That Inner Gift

Lord, I would share,
But first possess,
That inner gift, serenity.
Then, comforted, blessed, free from unrest,
Serve you nonetheless,
But with tranquility.

(from Abundant Living, by E. Stanley Jones, p. 155; slightly revised)

It Pales

All that is here within these bones
All that is future and unknown
All that the world would sell--it pales compared to you.
All that is in us hears your call
Mountains of doubt before you fall
All that we could not give before--abandoned now.

(by Frederick Booth-Tucker;
photo via

An Independence Day Prayer

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 244th 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 2020,
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.

To Feel the Music of Living

Giver of life, creator of all that is lovely,
Teach me to sing the words to your song;
I want to feel the music of living
And not fear the sad songs
But from them make new songs
Composed of both laughter and tears.

Teach me to dance to the sounds of your world and your people,
I want to move in rhythm with your plan,
Help me to try to follow your leading
To risk even falling
To rise and keep trying
Because you are leading the dance.

(author unknown)

Ready to Give Us Pardon

Grant, Almighty God, that since we are at this day as guilty before you as were the Israelites of old, who were so rebellious against your prophets, and that as you have often tried sweetly to allure us to yourself without any success, and as we have not hitherto ceased, by our continual obstinacy, to provoke your wrath--O, grant that, being moved at least by the warnings you give us, we may prostrate ourselves before your face, and not wait until you put forth your hand to destroy us, but, on the contrary, strive to anticipate your judgment; and that being at the same time surely convinced that you are ready to be reconciled to us in Christ, we may flee to Him as our Mediator; and that relying on his intercession, we may not doubt but that you are ready to give us pardon, until having at length put away all sins, we come to that blessed state of glory which has been obtained for us by the blood of your Son. Amen.

(a prayer of John Calvin, in his Commentary on Hosea, translated into English in 1846 and updated by me into modern English; photo illustration by fancycrave1 via

Great and Wonderful Lord

You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father, are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.

(a prayer of St. Francis Of Assisi, by way of the In-Formatio blog)

Great Peace

Great peace have those who love Your law (Psalm 119:165, NKJV).

(photo by Free-Photos via

Saturday Psalm #145

Abba, I exalt you, my God the King; I will never stop praising your holy name.
By day I will praise you and by night I will extol your name.
Countless are your mighty works, LORD,
and your deeds beyond comprehension.

Everyone who knows me will know of your works;
forever I will tell of your mighty acts.

Gladly will I speak of the awesome splendor of your majesty,
happily I will meditate on all the amazing things you have done.
I will tell of the power of your awesome works while I live,
joyfully spreading the news of your great deeds.

King of my heart, I celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
LORD, you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
Mighty Savior, no one compares to you,
for you are kind and compassionate toward all you have made.
O, let all you have made praise you, O LORD; may your saints sing of you!

Praise belongs to you, rightly and completely, Mighty King,
Quiet or loud, let your people worship in the beauty of your holiness.
Reign! Rule! Righteous God, your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
enduring through all generations.
Saving God, you are faithful to every promise you have made and loving toward all your creation.

Those who fall, you uphold; those who are bowed down, you uplift.
Uphold and uplift me now; I look to you, for your supply and sustenance.
Vast are your resources, Lord; open your hand and share them with all those in need.
Widen the influence of your church, and prosper your people wherever they are.
Expand the company of those who call on you, everywhere, but in my community, especially.

You fulfill my desires and hear my every cry; hear me now, and watch over me and mine.

Zealously I will follow you and speak your praise, LORD. Let every creature praise your holy name forever.


(based on Psalm 145; photo by Leslin_Liu via

O Man of Galilee

O Man of Galilee,
Stay with and strengthen me;
Walk Thou through life with me,
O Man of Galilee.

(a prayer of Robert Hoggard)

You Struck the Rivers

Lord, I praise you
because you struck the rivers
and parted the sea;
you sent your chariots of salvation for your people.

You commanded your weapons of power!
You split open the earth with flowing rivers!
The mighty deep cried out, lifting its hands to you.
You are mighty, and worthy of praise!

(from Habakkuk 3:8-10)

My Mountain Crag

God, you are my fortress,
my mountain crag,
my stronghold,
my safehouse,
my defender,
my armor,
my coat of Kevlar,
my tower,
my help,
my rescuer,
my Marines,
my cavalry,
my Dread Warrior,
my mountain of strength,
my salvation at all times, and
my miracle at the eleventh hour.

Father's Day Prayer

Abba, Father,
thank you for being such a good, good father to me:
patient, wise, loving, constant, and strong.

Thank you for my father,
for the many years you gave him on this earth,
for the example he showed me
and the things he taught me.

Thank you for the kind of father
my son and son-in-law are
to my grandchildren:
patient, wise, loving, constant, and strong.

Let this Father's Day be a blessing to you
and to the fathers in my life and family,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Summer's Here

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.

(author unknown; image by jonathansautter via

No Mistake, Everything Works for Good in Me

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.


(a prayer of Guerric of Igny)

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.

(based on Psalm 1:1-3 and Jeremiah 17:8)

To Use Not Be Used

Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience:
Let me use success as material for thankfulness:
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance:
Let me use danger as material for courage:
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering:
Let me use praise as material for humility:
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance:
Let me use pains as material for endurance.

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer; photo by Couleur via

Highest Use

My Father and my God, I want to be ready for the moment of my highest use, some great moment that shall call for my best. Help me every moment to get ready for that supreme moment. Help me to be prepared, by getting ready every moment. In Jesus' name. Amen.

(from Abundant Living, by E. Stanley Jones; photo courtesy of photosforyou via

For Discernment

Heavenly Father,
Every day I am confronted with deception and lies. This world is a confusing place to travel through. Please give me a discerning mind. To follow you I need the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, true and false, good and bad, important and trivial, godly and ungodly. Help me to properly interpret the issues I'm confronted with and understand the motives of people who push a certain agenda. Show me the way through the maze of options that I face in any given day. Please give me discernment that cuts through the confusion and distractions and brings clarity to life, like the sun that burns away the fog. May I always be able to discern the direction in which you are guiding me, and may I always have the courage to follow you.

(an excerpt from the book, 365 Pocket Prayers, by Ron Beers; photo via

Saturday Psalm #144

Praise be to you, LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and places my sword in hand.

You are my loving God
and my sure defense,
my castle keep,
and my reinforcement,
my armor and my shield,
in whom I am kept safe.
You lay my enemies low.

I don't know why you care for me,
why you give me a thought.
Like all humans, my life is here today,
gone tomorrow.
My whole life span is not even a blink
of eternity's eye.

But you do care for me, Lord,
you do take thought of me.
So come, O LORD, come down.
Rip open the skies and come down;
stand on the mountains, so that they smoke.
Throw your lightning bolts
and scatter all who attack righteousness and oppress your people.

Reach down your hand from on high;
lift me out of the flooding waters
and save me from all who lie
and do evil.

Give me yet another new song to sing to you, God;
add one more praise song to my repertoire,
one more victory chant to praise you with.

Continue to build up my son
and make him a mighty oak;
continue to make my daughter
like a marble pillar in righteousness.

Empty me and mine,
to make room for your provision.
Teach me to give freely
out of all you have given to me.
Make me and mine a family of faith
and generosity
and sacrifice
and joy.

Let there be no disunity,
or disobedience
among us.

Give us the gift of instant obedience, Lord.
Grant that we may do what you say
the moment you say it.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true;
blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.


(based on Psalm 143)


Lord, teach me nepsis:
to be watchful, alert, vigilant,
to control my thoughts
instead of being controlled
by the thoughts and words of others,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Free-Photos via


Come, Living Water.

Come into my weary soul.
Come in like a flood.
Come, shock my system.
Come, fill my empty places.
Come, deluge my dry places.

Come, Living Water.
Come and revive me.
Come refresh me.
Come renew me.
Come recreate me.
Come, Living Water.
Come, Living Water.


On Miles's Birthday

Abba, Father, thank you for my first grandchild,
my grandson,
Miles Jacob Hostetler, who turns thirteen years old today.

Thank you for all you have made him to be:
healthy, strong, charming, sweet, sensitive, smart, wonderful.

Thank you for all you have given him:
caring, wise, attentive, loving parents,
a sister who loves him and will even say so,
a family that loves to be around him and spend time with him,
an active and brilliant mind,
a fascination with bugs and beasts and birds,
and a warm home, good school, and lovely church.

Thank you that he's so great as to make missing him so hard.
Thank you that he's growing so fast and learning so much
as to make me insanely jealous of those who get to watch it happen day by day and week by week.
Thank you that for the earliest years of his life I got to see him so often, almost daily at times.
Thank you that I'll get to see him soon, by your leave.
And thank you that even with the physical distance between us, we still enjoy a closeness that brings tears to my eyes.

Please bless him mightily on his birthday, and on every day that follows it.
Please shine on him, smile on him, and slather him with your favor.
Please preserve his sweetness even as he grows up.
Please give him a great summer this year, and a blessed rest-of-the-year.
Please grant that he may grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Please draw him and keep him close to you,
and grant his every need
and make his dreams come true,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Bless Every Chick and Calf

Lord God, the same who walked in Adam's garden in the cool of the day, we thank thee now for all these flowers.

Especially for the flowers with honey in them....

Make us no less gay than bobolink as he moves into that thorn-apple bush so grandly whitewashed by thy mysterious hand.

Count every click of our planter a prayer to thee to bless the seed.

Bless every chick and calf, every shote and sheep, every cat and canary bird hereabouts.

Bless every child; with wisdom and stature endow them; and number us, too, among thy children forevermore.


(from the book, The Farmer Gives Thanks; photo by vinsky2002 via

Always Merciful

(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 #143

O LORD, hear me out.
Please be patient
while I think out loud
in your presence.
Please don't take my thoughts
too seriously,
but help me
as I process some things.

I just don't understand some people, Lord.
I truly don't.
They mystify me.
I don't understand those
who can stand so stubbornly convinced
of their own righteousness
while their actions and attitudes
are blatantly contrary to your Word,
to your clear commands.
I don't get those
who go their own way
and stray from your paths
and wonder why they don't enjoy your blessing.
I can't fathom
how people who call themselves by your name
can be so demanding
and resentful
and critical
and ugly toward others.

It dismays me.
I get so tired of it.
I long for those days when my fervor was fresh, my heart unjaded.

I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for refreshment from you.

Hear my cry, Lord,
and renew my spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Rain on me.
Flow through my soul,
redeem its desert places.
Wash away all weariness
and dullness
and cynicism.

Wake me with a morning kiss,
and let tomorrow dawn
with fresh hope
and energy.
Walk with me.
Rescue me from my enemies,
and myself,
for I hide myself in you.

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
lead me on level ground,
sweet Holy Spirit.

Preserve my life;
lift me up,
plant my feet on higher ground.

Silence all doubt,
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.


(based on Psalm 143; the art above, from Psalm 143:10, was found in a corner of a main room in Elm Tree House in the village of Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England. The style has been dated c. 1650)

I Mourn and Lament

I mourn and lament for George Floyd.
I mourn and lament for Breonna Taylor.
I mourn and lament for Ahmed Arbery.

I mourn and lament for Captain David Dorn.
I mourn and lament for Dave Patrick Underwood.
I mourn and lament for Italia Marie Kelly.
I mourn and lament for David McAtee.
I mourn and lament for Chris Beaty.

I mourn and lament for the businesses destroyed, including those of African-Americans and small business owners.
I mourn and lament for the loss of irreplaceable and uninsured inventories, including those of African-Americans.
I mourn and lament for the closed workplaces and lost jobs, including those of African-Americans and others who live paycheck-to-paycheck.
I mourn and lament for innocents injured and killed, livelihoods lost, families mourning, communities imperiled, “food deserts” created, and people’s futures that are irrevocably changed.

I pray for the full recovery of Officer Shay Mikalonis.
I pray for the Spirit to pray for the things I don’t know to pray for.
I pray for hearts to be changed and justice and peace to prevail.


(image by pixel2013 via

Anniversary Thanks

O Lord my God,
how can I possibly thank you
for my bride,
my wife,
and these forty-three years of marriage,
and forty-six years of love
you've given me
with the lovely Robin?

Thank you for yet another year of life together.
Thank you for her faithful,
constant heart.

Thank you for all
the happiness we have known together;
the sorrows we have faced together;
the children we have raised together
and the grandchildren we have been given.

Thank you for our home,
hopes and dreams,
our unfinished plans,
and our small accomplishments.

Thank you that she has stuck with me, never wavering in her support.
Thank you that she still laughs at (some of) my jokes.
Thank you that she grows more beautiful every day.
Thank you for all of her perfections,
and all of my improvements.

Spare us another year to walk together,
and grant that for us it may be true
that the best is yet to be,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thy Footprints on My Road

I know thee who thou art,
And what thy healing name;
For when my fainting heart
The burden nigh o’ercame,
I saw thy footprints on my road
Where lately passed the Son of God.

Thy name is joined with mine
By every human tie,
And my new name is thine,
A child of God am I;
And never more alone, since thou
Art on the road beside me now.

Beside thee as I walk,
I will delight in thee
In sweet communion talk
Of all thou art to me;
The beauty of thy face behold
And know thy mercies manifold.

Let nothing draw me back
Or turn my heart from thee,
But by the Calvary track
Bring me at last to see
The courts of God, that city fair,
And find my name is written there.

(a prayer by General Albert Orsborn of The Salvation Army; the first line is based on Mark 1:24 in the King James Version, the account of Jesus healing a demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum, depicted in the picture by the great biblical artist James Tissot)

Serious Seeking

Keep me O Lord, while I tarry on this earth,
in a serious seeking after you,
and in an affectionate walking with you,
every day of my life;
that when you come, I may be found
not hiding my talent,
nor serving the flesh,
nor yet asleep with my lamp unfurnished,
but waiting and longing for you.

(a prayer by Richard Baxter; photo by MemoryCatcher via

No Great Matter to You

To be Sovereign of the universe
is no great matter to you, God.
In yourself, at home in "the land of the Trinity,"
you are Sovereign of a far greater realm.

Help me to keep always before my eyes
that vision of Lady Julian’s
in which you carried in your hand
a little object like a nut,
and that nut was "all that is made."

God, you who needs nothing,
loves into existence
wholly superfluous creatures like me
in order that you may love and perfect them.

Praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

(based on lines from C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, pages 175-176)

Psalm of Protest

A psalm of protest,
In memory of George Floyd,
Sung at the gates of justice,
When black men are strangled in the streets,
When power is abused and jails overflow,
When the voiceless are forgotten and minorities misused.
Open, you gates!
Open to the cries of those murdered, jailed or harassed
For being black,
For being a person of color,
For being homeless, indigent, destitute or unwanted,
The detained, the hounded,
The pursued and the persecuted,
Those who are killed while being restrained.
Open, you gates!
Let righteousness flow forth as living waters,
And truth flow forth as healing balm,
To still the hand of violence and hatred,
To cure the heart of bigotry and racism,
To herald fairness and equality,
And bring justice to this land.

(© 2019 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved; photo by cocoparisienne via

Hold Thou Me Up

O God the author of all good, I come to Thee for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without Thee I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Thy power. Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe.

Preserve my understanding from subtilty of error, my affections from love of idols, my character from stain of vice, my profession from every form of evil. May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Thy blessing, and in which I cannot invite Thy inspection. Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full and deny Thee and say, Who is the Lord? or be poor, and steal, and take Thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Thy will. Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within, to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians. And to Thee be the glory.


(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)

For Those Deprived of Work

Lord Christ, you said to your disciples, "My Father has worked till now, and I work": we pray for those who through no fault of their own have been deprived of the work that leads towards the fulfillment of their lives.

Inspire and guide those who bear the responsibility of finding the answer to our industrial problems.

Open their minds to the truth, that they may discern in the events of our time the direction of your will; and give them the courage to declare what they believe to be right, and the power to carry it through.

(a prayer by Basil Naylor, from The Complete Book of Christian Prayer, p. 142)

For Those Who Gave Their Lives

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on
the One whose power over us
is great and gentle,
firm and forgiving,
holy and healing…

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own
and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts...

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.


(from the Concord Pastor blog)

Saturday Psalm 142

I cry aloud to you, LORD;
Listen, please.
Have mercy, please.

I complain a lot, I know,
but please be patient
while I tell you my troubles again.

As weary as I get,
I know you know my way.
You see the traps
that are hidden in my path.
You discern how, on my left and right,
are dangers and unkind people.

But there are many others, O LORD,
who love me
and seek my good.
There are many others
who will not abandon me
or stab me in the back.
There are many others
who will be faithful,
and kind,
and forgiving.

And, most importantly,
you are my refuge,
my portion while I live.

You see my desperate
and frequent need;
rescue me from false brothers,
from deceitful
and grudge-holding people.

Set me free day by day
and moment by moment
to praise your name
and worship you with my life,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Light These Idle Sticks of My Life

God, I pray,
light these idle sticks of my life
and may I burn for you.

Consume my life, my God,
for it is yours.

I seek not a long life,
but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.

(a slightly updated prayer by Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to the indigenous people of Ecuador; photo by sagarkphotography via

O Blessed Glorious Trinity

O blessed glorious Trinity,
Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith,
Which, as wise serpents, diversely
Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath,
As you distinguish'd, undistinct,
By power, love, knowledge be,
Give me a such self different instinct,
Of these let all me elemented be,
Of power, to love, to know you unnumbered three.

(Stanza IV of John Donne's Litany)

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:

Everyday Grace

Abba, thank you
for everyday grace:
and more.

You are always faithful,
ever giving,
and completely loving.


(photo by DeemounUS via

Saturday Psalm #141

O LORD, I call to you; come.
Please come. Quickly.

Listen, not just to my voice,
but to my heart.

I pray that what I'm about to say
will be pleasing to you,
like incense offered in worship,
like a sweet-smelling sacrifice.

Send an angelic sentinel
to guard my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

Keep my heart from being drawn to evil.
Keep wicked deeds
and wicked people
far, far from me.
I want nothing to do with them.

Surround me with the righteous, Lord.
Even if they rebuke me, it will be a kindness;
if they have to correct me, it will be oil on my head.
Such help I will not despise.
But let those who want me to fail be disappointed,
sorely, Lord.

For my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD;
I take refuge in you, I find shelter in you.

Keep me from the snares of the Enemy,
from the traps set by his accomplices.

Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.


(based on Psalm 141; photo by MarleneBitzer via

So Much

Thank you for the weight I've lost,
The perspective I've gained,
Things enjoyed at no cost,
Strength to walk without pain,
Ears to hear a lovely song,
Eyes to see a precious sight,
Grace to choose not to do wrong,
Peace to sleep unburdened all night.

In the Garden of My Heart

Jesus, Jesus, lily of the valley,
bloom in all Thy beauty in the garden of my heart.

(a chorus by Sidney Cox; photo by RcktManIL via