For All You've Done



Saturday Psalm #116

I love you, God,
because you listen to me.
Inexplicably, incredibly,
you listen to my cries.
You patiently let me
pour out my words and lay out my needs,
even my demands, sinful as I am.

Sometimes when I am under attack,
and sometimes when I only THINK I'm under attack,
you nonetheless humor me.
How you must chuckle at my impatience,
at my panic,
at my paranoia.

But, gracious God, you make things right.
Caring Father, you cradle me in your arms.
You take my side
even when I deserve your rebuke!
You turn me around
when I've messed up royally.

Teach me to rest in you.
Help me to bask in your blessings,
and swim in your salvation.
Save me from whining,
and keep my feet from stumbling.

I'm here.
You're here.
That alone is amazing to me.
You have been faithful.
You have kept me faithful.
That is even more amazing.

I have nothing to offer you,
nothing worthy of the blessings you've poured out on me.
I can only lift high the cup of salvation,
and remember your outpoured love.
I will pray in Jesus' name,
trusting you to help me see and adopt your agenda.
I'll rely on you to fulfill your will in me,
and I'll serve your people with all my strength.
I'll seek your pleasure
and not man's.
I'll be faithful to you,
to your house,
to your kingdom,
Amen.

(based on Psalm 116; photo via pixabay.com)

Walk With Me

It's just me, Lord, 
I've little to say. 
I just ask for you 
to walk with me today. 

Always Strong and Courageous

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

I Beseech Thy Fatherly Pity

Essence beyond essence, Nature increate,
Framer of the world,
I set thee, Lord, before me,
and unto Thee do I lift up my soul.
I worship Thee on my knees,
and humble myself under Thy mighty hand.
I stretch forth my hands unto Thee:
my soul thirsteth after Thee, as a thirsty land.

I smite upon my breast,
and say, with the publican,
God be merciful to me a sinner,
the chief of sinners;
to the sinner above the publican
be merciful, as to the publican.
Father of mercies, I beseech Thy fatherly pity,
despise me not,
an unclean worm, a dead dog, a body of death;
despise not Thou the work of Thine own hands;
despise not Thine own image,
though bearing the brands of sin.
Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.
Lord, speak the word only, and I shall be healed.

And Thou, my Saviour Christ,
Christ my Saviour,
Saviour of sinners, of whom I am chief,
despise me not; despise me not, O Lord,
who am purchased with Thy blood,
called by Thy name;
but look on me with those eyes
with which Thou didst look upon
Magdalene at the feast,
Peter in the hall,
the thief on the cross:
that with the thief I may entreat Thee humbly,
Lord, remember me when Thou comest
into Thy kingdom;
that with Peter I may weep bitterly and say,
O that mine eyes were a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night;
that with Magdalene I may hear Thee say,
Thy sins are forgiven thee,
and with her may love much,
for my sins, which are many and manifold,
are forgiven.

And Thou, all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit,
despise me not, Thy breath,
despise not Thine own holy things;
but return, O Lord; how long?
and let it repent Thee concerning Thy servant.

(a prayer of Lancelot Andrewes, from Lancelot Andrewes and His Private Devotions)

Arranged


Thank you, Lord, 
for arranging my schedule today
so that I have plenty of time to panic. 
Amen. 

(photo via pixabay.com)

Shelter Me

(A Prayer of Bruce Carroll, Billy Sprague, and Bob Bennett)



When I cannot close my eyes,
And the nights goes on,
Troubles taunt on every side,
And my doubt is strong,

Shelter me, shelter me,
Let the thought of your compassion be my strength.
Prince of peace, shelter me.

From the tempest of my unbelief,
Mighty God who calmed the sea,
Come and shelter me.

Saturday Psalm #115




















Not to me, O LORD, not to my name,
but to your great name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

I know there are some
who question your presence,
your reality, even.

But I know you
not only as a God in heaven,
but as an ever-present,
sovereign
King.

In my best moments,
I'd much rather serve you
than the gods of others:
silver and gold,
status and success,
fortune and fame,
security or safety,
comfort or choice,
or busyness,
or happiness.....

Save me from their allure,
for it is so easy to be among those
who trust in such things.

But I will trust in you, LORD—
you are my help and shield.

Remember me and bless me:
bless the house of Aaron,
bless the house of Aubrey,
bless those who fear you, LORD—
small and great alike.

Grant godly increase,
to me and my children,
natural and spiritual.

May we be blessed by our LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
may we extol you, LORD,
both now and forevermore.
Praise the LORD.
Amen.

To My Generous Rewarder

I love you, O Lord, my strength; through you every hostile power yields to me, worm that I am, and the guile of the ancient serpent is laughed to scorn by the angels you send to minister to us, so that his desire to hurt is turned to our advantage instead.

I love you, Lord, my powerful defender, wise guide, gentle consoler, generous rewarder. Confident, I cast all my care on him whose strength cannot be overthrown, whose wisdom cannot be led astray, whose loving kindness cannot be exhausted in fulfilling my every need. How much better, how much safer it is to have him caring for me than to be looking after myself. How much better it is to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. How justly cursed is the man who, trusting in man, makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord. Indeed I am poor and needy but if the Lord takes thought for me I am rich and blessed; no mistake, everything works for good in me.

Therefore let those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not forsake those who put their trust in you.

Amen.

(a prayer of Guerric of Igny)

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.

In Your Hands

God,
I am in your hands.
I am safe in your hands.
I am secure in your hands.
I am sheltered in your hands.
I am at peace in your hands.
I am in your hands.
Amen.

(photo by heterosapiens via pixabay.com)

Good Work

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 #114

When Israel came out of Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became your sanctuary,
Israel your dominion.
The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
the mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

How often have you provided me
with such deliverance,
and established me
with such kindness,
and I have quickly moved on
to my next need,
my next request,
my next demand,
and have not trembled at the presence of the Lord,
nor given appropriate thanks
to the One who turned the rock
into a pool,
the hard rock
into springs of water?

After Chrysostom

Lord God Adonai,
as St. John Chrysostom prayed,
"Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions
as may be best for us,"
for you always know what is best,
and we seldom do.
Forgive us for trying to inform you
in what is best for us,
and teach us to submit to your wisdom,
love,
and kindness,
in our praying
and in our living,
Amen.

Unmixed Faith

Save me, God,
from a mixed faith:
a faith in you...
and in me.
I believe;
help my unbelief.
I long to believe only--
and therefore fully--
in you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Family

Abba, Father, thank you for family. For adult children we can be proud of and want to spend time with--and who seem to enjoy (mostly) spending time with us. For well-mannered, loving grandkids we can be proud of and want to spend time with--and who seem to enjoy (mostly) spending time with us. For extended family who are so loving and accepting and so deeply loved that, far from being "extended family," are immediate to our hearts. For kids, siblings, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and cousins who accept each other, love each other, and get along with each other so well. For laughter and tears, joking and teasing, talking and listening, hugging and holding, watching and eavesdropping, fighting over dinner checks, and working together to make meals and memories, in Jesus' name, amen. 

Change the Pressure Rating

This cardboard box
Lord
see it says
Bursting limit
100 lbs. per square inch.
The box maker knew
how much strain
the box would take
what weight
would crush it.
You are wiser
than the box maker
maker of my spirit
my mind
my body.
Does the box know
when pressure increases close to
the limit?
No
It knows nothing.
But I know
when my breaking point
Is near.
And so I pray
Maker of my soul
Determiner of the pressure
within
upon
me
Stop it
lest I be broken
Or else
change the pressure rating
of this fragile container
of your grace
so that I may bear more.

(A prayer of Joseph Bayly from Psalms of My LIfe)

Saturday Psalm #113

I praise you, LORD.
Your humblest servant,
I praise your very name, LORD,
both now and forevermore.

I will praise your name
from the rising of the sun
to the place where it sets.

I will exalt you, LORD,
wherever I am,
I will sing of your glory
at the top of my lungs.

Who is like you, LORD my God,
you who sit enthroned on high,
who are so exalted you must stoop
to consider the heavens...
and yet you even stoop so far
as to watch over me here on earth!

You raise the poor from the dust
and lift the needy from the trash heap;
you seat them with princes,
and even make them princes themselves.

You grant children to the barren,
families to the lonely,
community to the outcast,
because you are good,
and utterly, infinitely worthy
of praise.
Amen.

No Blot Upon My Shield

My Lord, I stand ready on the threshold of this new day,
to go forth, armed with your power,
seeking adventure on the high road,
to right wrong,
to overcome evil,
to suffer wounds and endure pain if need be,
but in all things,
to serve you bravely, faithfully, joyfully,
that at the end of the day’s labor,
kneeling for your blessing,
you may find no blot upon my shield.

This I ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with God the Father, in union with the Holy Ghost, for all ages of ages. Amen.

(a prayer reportedly said often by medieval knights; photo via everystockphoto.com)

What Shall I Fear?


The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
The Lord is my vanguard and rearguard—
what should inspire fear in me? 
The Lord is my strong defender, my dread warrior—
why should I worry or fret? 
The Lord is my provider and sustainer—
how can I toss and turn and lose sleep? 
The Lord is at my right hand—
what shall I fear? 
The Lord is with me—
of what shall I be afraid? 

(based on and expanded from Psalm 27:1-2; photo via pixabay.com)

Replace the Lamp

O Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clear.
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burns with holy fear.

(from O Lord, You're Beautiful, by Keith Green)

Clothed with Compassion

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 #112

I praise you, LORD.
I have been so blessed
by men and women who fear you
and find great delight in your commands.

I am blessed to be among them now,
to be one of those who fears you
and loves your Word.

Oh, Lord, please
make my children mighty in the land;
let the next generation
and the next
be blessed
beyond my wildest dreams.

Grant them true wealth
and enduring riches;
let the walls of their homes be adorned
with righteousness.

Let your light dawn in their lives,
and dispel all darkness for them.
Make them gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Make them generous and anxious to give.
Make them just in all their affairs.

Let them never be shaken;
give them a sterling reputation.
Save them from rumor and gossip.
Make their hearts steadfast, always trusting in you.
Make them confident and fearless.
Give them victory over every enemy, every obstacle.
Bless their efforts on behalf of the poor
and needy
and sick.
And give them influence and honor,
for your name's sake.

Let the wicked look at them and be vexed,
wondering at the blessings of the righteous,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on Psalm 112)

Enlarge My Heart

Lord, "I will run in the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32, KJV).

Oh, enlarge my heart, please. Increase my capacity for you. Flood every valve and ventricle, every corner and cubbyhole of my heart and spirit with your gracious presence and sovereign control. I need you, I want you, I will not let go unless you bless me with more, more, more of yourself.

Let me be satisfied in you today, as with the richest of foods, in Jesus' name, amen.

(illustration "My heart," Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 36" -by Anne Laures, www.annelaurescolors.com)

Wayward Child

Lord, I know
I have no right to ask of you the things I do, for I am a wayward child.

But I ask anyway, for I am your wayward child.

Saturday Psalm #111

LORD, my God, I praise you.
I extol you with all my heart,
unashamedly,
wherever I may be,
in the midst of your people
or among those who don't yet know you.

Your works are great, Lord.
Eye-popping.
Breathtaking.
Awe-inspiring.
Mind-boggling.
The more I think on them,
the more I delight in them.

Everything you do is glorious and majestic,
and your righteousness never ends.

You cause your wonders to be remembered:
you repeat them day after day,
in my life and in the world around me.

You are gracious and compassionate.
You provide food for those who fear you;
you keep all your promises.

You give your people plenty of reasons to acknowledge your works.
You have given us far more than we ever deserved.

Your works are faithful and just;
your precepts are trustworthy.

They remain true for ever and ever,
proven over and over again.

You have redeemed me, Lord,
for which I can never stop praising you.
You have kept your covenant with me,
and with all who trust you.
Holy and awesome is your name.

Submission to you is the beginning of wisdom;
following you is Health 101.
To you belong eternal praise.
Amen.

I Have More

Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And having done that, Thou hast done;
I fear no more.

(a prayer of John Donne)

Image

Grant, Almighty God, that as you no longer appear to us in shadows and types, as formerly to the holy fathers, but clearly and plainly in your only-begotten Son--O, grant that we may be wholly given to the contemplation of your image, which thus shines before us; and that we may in such a manner be transformed into it, as to make increasing advances, until at length, having put off all the filth of our flesh, we be fully conformed to that pure and perfect holiness which dwells in Christ, as in him dwells the fulness of all blessings and thus obtain at last a participation of that glory which our Lord has procured for us by his resurrection. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English; image by Pexels via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #110

O God my praise,
please don't stay silent.
Stick up for me when the wicked
wag their lying tongues against me.

Defend me
when I am not around to defend myself.
Actually, defend me, please, even then.

I don't know why
people whom I embrace
act like my enemy.

I don't want to know.
why people repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship.

I don't need to know.
I will simply try to be a man of prayer,
and turn to you for comfort
and vindication.

It is yours and yours alone to judge.
I thank you that I wish them no harm.

Let them taste your forgiveness.
Let them discover the beauty of peacemaking.
Let them learn submission to you.
Let their children prosper
and learn your ways better than they have.
Preserve their marriages.
Bless their homes.
Restore their integrity
and bring them into the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.

May this be your payment to my accusers,
to those who speak evil of me.

For you, O Sovereign LORD,
deal well with me for your name's sake;
out of the goodness of your love, you deliver me.

I am poor and needy,
and though my heart has been wounded within me,
and I have nearly faded away like an evening shadow,
you have been my help, O LORD my God;
you save me in accordance with your love.

Let everyone know that it is your hand,
that you, O LORD, have done it.
Let everyone know that I am nothing,
and you are everything.
Let everyone know that all I am
and all I have
and all I will ever be
is due to you and your kindness to me.

With my mouth I will greatly extol you, LORD;
I will not fail to praise you wherever I go,
for you stand at the right hand of this needy one,
to save my life from those who accuse me.

Amen.

Passably Smart

Abba, Father, I thank you
that you have made me passably smart.
I ask also:
please make me miraculously wise,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by rottonara via pixabay.com)

Relocation

For more than two thousand miles of travel,
ten states in ten days, 
and no flat tires,
no breakdowns,
no accidents,
no detours,
no standstills,
no speeding tickets,
no carsickness, 
for time with family,
time as a couple, 
breathtaking vistas, 
and the kindness of many, 
we give you thanks. 

(photo via pixabay.com)

Clasp

Lord, I would clasp your hand in mine,
And never murmur or repine,
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since it is your hand leading me.

(from the hymn, He Leadeth Me,
by Joseph Henry Gilmore, slightly updated;
photo via pixabay.com)

Spirit Wind

Lord God Adonai,
teach me please not to be blown around
on the waves of circumstances,
but to sail solely
by the wind
of the Spirit,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo courtesy of my friend Willa Patterson)

Saturday Psalm 108

My heart is fixed, O God;
I will sing
and make melody in my heart.
I will put the sweetest songbirds
to shame today;
I will awaken the dawn.

I will glorify you, O LORD, everywhere I go;
I will sing your praise
in front of anybody,
because your love
is enormous,
immense,
greater than the expanse of the universe.

So why shouldn't your praise be likewise
lifted above the heavens?
I can't possibly give you the glory you deserve.

Save us, Lord, and help us with your right hand,
show your love by working wonders for us.

You spoke from your sanctuary;
you promised to give your people victory,
and lead us into a spacious place.

And you have certainly done so,
but we still struggle so much.
Sometimes our salvation seems so fragile,
and our deliverance so far off.

Send us help against the enemy,
for all human help is worthless.

With you, Lord, we will gain the victory,
we will do valiantly,
and you will trample on our foes!

(photo via pixabay.com)

Readiness

Blessed be Thou, most gracious God, that again Thou hast brought light out of darkness and caused the morning to appear! Blessed be Thou that Thou dost send me forth, in health and vigour, to the duties and doings of another day! Go with me, I beseech Thee, through all the sunlit hours, and so protect me from every evil way that, when evening comes, I need not hide my head in shame.

O Thou who hast so graciously called me to be Thy servant, I would hold myself in readiness to-day for Thy least word of command. Give me the spirit, I pray Thee, to keep myself in continual training for the punctual fulfillment of Thy most holy will.

Let me keep the edges of my mind keen:
Let me keep my thinking straight and true:
Let me keep my passions in control:
Let me keep my will active:
Let me keep my body fit and healthy:
Let me remember Him whose meat it was to do the will of Him that sent Him.

O Lord of the vineyard, I beg Thy blessing upon all who truly desire to serve Thee by being diligent and faithful in their several callings, bearing their due share of the world's burden, and going about their daily tasks in all simplicity and uprightness of heart.
For all who tend flocks or till the soul:
For all who work in factories or in mines:
For all who buy and sell in the market-place:
For all who labour with their brains:
For all who labour with their pens:
For all who tend the hearth:
Dear Lord, I pray.

In Thy great mercy save us all from the temptations that do severally beset us, and bring us to everlasting life, by the power of the Holy Cross. Amen.


(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer

Enter

My soul is like a house, small for you to enter, but I pray you to enlarge it. It is in ruins, but I ask you to remake it. It contains much that you will not be pleased to see: this I know and do not hide. But who is to rid it of these things? 
(A prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo, from his Confessions, Book 5.1; photo via pixabay.com)

Holy Mountain

Lord, bring me today
to your holy mountain,
to Mount Zion,
to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem,
to God himself,
to Jesus,
the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people,
and to the sprinkled blood,
which graciously forgives.

(based on Isaiah 66:20, Hebrews 12:22-24; painting: Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, by David Roberts in 1842, Library of Congress)