Saturday Psalm #14

I am not the smartest person there is—
I’m not even the smartest person I know—
But I am smart enough to see the foolishness
of those who deny you, Lord,
of those who are corrupt and vile
and dismissive of you. 
You see it all.
You look from sunrise to sunset
for a speck of righteousness,
for a hint of holiness on this great wide earth.
You look to me, too, I know,
and see that I am as ruined by sin as the next guy.
We all are.
I have no claim on grace.
I have no place to stand.
Only to kneel.
And as I do, I find you there.
You separate yourself from evildoers
but show up in the company of the humble and broken.
You call them righteous.
You are my refuge.
My only hope.
My only good.
Send your salvation to me again, still.
Restore.
Refresh.
Amen.

O Most Sublime

O most sublime,
O most gracious,
O first thinker,
O first speaker,
O from everlasting to everlasting,
O mighty defender,
O strength giver,
O lover of souls,
O captain of hosts,
O kinsman redeemer,
O hearer of prayers,
O gentle shepherd,
O twister of oaks,
O lifter of my head,
O lily of the valley,
O rose of sharon,
O king of angels,
O great and awesome,
O suffering servant,
O willing sacrifice,
O name above all names,
the humblest you created
sings your praise,
Amen.

(suggested by a prayer of Mechtid of Magdeburg)

O Creator of All

O creator of all,
O ancient of days,
O garden walker,
O night wrestler,
O consuming fire,
O sea splitter,
O mountain thunderer,
O gentle whisperer,
O song giver,
O holiest in the height,
O water walker,
O heart healer,
O dead raiser,
O sin forgiver,
O beauty beyond description,
O glory of the humble,
O strength of the weak,
O hope of the hopeless and Father of the fatherless,
O coming King,
the humblest you created
sings your praise,
Amen.

(suggested by a prayer of Mechtid of Magdeburg)

Spring Canticle

Sun and cloud, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord.
Flower and weed, bless the Lord.
Breeze and bird, bless the Lord.
Mist and meadow, bless the Lord.
Sunrise and sunset, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord.

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)

Apple of Your Eye

Keep her
as the apple
of your eye
and hide her
under the shadow
of your wing,
in Jesus' name,
amen.

(based on Psalm 17:8)

Shelter Me

On My Son's Birthday

Oh, Lord, my God,
gone are the days 
when my little boy 
could climb into my lap 
and melt my heart with a smile. 
Gone are the nights 
when I could read him a book 
and smile with joy 
at his plea for more. 

But oh, what a son he still is today.
Oh, how you've blessed me,
not only with a boy,
but with such a son,
and such a husband,
and such a father,
and such a friend as he is.

And though I know it is selfish
to ask more when you have given so much already,
I ask.
Lord, I ask.

Please make his every dream
come true.
Please.

Make him like Enoch, who walked with you.
Make him like Noah, who found grace in your sight.
Make him like Abraham, who walked by faith.
Make him like Joseph, a dreamer and doer.
Make him like Moses, who walked on holy ground.
Make him like his namesake Aaron, who led your people into your presence.

Make him like Caleb and Joshua, who saw with eyes of faith.
Make him like Elijah, who received food from your hand.
Make him like Elisha, who was given a double portion.
Make him like David, who danced before you, a man after your own heart.
Make him like Jehoshaphat, who trusted in you.
Make him like Hosea, who forgave largely.

Make him like John, a beloved disciple.
Make him like Barnabas, a mentor and encourager.
Make him more than anything, like Jesus, lover of souls.

Bless him, Lord, on his birthday,
and every day to come,
as you have so blessed me with him,
in Jesus' name, amen.


The Lorica

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is the famous prayer attributed to St. Patrick, called The Lorica, or Breastplate of St. Patrick: 

Today I put on
a terrible strength
invoking the Trinity
confessing the Three
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker. 
Today I put on the power
of Christ's birth and baptism,
of his hanging and burial,
His resurrection, ascension,
and descent at the Judgement. 
Today I put on the power
of the order of the Cherubim,
angels' obedience,
archangels' attendance,
in hope of ascending
to my reward;
patriarchs' prayers,
prophets' predictions,
apostles precepts,
confessors' testimony,
holy virgins' innocence
and the deeds of true men. 
Today I put on
the power of Heaven,
the light of the Sun,
the radiance of the Moon,
the splendour of fire,
the fierceness of lightning,
the swiftness of wind,
the depth of the sea,
the firmness of earth
and the hardness of rock. 
Today I put on
God's strenghth to steer me,
God's power to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye for my vision,
God's ear for my hearing,
God's word for my speech,
God's hand to protect me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield for my shelter,
God's angels to guard me
from ambush of devils,
from vice's allurements,
from traps of the flesh,
from all who wish ill,
whether distant or close,
alone or in hosts. 
I summon these powers today
to take my part against every implacable power
that attacks my body and soul,
the chants of false prophets,
dark laws of the pagans,
false heretics' laws,
entrapments of idols,
enchantments of women
or smiths or druids,
and all knowledge that poisons
man's body or soul. 
Christ guard me today
from poison, from burning,
from drowning, from hurt,
that I have my reward.

Christ beside me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me.
Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie,
Christ where I sit,
Christ where I rise.
Christ in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouths of all who speak to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. 
Today I put on
a terrible strength,
invoking the Trinity,
confessing the Three,
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker.
(photo via everystockphoto.com)

Ragamuffin Prayer

Grazie, Signore...
for judging me
not by my shabby good deeds
but by Your love
that is Your gift to me,
for Your unbearable forgiveness
and infinite patience with me,
for other people
who have greater gifts than mine,
and for the honesty
to acknowledge
that I am
a ragamuffin.

(Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 121; photo by BenedictFrancis via everystockphoto.com).

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; photo via everystockphoto.com)

For Their Purity of Heart


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 #13

O Lord, sometimes it feels as though you've forgotten me.
I know you haven't. Have you?
I know you never let me out of your sight. Right?

I just have these times.
Moments of anguish in my heart and mind.
Times when I let myself dwell on those who've wronged me.
Sometimes I even go there willingly,
as if it will do me any good to argue my case again,
though it is only inside my own head,
and mainly a futile attempt to answer my Accuser.

Turn to me, O Lord my God!
Help me!
Remove the weight from my mind
and the film from my eyes.

Evict those unhealthy and unwelcome voices from my mind.
Teach me not to give place to them.
Focus my mind, heart, and attention on your unfailing love for me,
on the joy that is mine because you are mine.

Give me a song,
and let me sing of your goodness all day long.
Amen.

Good Beyond All That Is Good

O God the Father, Origin of divinity,
good beyond all that is good,
fair beyond all that is fair,
in whom is calmness, peace, and concord;
make up the dissensions
which divide us from each other,
and bring us back into a unity of love,
which may bear some likeness to your divine nature.

And as you are above all things,
make us one by the unanimity of a good mind,
that through the embrace of charity
and the bonds of affection,
we may be spiritually one,
as well in ourselves as in each other;
through that peace of yours
that makes all things peaceful,
and through the grace, mercy, and tenderness
of your Son, Jesus Christ, amen.

(A prayer of Dionysius the Great, A.D. 190-265)

Rise

I rise this day,
in the love of the Father.
I rise this day,
with the mind of Christ.
I rise this day,
in the Spirit's power.
I rise this day,
in the blessings of God.

(from the DesertPastor blog)

Earth-Maker

Earth-maker,
Star-spinner,
Life-breather,
Dream-speaker,
Bush-burner,
Sea-splitter,
Wound-healer,
Grace-giver,
make me please
a little
more like you.
Amen.

(photo by Noah Bulgaria via everystockphoto.com)

A Penitent's Prayer

Kneeling in penitence I make my prayer,
Owning my weaknesses and my despair;
Failure I cannot hide,
Broken my selfish pride,
Pardon thou dost provide,
Pardon declare.

Nothing can I achieve, nothing attain;
He that without thee builds, labors in vain;
Shatter my own design,
Shaping a plan divine,
Come to this heart of mine,
Saviour, again.

Though few the gifts I have that thou canst use,
Make thy demands on me; I'll not refuse;
Take all there is of me,
Take what I hope to be;
Thy way at last I see,
Thy way I choose.

(a lyric by The Salvation Army's General John Gowans)

Integrity and Honesty

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


(Please feel free to share this prayer with others using the Twitter, Facebook, and other buttons below. You can also subscribe to this blog in your blog reader or enter your email address at top right to receive posts via email)

A Shakespearean Sonnet Turned Into a Prayer by Two Small Changes

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on Thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For Thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

(Sonnet 29, by William Shakespeare; photo via everystockphoto.com)

Wild

God, give room in my life for good things to run wild.

(based on words by G. K. Chesterton; photo by Capture Queen™ via everystockphoto.com)

Marked

Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
halfway back to committees and memos,
halfway back to calls and appointments,
halfway on to next Sunday,
halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
half turned toward you, half rather not.

This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
of failed hope and broken promises,
of forgotten children and frightened women,
we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.

We are able to ponder our ashness with
some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

(from Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann)