Fullness of Joy


All to All

Helper of the helpless,
Hope of the homeless,
The Strength of those tossed with tempests,
The Haven of those who sail:
Be all to all.

Be within us, to strengthen us;
without us, to keep us;
above us, to inspire us;
beneath us, to uphold us;
before us, to direct us;
behind us , to propel us;
around us, to sustain us.
Be all to all in present need.

(a prayer of Lancelot Andrewes, from Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotionsphoto via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #63

O God, you are my God,
I seek you hungrily;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body craves you,
in a dry and weary land
parched and cracked for lack of water.

I have beheld you in worship;
I have tasted your power and your glory.
I know how satisfying your love is--
better than life, in fact,
and for that I will speak up and praise you.

I will praise you for the rest of my life,
and I will worship you unreservedly.

You surfeit my soul;
how can I not praise you with the songs of my heart?
How can I not call out to you from my bed?
How can I not turn to you as I close my eyes in sleep?

You are my help,
therefore I sing like a baby bird
in the shadow of your wings.

My soul clings to you;
I feel your strong right hand holding onto me.

I know that those who seek to harm me will be frustrated;
they will fail utterly.
Destroy every evil effort against me.

By your grace, I will rejoice in you;
let all who follow you truly praise your great name,
and let the mouths of liars be silenced.
Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

I Have Disfigured the Beauty of My Mind

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

With my lustful desires I have formed within myself the deformity of the passions and disfigured the beauty of my mind.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

I have discolored with the passions the first beauty of the image, O Savior. But seek me, as once Thou hast sought the lost coin, and find me.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Like the Harlot I cry to Thee: I have sinned, I alone have sinned against Thee. Accept my tears also as sweet ointment, O Savior.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Like David, I have fallen into lust and I am covered with filth; but wash me clean, O Savior, by my tears.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Like the Publican I cry to Thee: Be merciful, O Savior, be merciful to me. For no child of Adam has ever sinned against Thee as I have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

I have no tears, no repentance, no compunction; but as God do Thou Thyself, O Savior, bestow them on me.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Lord, Lord, at the Last Day shut not Thy door against me; but open it to me, for I repent before Thee.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

O Lover of mankind, who desirest that all men shall be saved, in Thy goodness call me back and accept me in repentance.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Give ear to the groaning of my soul, and accept the tears that fall from mine eyes; O Lord, save me.

(excerpt from The Great Canon of Repentance, Ode Two, by St. Andrew, Bishop of Crete; image via pixabay.com)

Shield and Glory


Farms and Farmers

Thank you, God,
for farms
and farmers.
Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Furious

Lord God,
thank you for your furious love for me.
Amen.

Only in God



Only in God is my soul at rest;
In Him comes my salvation.
He only is my Rock,
My strength and my salvation.

My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be afraid at all.
My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be moved.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
In Him comes my salvation.

Only in God is found safety,
When my enemy pursues me.
Only in God is found glory,
When I am found meek and found lowly.

My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be afraid at all.
My stronghold, my Savior,
I shall not be moved.
Only in God is my soul at rest;
In Him comes my salvation.

1980 Birdwing Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)|(Admin. by BMG Music Publishing)
BMG Songs, Inc. (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)|(Admin. by BMG Music Publishing)

Saturday Psalm #62

I'm hushed before you, waiting quietly, Lord,
for my salvation comes from you.
You alone are my bedrock,
my foundation,
the fortress where I can hide,
feeling safe.

I know enemies array against me,
countless.
They see the chinks in my armor,
the most vulnerable parts of my soul.
They're out to get me,
and I know it.

But I remain hushed before you,
placing my confidence in you.
You alone are my safe place,
my mountain retreat,
the palisade surrounding me.
My salvation, my honor come
from you alone.
You are my eyrie,
my crag of safety.

Increase my trust in you, Lord.
Turn my heart constantly to you,
my shelter, my refuge.

I am the lowest and smallest
of your servants,
unworthy of your notice,
yet you lift me up,
you place me in a privileged position,
and you prosper me like I've never dreamed.

As everyone should know,
power belongs to you, Lord,
and you are unfailingly loving.
You have been more than fair,
so much more than fair
to me
and to all you have made. Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

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)

Saturday Psalm #61

Hear my cry, O Lord my God;
listen to my prayer.
I call to you
from this dark little corner;
I call out from a weak and wounded heart:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I,
my towering rock of safety,
my sheltering overhang,
a commanding overlook,
a new and inspiring peak.

For you have always been my refuge,
my sanctuary from the storm
and shelter against the foe.
I want nothing more
than to dwell in your tent forever
and nestle safely in the shadow of your wings.
For you have heard my vows, O God;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
Give me more days of life as long as I can serve you,
extend my years until my mission is accomplished.
Then take me.
Take me into your presence just as soon as you please
where your love and faithfulness will triumph,
where I will sing unfiltered ecstatic praise to your name
and find absolute fulfillment at last.

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)

Set Our Feet

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)

Translate

He whom I bow to only knows to whom I bow
When I attempt the ineffable Name, murmuring Thou,
And dream of Pheidian fancies and embrace in heart
Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing thou art.
Thus always, taken at their word, all prayers blaspheme
Worshiping with frail images a folk-lore dream,
And all men in their praying, self-deceived, address
The coinage of their own unquiet thoughts, unless
Thou in magnetic mercy to thyself divert
Our arrows aimed unskillfully, beyond desert;
And all men are idolaters, crying unheard
To a deaf idol, if thou take them at their word.

Take not, O Lord, our literal sense. Lord, in thy great,
Unbroken speech our limping metaphor translate.

(a prayer by C.S. Lewis; photo by zsbenko via everystockphoto.com)

Fountain of All Wisdom

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom,
you know my necessities before I ask
and my ignorance in asking:
Have compassion on my weakness,
and mercifully give me those things which
for my unworthiness I dare not,
and for my blindness I cannot ask;
through the worthiness of your Son,
Jesus Christ my Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen. 
(photo via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #60

You have humbled me, O God,
and you have broken me;
you have let me suffer,
now please restore me!
I’ve felt the ground quake beneath me
and open up as if to swallow me;
now please close its fissures and end its shaking.
You have shown your people desperate times,
confusing times like a drunken jag.
But sober us, Lord;
raise a banner
of victory to be displayed for your glory.
Save us and help us with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.

You have spoken from your sanctuary:
you have granted a good land to your people,
and a gracious plenty.
You have marshaled a wonderful company,
and brought us together for your purposes.
Now bring us into your land,
lead us to possess the promise.
Refine us completely as you wish,
give us aid against the enemy,
for the help of man is worthless.
With you and you alone we will gain the victory,
and you will trample down our enemies.

Debt

And deliver us from debt, that we may owe no one anything but love, in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

For a Sense of Your Timing

Oh God, grant us a sense of your timing.
In this season of short days and long nights,
of grey and white and cold,
teach us the lessons of beginnings;
that such waitings and endings may be the starting place,
a planting of seeds which bring to birth
what is ready to be born--
something right and just and different,
a new song,
a deeper relationship,
a fuller love--in the fullness of your time.

O God, grant us the sense of your timing.

(by Ted Loder, from his book Guerrillas of Grace. Used with permission)

Into the Light

God, thank you
for calling me out of darkness
and into the light.
Again.
Today.

(based on 1 Peter 2:9; photo via pixabay.com)

How Great


O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep (Psalm 92:5, KJV).

On 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 44 years ago
and thank you for giving her in marriage to me 41 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.

Empty Cup

I come to this day, Lord,
and lift my empty cup
to the overflowing fountain
of your strength
and sufficiency.

You are more than enough
for all I need this day.

Instead

Lord God, please make me
grateful instead of grabbing,
giving instead of greedy,
and gracious instead of so awfully critical,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Hold Us In Quiet


Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute,
while Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill;
can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, are in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?

(a prayer by Amy Carmichael)

Saturday Psalm #59

Deliver me from my Enemy, O God;
protect me from his stratagems.
Deliver me from his pawns.
Save me from betrayal and spitefulness.
I’ve been set up, Lord;
I’ve been railroaded and rolled.
People have strategized against me,
and lied to my face.

I confess my sin, O LORD.
I am a sinner, that’s for sure,
and you know that’s just scratching the surface.
But arise, LORD, to help me; look on my plight!

O LORD God Almighty, the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to purge me of sin,
and replace my confusion with clarity.
I don’t know who to trust anymore.
I can’t sleep,
the hurt keeps rolling in like the tide.

O my Strength, I watch for you;
you, O God, are my fortress,
my loving God,
my hope,
my help,
my everything,
my Strong Captain,
my Dread Warrior,
my Faithful Defender.

Go before me
and protect me from new attacks.
You are my shield;
you can deflect every attack
and vindicate me
without me having to say a word
or hatch a plan
or map out a response.
Let sin be found out,
let deceit be uncovered,
in me no less than in others.
Let it be known to the ends of the earth
that God rules over me and mine.

But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my castle,
my stronghold,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

(paraphrased from Psalm 59; photo via pixabay.com)

Tell My Soul

Lord, my God, you gave me life and restored it when I lost it. Tell my soul that so longs for you what else you are besides what it has already understood, so that it may see you clearly. It stands on tiptoe to see more, but apart from what it has seen already, it sees nothing but darkness. Of course it does not really see darkness, because there is no darkness in you, but it sees that it can see no further because of the darkness in itself.

Surely, Lord, inaccessible light is your dwelling place, for no one apart from yourself can enter into it and fully comprehend you. If I fail to see this light, it is simply because it is too bright for me. Still, it by this light that I do see all that I can, even as weak ees, unable to look straight at the sun, see all they can by the sun’s light.

The light in which you dwell, Lord, is beyond my understanding. It is so brilliant that I cannot bear it, I cannot turn my mind’s eye toward it for any length of time. I am dazzled by its brightness, amazed by its grandeur, overwhelmed by its immensity, bewildered by its abundance.

(a prayer of Anselm)

Shepherd, Hear My Prayer

Unto thee will I cry,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Poor and needy am I,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Deep is calling unto deep,
Rugged are the heights, and steep:
Guide my steps and keep;
Hear, O hear my prayer!
Hear, O hear my prayer!

Where the tempest is loud,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
'Mid the darkness and cloud,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Let me hear thy voice afar,
Coming with the morning star,
Hear, O hear my prayer!
Hear, O hear my prayer!

Let the foe not prevail,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
My resources would fail,
Shepherd, hear my prayer!
Order all my steps aright,
Carry me from height to height;
Yonder shines the light!
Shepherd, lead me there!
Lead me safely there!

(a prayer by General Albert Orsborn of The Salvation Army)

On Independence Day

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 242nd 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 2018,
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)

Consolation

Grant to all who mourn a sure confidence in your fatherly care, that, casting all their grief on you, they may fully know the consolation of your love.
Amen.

(revised slightly from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer)

Saturday Psalm #58

Lord, let me not be fooled by whisperers,
workers of intrigue,
people who smile to my face but talk behind my back,
by those who leave broken relationships in their wake,
and lie about me to others
and to me about others.

Let me not fall prey to their poison tongues,
let me not expect them to change their ways
if I find the right words and say the right things.

Break them yourself, O Lord.
Save me from taking your work
into my own hands.

Let them learn to avoid me
because they know they won’t get anywhere,
because they know their intrigues and gossip
will land on deaf ears if they speak them to me.

Let my conduct,
the righteousness of Christ in me,
be a discouragement to those who do and speak evil,
so that others will say,
“It’s worth it to act uprightly;
God is watching what happens on earth.”
Amen.

Good Thanks

O my Lord, my Lord,
I thank Thee for that I am, that I am alive, that I am rational:
for nurture, preservation, governance: for education, citizenship, religion:
for Thy gifts of grace, nature, estate:
for redemption, regeneration, instruction:
for calling, recalling, further calling manifold:
for forbearance, longsuffering, long longsuffering towards me,
many times, many years, until now:
for all good offices I have received, good speed I have gotten:
for any good thing done:
for the use of things present, thy promise and my hope touching the fruition of the good things to come:
for my parents honest and good,
teachers gentle,
benefactors always to be had in remembrance,
colleagues likeminded,
hearers attentive,
friends sincere,
retainers faithful:
for all who have stood me in good stead by their writings, their sermons, conversations, prayers, examples, rebukes, wrongs:
for these things and all other, which I wot of, which I wot not of,
open and secret,
things I remember, things I have forgotten withal,
things done to me after my will or yet against my will,
I confess to Thee and bless Thee and give thanks unto Thee,
and I will confess and bless and give thanks to Thee all the days of my life.
What thanks can I render to God again for all the benefits that He hath done unto me?

(a prayer of Lancelot Andrewes)

What's to Be Done?

My heart is full,
My joy complete,
My life is rich,
My prayers are sweet.
And I know how this came to be:
It's all of you, and none of me.

So what's to be done
With a blessed life like mine?
Lord, use it up,
Like oil and wine.
Then touch me again, my cup overflow,
And grant me once more
Your favor to know.

(with apologies to Keith Green)

For Things I Take for Granted

Thank you, Lord,
for the things I too often take for granted,
things too numerous to mention.
Thank you that my wife loves me.
Thank you that I slept
through the night last night.
Thank you that my joints don't ache.
Thank you that I can hold down food.
Thank you that I can see, hear, smell,
taste, and feel.
Thank you for my clothes.
Thank you for the ability to digest and metabolize food.
Thank you for hot showers.
Thank you for the many people who overlook my faults.
Thank you for the love and respect of my children.
Thank you for the people my children married.
Thank you for the ability--and many reasons--to smile.
Thank you for my salvation.
Thank you for prayer.
Thank you for the grace to thank you.
Thank you for you.
Amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #57

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me;
David had his cave to hide in.
I need a cave.
You are my cave.
You are my refuge.
I will hide in the shadow of your wings
until this current wave of trouble has passed.

I cry out to you, God Most High:
I beg you to fulfill your purpose for me,
sooner rather than later.
Send your hosts from heaven and save me,
scattering those who march against me.
Send your love and faithfulness,
breaking through the ring of beasts
that surround me:
though they are human,
they snarl and claw like ravenous beasts—
and they can’t even see their own faces,
the contorted expressions they wear.

Just do your thing, God;
show your strength and glory.

It’s so much harder
when my friends are used by my enemies.
It’s easier to fight back
when an attack comes from evil people,
rather than well-meaning friends.

But my heart is steadfast, O God;
I’m not going anywhere.
I will sing and make music,
I will praise you so loud
and serve you so passionately
that I will keep the day awake
and prevent the night from getting any sleep.

I will praise you, O Lord, no matter what;
I will serve you to my last breath.
For your love stretches all the way to the heavens;
your faithfulness extends from where I am
to the outermost reaches of the universe.

Just do your thing, God;
show your strength and glory.

Summer

Father, Creator of all,
thank You for summer!

Thank You for the warmth of the sun and the increased daylight.

Thank You for the beauty I see all around me and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation.

Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family,
and for the more casual pace
of the summer season.

Draw me closer to You this summer.

Teach me how I can pray no matter
where I am or what I am doing.

Warm my soul with the awareness of
Your presence and light my path with
Your Word and Counsel.

As I enjoy Your creation, create in
me a pure heart and a hunger
and a thirst for You.
Amen.

(author unknown)

Send My Roots Rain

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With Thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners' ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavor end?
Wert thou my enemy, O thou my friend,
How wouldst thou worse, I wonder, than thou dost
Defeat, thwart me? Oh, the sots and thralls of lust
Do in spare hours more thrive than I that spend,
Sir, life upon thy cause. See, banks and brakes
Now, leaved how thick! laced they are again
With fretty chervil, look, and fresh wind shakes
Them; birds bild--but not I build; no, but strain,
Time's eunuch, and not breed one work that wakes.
Mine, O thou lord of life, send my roots rain.

(a prayer and poem of Gerard Manley Hopkins; photo via pixabay.com)

Lord, Protect My Child



Susan Tedeschi performs "Lord Protect My Child,” written by Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan.

Saturday Psalm #56

Please be merciful to me, O God,
for I get scared so easily.
I’m scared right now.

Save me from myself,
and from all who would attack me
to make themselves feel or look better.

Remind me when I am afraid
to trust in you—
you, whose word I hold dear.
I will try to trust you
rather than fear what others might do to me.

Don't let others--
those who would harm me or my testimony,
sneaky, spying souls
who want to trip me up
and gloat over me--
twist my words.

Defend me from them, Lord God;
trip them up.

I know I’m complaining, but hear me anyway;
take note of my tears
and wipe them away.

Turn my enemies,
come to my assistance when I call for help.
I know that you are for me—
you, whose word I hold dear.
I will try to trust you
rather than fear what men might do to me.

I am beholden to you, O God;
I owe you infinitely more
than my thanks can convey,
for you have delivered me time and again,
you have caught me when I stumbled,
that I may walk before you
in the light of life. Amen.

(image via pixabay.com)