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.

The Coming Day


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