a raging fire from your mouth,
you have done it again and again:
splitting the heavens,
breaking through the clouds,
riding with angel escorts,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
making the darkness your servant
and the thunderheads your covering.
From the brightness of your presence
rain clouds disperse with hailstones and lightning.
You thunder in the heavens.
You, Most High, make your voice heard with hailstones and lightning.
You shoot your arrows and scattered your enemies
flashing streaks of lightning and throwing them into confusion.
You rolled back the waters until the ocean floor could be seen.
You laid bare the foundations of the earth with a stern word, O Lord,
and a blast of breath from your nostrils.

How can I ever doubt your power?
How is it that I ever become discouraged and feel downtrodden?

You reached down from high above and took hold of me.
You pulled me out of foaming water.
You’ve rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
though they were too strong for me,
they were no match for you!
I faced disaster and humiliation,
but you came to my defense, Lord.
You brought me out to a wide-open place.
You rescued me and smiled on me.

You have rewarded me
because of my righteousness in Christ,
because my hands are clean because of him.
You defend me
because I love you …and you love me.
It is by grace alone that I have not wickedly turned away from you, my God,
it is by grace that I have not turned away from you laws.
I am innocent and blameless in your eyes,
I have kept myself from guilt through your Son, Jesus,
and you reward me
because of my righteousness in Christ,
because my hands are clean because of him.

I am hardly faithful, but you have been faithful to me;
I am hardly blameless, but you have been utterly righteous in your dealings with me
and pure toward me who have been impure,
and thoroughly clever in overcoming my own deviousness.

You save humble people, Lord,
but you bring down the haughty.
O Lord, you light my lamp.
You turn my darkness into light.
With you I can advance against a battalion.
With you as my strength I can leap over a wall.

Your way is perfect!
Your promises have proven to be true.
You are a shield to all who take refuge in you.
Who is God but you, Lord?
Who is a rock except our God?
You arm me with strength
and make my way perfect.
You make my feet like those of a gazelle
and give me sure footing on high places.
You train my hands for battle
so that my arms can bend a bronze bow.
You have given me the shield of your salvation.
Your right hand supports me.
Your gentleness makes me great.
You make a wide path for me to walk on
so that my feet do not slip.
Oh, Lord, help me to chase my enemies and overtake them.
Help me to persevere until I have routed them,
wounded them so badly that they cannot get up.
Help me mow them down.
Arm me with strength for battle.
Make my enemies quail in fear
and turn their backs and run, crying out for help, but finding no one to save them.

Lord, save me from my tendency to shrink from conflict,
but help me to be courageous and compassionate;
rescue me in every conflict.
Make me a better leader.
Give me more true servants,
thick-skinned and selfless.

The Lord lives!
Thanks be to my rock!
May God my Savior be honored.
You vindicate me, Adonai!
Bring good people under my authority.
Save me from my enemies.
Lift me up above my opponents.
Rescue me from violent people.
That I may continue to give thanks to you, O Lord, among the nations
and make music to praise your name.
Give great victories to your church, to your servant,
and show mercy to those who are active in your service,
to all who serve in the spirit of David, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

My Prickly Soul

Lord, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
Lord, help my little faith (Matthew 14:31).
Lord, help my tunnel vision (Mark 8:18).
Lord, help my stubborn heart (Psalm 81:12).
Lord, help my dull hearing (Hebrews 5:11).
Lord, help my prickly soul,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Self-Control

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad:

On This Independence Day

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 241st birthday of this nation,
these wonderful United States of America
in which I live.

I thank you for the freedom
to worship you publicly...
even as I ask you
to show kindness and mercy
to those who lack that freedom
because they live elsewhere.

Thank you for all those
who have sacrificed for my freedom,
for those who risked
(and some who gave) their lives
to make this a free and independent nation,
for those in my nation's armed services, past and present,
and for all who have served the cause of liberty in other ways...
even as I pray for those who even now
are in harm's way,
far from home,
in this nation's service.
Please meet their needs,
watch over them and their loved ones,
and grant them your favor in every way.

And, Father, on this Independence Day 2017,
I pray for the people in this land
and every land
who have not yet discovered the freedom
that is offered to them in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Draw them to you,
set them free
from sin and sadness and strife,
and grant them the eternal freedom
that is found only in trusting you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo art by Beverly Pack, courtesy of everystockphoto.com)

Amanuensis

Lord, make me your amanuensis.
Your scribe. Your secretary.
Think aloud to me,
slowly and simply enough
that I can transcribe
the things you want to say
to me,
through me.
Tune the ears of my heart,
train my fingers to flow,
my muscles to move,
at the slightest inflection of your voice,
the tiniest trace of meaning
from your mind.
Amen.

For the Virtue of Gratitude

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad.

Lunch

Gracious God,
thanks for having lunch with me.
I'm anxious and waiting
to hear from you.
Something good.
I'm all ears.
Amen.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)