As the Bunch of Wild Flowers

Blessed Jesus, thou dost receive with favor the smallest sincere token of affection! Thou dost receive our poor forget-me-nots and lovetokens, as though they were intrinsically precious, though indeed they are but as the bunch of wild flowers which the child brings to its mother. We will give thee the first fruits of our increase, and pay thee tithes of all, and then we will confess "of thine own have we given thee."

(a prayer of Charles H. Spurgeon; photo via pixabay.com).

Aubrey

Today, on my favorite daughter's birthday, Lord,
I still can't fathom,
can't even process,
that she is all she is.

How kindly and fully--
generously, in fact--
you have answered my prayers for her
and her mother's prayers for her.
You have made her faithful like Ruth and regal like Esther,  
fierce like Deborah and brilliant like Abigail,
industrious like Lydia and a leader like Junia.

I give you so much praise and thanks
for my only daughter,
my firstborn, my Blossom;
for the child you gave me,
the woman she is,
the love we share,
the pride and joy I feel in her,
the blessings you've given her,
and the blessings you've given me through her.

Please bless her abundantly today
and in all the days to come.
Keep her safe and well.
Keep her marriage strong and beautiful.
Prosper her and her husband,
answer their prayers,
supply their needs,
fulfill their dreams.

Let her children continue to grow in happiness, health, and holiness.
Reward Aubrey's love and faithfulness and diligence as a mom
with beauty and grace, charm and wisdom,
health and wholeness, integrity and strength in each of her children
as you have done for me in mine.

Show her every kindness,
grant her your favor,
use her,
bless her,
hold her,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday Psalm #71

O Lord, I run into your arms;
don’t let me be discouraged.
Save me and rescue me in this low place,
for you do what is right.
Put your ear close to my heart
and hear the murmurs I can’t put into words.
Be my mountain fortress,
my crag of safety.
Command my deliverance,
for you are my Mighty Rescuer.

O God, save me from this recurring depression;
I am so tired of being in the line of fire,
of shouldering the problems of others
(as if mine aren’t enough!).
I’m sick of being second-guessed,
and of others who think they have the answers,
without even seeking to understand the question.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.
You’ve had my heart from childhood.
You’ve guided me from birth;
year after year you have been my shelter.
No wonder I am always praising you!

Make my life an example to many,

an encouragement to others to find strength and protection in you.

Even in my depression, I can’t stop praising you;

I declare your glory with my whole heart, all day long.
Now that I am old, don’t set me aside.

My stamina may be gone, but let my experience count for something.
Answer those who whisper against me.

Defend me against those who think I’m stupid.
Save me from those who nurse resentment against me.

O God, don’t be coy.
My God, please hurry to help me.

Bring disgrace and destruction on my Enemy.

Humiliate and shame him and his divisive plans.
I will keep on hoping for your help;

I will praise you no matter what others do.
I will faithfully tell everyone about your righteousness;
I will preach the Word, season after season.
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.

I will do all I can to lead others to you.

O God, you’ve had my heart from childhood.
I will trust you and follow you for the rest of my days.
Let me proclaim your power to a new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done wonders.
Who can compare with you?

Who can even come close to you?

I know I bring much hardship on myself,
and you let me suffer through it,
but you will restore me to life again 
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.

You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.
Then I will praise you with songs in the sanctuary,
I will lift up your praise in the midst of your people,
I will stand up against every foe,
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God,
you have ransomed me,
and you lift me higher than I have any right to be,
higher than I have any reason to expect.

I Choose Not to Be Busy

Lord, help me to do each day
what I choose today:
I choose not to be busy.
I choose not be hurried or harried.
I choose to trust you to help me get done
all the work you have planned for me to do.
The rest will have to wait.
But I will walk through today in shalom,
with your help, in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Refuge

Blessèd Lord, in you is refuge,
Safety for my trembling soul;
Pow’r to lift my head when drooping
’Midst the angry billows’ roll.
I will trust you;
All my life you shall control.

In the past too unbelieving
’Midst the tempest I have been,
And my heart has slowly trusted
What my eyes have never seen.
Blessèd Jesus,
Teach me on your arm to lean.

Give me trust that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near;
Grant me faith that changes fighting
Into vict’ry’s ringing cheer!
Faith triumphant,
Knowing not defeat nor fear,
amen.

(a prayer of Herbert Booth, slightly revised; photo via pixabay.com)

Monday Prayer


Lord, feed me like Elijah,
raise me up like Lazarus,
restore my soul as you did David's,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday Psalm #70

O God, hasten to deliver me;
O LORD, race to my side.

Let those who seek my harm
be thwarted entirely.
Let every adversary of my soul
be utterly frustrated.
Let those who would gloat over my defeat
be defeated themselves.
But let all who seek you and long for you
and rejoice to see your will accomplished
dance and jump and sing for joy.
Let all who love your salvation
continually say, "Praise God!"

I am lowly in heart. I need you badly.
Run to my side, O God!
You are the help I need, the one who saves me;
O LORD, hurry please.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Like a Tree

Lord, make me like a tree
planted by streams of living water.

Let my roots go down deep into you,
your love and kindness.

Let me grow stronger and taller
and give shade to many,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

O Living Flame of Love

O Living Flame of Love....
How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart
with love.

(a prayer of St. John of the Cross)

To Joyfully Set Out On This New Day

Almighty God,
creator of a good and beautiful world,
may we joyfully set out on this day
in your name,
and fill it with acts of love
for you and our brethren.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Saturday Psalm #69


Save me, O God,
from the rising floodwaters.

Save me from the mud beneath my feet.
I am in over my head,
and I know that only too well.

I will call out to you until I am worn out,
until my tongue cracks
and my throat parches.

i will keep looking to you
until my eyes fail.
What else can I do, Lord?
I have no other hope besides you.

My enemies are numerous;
their attacks seem incessant,
and you know how foolishly
I listen to them and give in to their deceits.

May those who hope in you
not be disgraced because of me,
O Lord, the LORD Almighty;
may those who seek you
not be ashamed because of me,
O God of Israel.

By your grace, I endure
what I endure
for your sake.
I put myself out there
where every man Jack can find fault
and second-guess me.
But I am zealous for your house, Lord,
I love your people,
because I love you.

I weep and fast,
I scratch and claw,
and make myself vulnerable.

That's okay. I pray to you, O LORD,
and count on your favor;
in your unceasing love, O God,
answer me with your mighty deliverance.

Save me from the mud,
do not let my feet slip,
and deliver me from every attack,
and every flash flood of oppression.

Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love;
in your great mercy turn to me.

Turn my face to you,
for you have never turned your face from me,
and I know that only too well.

Come! Rescue me!
Defend me from my foes.
Answer all the scorn, disgrace, and abuse
that may be aimed at me.
Heal every wound,
answer every accusation,
and reverse my discouragement
with your comfort.

Send my Enemy packing, Mighty God.
Tear down every stronghold,
within me and around me.

Let your salvation, O God,
infuse me and protect me.

Let me praise your name in song
and glorify you with grateful living.
Let my living sacrifice please you.
Let the lot of others be improved
because of my offerings to you.

You, LORD, hear my needy cries
and never fail to come to my aid.

Let this whole wide world praise you,
let all Creation resound with your praise,
let my heart pulse with faith,
with the confidence that you save me,
that you will save your people
and establish a place for us,
where we will glorify you
where those who love your name will dwell.
Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

O Beauty So Ancient, and So New

Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, and so new. Late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made — the things which would have no being unless they existed in you! You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness. You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness. You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you. You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace. Amen.

A prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo, from his Confessions

Ruler Yet

Lord,
hard though it may be at times,
I still believe that
"though the wrong
seems oft so strong,
you are the ruler
yet."

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

A Crisis Man

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 and women must turn
one way or another
on facing Christ in me.

(a prayer of Jim Elliot, slightly revised)

Thine Alone

We give Thee but Thine own,
Whate’er the gift may be;
All that we have is Thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from Thee.

(photo via pixabay.com)

For the First Day of Autumn

When I must go, dear God, please let it be
A golden autumn day; when red leaves fall,
When purple grapes in shining clusters hang
And bittersweet glows bright against the wall,

When o'er the barren fields and russet meads
Their last farewells the crickets cry.
Let me make my silent journey
When the homing birds fly south across the sky.

When I must go, dear God, please let me go
As silently as autumn rain,
As still as lacy shadows 'neath the willow trees,
As calm as is the moon above the hill.

So let me go--and may there be no grief
When life is done and I must say goodbye.
I'll take my leave with flowers and falling leaf
And lie in peaceful sleep beneath the sky.

(unattributed)

The Unfolding Seasons

Great Creator,
thank you for the seasons that unfold right outside my windows,
and display your beauty and creativity,
and remind me of your many blessings and provisions.

Thank you for the colors of Fall,
the crisp air and crackling leaves,
the cooling days and Indian Summers.

Thank you for the glistening Winters,
the shimmer of sun on snow and the crack of branches under ice,
for biting winds and welcoming fireplaces.

Thank you for the vibrancy of Spring,
the budding of trees and blooming of flowers,
the return of the birds and smell of the air.

Thank you for the pleasures of Summer,
the bright sunny days and perfect moonlit evenings,
the smells of mowed grass and air thick with rain.

Great Creator, thank you for the seasons of this earth,
and likewise for the seasons of my life,
that teach me one after the other
that you are good.
Amen.

Riches

Thank you, God,
for the gold in the sunflower,
the silver in the stars,
the bronze-colored leaves,
the green of the grass,
riches all mine,
all free,
all from you.
Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #68

Arise, God, and scatter your enemies!
Make all your foes run scared.
Blow them away,
like campfire sparks in a windstorm;
Chase them
like roaches from sudden light.

But make the righteous glad,
and let them skip
and dance
and sing before you;
make them giddy with laughter.

I will sing to you, God,
I will sing praise to your name;
I will boast about you, Cloudrider,
and I will rejoice in your presence, Yahweh,
father to the fatherless,
defender of widows,
Holy One,
family-maker,
adopter of the lonely,
liberator of prisoners.
The rebellious reject you
to their own desiccation.

March out before your people, O God,
march us through this rough terrain,
as you did your people long ago,
when the earth shook,
and the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.

You sent refreshing showers, O God;
you renewed your weary ones.
Your people settled in the land,
and out of your generosity,
out of your plenty, O God,
you provided for the poor.

Do it again, Lord.
Do it for us, please.
Announce your word here in our time,
in our land,
and multiply the company of those who proclaim it.
Rout kings and armies flee;
dump the plunder of the wicked into our laps.
Show your power by prospering your people
even while we sleep!
Just as you scattered the kings of Canaan,
just as you made jealous the mountains of Bashan,
make the powers and institutions of this world
gaze in envy on your people everywhere,
because you are pleased to reign among us,
and with your presence comes your power,
with your working comes mighty wonders,
and great joy,
and vibrancy.

Commission your chariots, God,
twice ten thousand,
even thousands of thousands,
and come to us,
abide with us,
fight for us.

When you ascended on high,
you led captives in your train;
you received gifts from men,
even from the rebellious—
O LORD God, do it again,
among us,
for us,
through us,
in Jesus’ name!

Bear our burdens.
Save!
Deliver from death.
Crush the heads of your enemies,
turn the heads of those who go on in their sins.

Lead us in triumphal procession
day by day, week by week,
and make your praise glorious,
turning paupers into princes,
cripples into athletes,
the dead into living,
the sick into the thriving,

Parade your power, O God,
and show the world around us
just how faithful and generous you can be.

I sing your praise.
I write your praise.
I speak your praise,
Sky-Rider,
Cloud-strider,
Lightning-scribe
and Thunder-composer.

I give you my praise,
my standing ovation,
for all you have done
and all you do.

Show us your beauty again,
your terrible beauty, O God,
your awesome splendor,
like that you wrote in the heavens,
like that you showed to Israel.

Show your power and might
to your people,
such that we will never get over it.
Amen.

(photo via freeimages.com)

I Pray Just for Today

O God,
I find myself at the beginning of another day.
I do not know what it will bring.
Please help me to be ready
for whatever it may be.

If I am to stand up,
help me to stand bravely.
If I am to sit still,
help me to sit quietly.
If I am to lie low,
help me to do it patiently.
If I am to do nothing,
let me do it gallantly.

I pray just for today,
for these twenty-four hours,
for the ability to cooperate with others
according to the way Jesus taught us to live.

"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
May these words that he taught us become more than words.

Please free my thinking and feelings
and the thinking and feelings of others,
from all forms of self-will,
self-centredness,
dishonesty,
and deception.

Along with my brothers and sisters, I need this freedom
to make my choices today according to your desires.

Send your Spirit to inspire us in time of doubt and indecision
so that, together, we can walk along your path. Amen.

(adapted from an unknown source by J. Veltri)

All Creation Sings


Almighty God, Lord of angels and all creation, Who dwell on high yet care for the lowly, Who search the heart and know every hidden thing, eternal and unchanging Light, we trust in Your great mercy to hear the prayers offered from our unclean lips. Forgive the sins we have committed in knowledge or in ignorance, in thought, word, or deed; and cleanse us, body and soul, from every stain. Allow us to pass through the darkness of this present life watchful and alert, always expecting the coming bright day of Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. He shall come in glory to judge all people and reward us according to our deeds. Help us to put away laziness, be full of courage, and be found doing His work ready to enter His glorious kingdom with joy. You are the true light of every creature, and to You all creation sings.

Amen.

(a prayer of St. Basil the Great; photo via pixabay.com)

For Avery

I know you know, Lord, but she turns four today.
"Though she be but little, she is fierce."
And though she be but four, it feels like she has held my heart for much longer.
And though she be but the youngest in the family, I know you have great plans for her.
She's a force of nature, someone to be reckoned with, a waymaker and a world-changer.

Thank you for her health, vivacity, personality, perspicacity, and all the sugar and vinegar with which you've filled her. Make this year the best yet. Give her a wonderful birthday, an amazing party, and please comfort me and Mimi and all those who because of distance have to mark her birthday from afar, in Jesus' name, amen.

New Bookmark

Lord, with your help,
I will let nothing disturb me,
nothing frighten me.
I will remember that this too shall pass,
while you never change;
I will patiently endure,
waiting on your timing and your reward.
Because I have you,
I shall not want.
You alone are enough for me.
Amen.

(A variation on the words of St. Teresa of Avila:
Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Whom God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth).

Faithful Throughout All Generations

You, Lord, through your works
have revealed the everlasting structure of the world.
You, Lord, created the earth.
You are faithful throughout all generations,
righteous in your judgments,
marvelous in strength and majesty,
wise in creating and prudent in establishing what exists,
good in all that is observed
and faithful to those who trust in you,
merciful and compassionate;
forgive us our sins and our injustices,
our transgressions and our shortcomings.

Do not take into account every sin of your servants,
but cleanse us with the cleansing of your truth,
and "direct our steps to walk in holiness and righteousness and purity of heart,"
and "to do what is good and pleasing in your sight"
and in the sight of our rulers.
Yes, Lord, "let your face shine upon us" in peace "for our good,"
that we may be sheltered "by your mighty hand"
and delivered from every sin "by your uplifted arm";
deliver us as well from those who hate us unjustly.

Give harmony and peace to us and to all who dwell on the earth,
just as you did to our fathers
when they reverently "called upon you in faith and trust,"
that we may be saved,
while we render obedience to your almighty and most excellent name,
and give harmony and peace to our rulers and governors on earth. Amen.

(a prayer of Clement)

Saturday Psalm #67

God, be gracious to us
and bless us
and make your face shine upon us;
let us be an example,
an advertisement
of your ways on earth,
your saving ways among all people.

I praise you, O God;
may all the people around me praise you.

May the nations be intoxicated
with the joy that follows
your just rule
and faithful shepherding.

I praise you, O God;
may all the people around me praise you.

Let our efforts
yield a bountiful crop,
a harvest of souls discovering.
loving
and praising you,
and enjoying your blessings.

Bless us God,
and let every corner of the earth
resonate with reverence and praise for you.
Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Without Haste and Without Sloth

Refresh us, O God,
with the vision of thy Being and Beauty,
that in the joy of thy strength
we may work without haste and without sloth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(a prayer by N. C. Sherwood in The Road; photo via pixabay.com)

Nothing Apart

Lord, I give you my all.
Again. Still.
I know I can do nothing apart from you.
I beg you even for the will to beg you;
I rely on you even for the ability to rely on you.
All my help comes from you,
my Maker,
Friend,
Refuge,
and Strength.
Amen.

To Hallow Every Deed

O God, if still the holy place
Is found of those in prayer,
By all the promises of grace
I claim an entrance there.
Give me a self-denying soul,
Enlarged and unconfined;
Abide within me, and control
The wanderings of the mind.
Give me the strength of faith that dares
To die to self each day,
That bravely takes the cross, nor cares
To find an easier way.
Help me to make more sacrifice,
To walk where Christ would lead,
That in my life He may arise
To hallow every deed.

(a prayer of General Albert Orsborn)

All Our Work and Toil

O God, creator of the world,
of sun and moon and stars,
you chose to fashion us, your own,
your handiwork of love.

Indeed, we are your hands’ own work
and yet into our hands
you give the care
of every living thing.

In more ways than we can count
our work builds up
or tears apart what came
as gift from you.

Keep us faithful in preserving
all you’ve given
lest we harm the smallest part
of all you’ve made.

Give us good and honest work to do
and rest at each day’s end.
Let a fair and good day’s wage be paid
for a good day’s work well done.

Give us work that nurtures and sustains
the ones who serve and those they serve.
Let those who labor work in peace,
in freedom, without fear.

Give those in need a job to do
and to the tired well earned rest.
Let all our work and toil, Lord,
give glory to your name.

Amen.

(from A Concord Pastor Comments)

Saturday Psalm #66

I shout with joy to you God!
I sing the glory of your name;
I praise you, I give you glory.

I say to you, "How awesome are your deeds!
Your power is so complete
that your enemies cower in fear,
and all the earth bows down to you;
the darling buds of Spring give a wave offering,
and early robins and cardinals
sing praise to your name.

You have done great things, Lord,
you have worked wonders on my behalf.

You made the churning waves solid
beneath my feet.
You restored to me
the joy of your salvation.

You rule in might,
and the more so when I am made aware of
my weakness,
my utter inadequacy.
You show yourself sufficient over and over again.

I praise you, God,
My heart and my lips resound with praise for you;
you have preserved my life
and kept my feet from slipping.

You allowed this time of testing,
and your refining fire made me still stronger.

I am your love slave, your prisoner,
and yet I complained of the burdens I carry.
But no more.
You have lifted my head,
you have brought me through fire and water,
you have once more opened a verdant vista
to my eyes.

I renew my covenant with you,
and fulfill my vows to you,
those vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was young and ignorant.

But now I am older and wiser,
and I still bring my offering to you,
my pittance,
but my best,
and my all.

I will stop my complaining, with your help,
and focus on telling others what you've done for me.
I will pour out my petitions
and my praise
in your presence.

Despite my sinful, selfish ways,
you have once more listened
and heard my voice in prayer.

Praise to you, God,
for not rejecting my prayer
or withholding your love from me!

(photo via pixabay.com

Gentle Rain

Almighty God,
my King,
let me feel
the warmth of your smile
on all I do today;
let your favor refresh my heart
like a gentle rain.
Amen.

For Small, Homely Things

For the beauty of small, homely things:
Sunlight through a jar of beach-plum jelly...
A rainbow in soapsuds in dishwater...
An eggyolk in a blue bowl...
White ruffled curtains sifting moonlight...
The color of cranberry glass...
A little cottage with blue shutters...
Crimson roses in an old stone crock...
The smell of newly baked bread...
Candlelight on old brass...
The soft brown of a cocker spaniel's eyes...
Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on lines from Peter Marshall; photo via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #65

Praise is waiting here for you, O God;
I will fulfill my vows to you, Most Worthy King,
hearer of my prayers,
drawer of all men.

When I was overwhelmed by sins,
you willingly and readily and completely
forgave all my transgressions.

How blessed you have made me,
to call me to your service
and allow me to live in your courts!
I am filled with the bounty of your house,
the beauty of your holy temple.

You answer my prayers with works of awe-inspiring righteousness,
O God my Savior,
the hope of all people
from all tribes and tongues and nations,
who formed the Himalayas by your power,
and display your strength
in the roar of the Atlantic,
the vastness of the Pacific,
and the icecaps of the Poles.

From east to west, north to south,
you are to be honored,
and your wonders praised;
from morning's dawns to evening's dusk
you deserve full-throated songs of worship.

You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
You cause snows to fall
and streams to fill;
you water the fields
and provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.

You drench the furrows of the field
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and remind us, whether we are farmers
or builders
or painters
or travelers
or writers,
that you still call the shots...
we are always, constantly in need of your favor.

You bring forth a harvest every year,
and in your sovereign love and wisdom
you supply our needs
and drape our landscape
with an ever-changing garment of provision,
and cause the meadows and valleys
to shout for joy and sing. Amen.

Run

Lord, help me to run this race with perseverance, keeping my eyes on you until I finish, in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Completely

Lord, I would trust Thee completely; I would be altogether Thine; I would exalt Thee above all.

I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee.

I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing Presence and to hear Thy speaking Voice.

I long to live in restful sincerity of heart.

I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thought may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship.

Therefore I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, “I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.”

And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.

(a prayer by A.W Tozer in The Pursuit of God; photo via pixabay.com)

My Faith Looks Up

















My faith looks up to Thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior Divine;
Now hear me while I pray;
Take all my guilt away;
Oh, let me from this day
Be wholly Thine.

May Thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire;
As Thou hast died for me,
Oh, may my love to Thee
Pure, warm, and changeless be,
A living fire.

While life’s dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread,
Be Thou my Guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow’s tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From Thee aside.

All thru life’s transient dream,
Until death’s sullen stream
Shall o’er me roll,
Blest Savior, with Thy love,
Fear and distrust remove;
Make me Thy grace to prove
Transform my soul.

(hymn by Ray Palmer, photo via pixabay.com)