Holy Monday Prayer

God of love,
My prayer is simple:
Your son, Jesus, suffered and died for me.

I know only
that I cannot have real strength
unless I rely on you.

I cannot feel protected
from my many weaknesses
until I turn to you
for forgiveness and your unalterable love.

Help me to share this
strength, protection and love with others.

(from One Prayer a Day for Lent)

On This Palm Sunday

On this day of great rejoicing,
Lord Jesus Christ,
when we welcome You as our King and Savior,
we also walk in the shadow
of Your cross.
Hosanna! we cry.
Blessed are You
who come in God’s name to save us.
Hosanna!
Strengthen our faith
on this Palm Sunday
so that when the time comes
to carry the cross
we might still call out to You
with heartfelt praise.
Give us the grace and the courage
to follow You this Holy Week
from death to resurrection,
from darkness to the fullness of light.
We need You, Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Hosanna! Amen.

Long Have I Loved You (A Birthday Prayer)

Long have I loved you,
But not nearly as much
As your great love deserves.
Each day I have left
Let me love and serve you
With more passion and zeal
Than the 22,645 (or so)
that have gone before.
Amen.

Help Me to Push Myself Aside

Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing.

I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.

(from A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor; photo by NASA via everystockphoto.com)

Be Merciful to Me, a Fool

O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

No pity, Lord,
could change the heart
From red with wrong
to white as wool;
The rod must heal
the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
‘Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

The ill-timed truth we might have kept–
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders — oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

(from a poem by Edward Rowland Sill)

A Poet's Prayer

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee,
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.  
(Robert Frost, "Cluster of Faith," from The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged; photo by StockSnap via pixabay.com)

Haven

Thank you for a place to hang my hat,
A refuge from the storm,
A place of comfort, peace, and love,
A haven sweet and warm.

Saturday Psalm #136

I give thanks to you, LORD, for you are so good.
Your love endures forever.

I give thanks to you, God of all gods.
Your love endures forever.

I give thanks to you, Lord of lords:
Your love endures forever.

You alone do great and mighty things;
Your love endures forever.

You made the heavens;
Your love endures forever.

You made me;
Your love endures forever.

You gave me a wife and incredible kids;
Your love endures forever.

You have filled my life with good things;
Your love endures forever.

Such grandchildren as I could never have imagined;
Your love endures forever.

You preserved my ministry through rough times;
Your love endures forever.

You preserved my children across many roads;
Your love endures forever.

You delivered me from sin;
Your love endures forever.

You freed me from depression;
Your love endures forever.

You have sheltered me from poverty;
Your love endures forever.

You have provided for me and mine, often miraculously;
Your love endures forever.

You have given me joy in your service;
Your love endures forever.

You have defended me over and over;
Your love endures forever.

You have taught me so very much;
Your love endures forever.

You have enriched me with good friends and neighbors;
Your love endures forever.

You have answered countless prayers;
Your love endures forever.

And worked so many wonders before my eyes;
Your love endures forever.

You have given me your salvation;
Your love endures forever.

Your Word;
Your love endures forever.

Your presence;
Your love endures forever.

And filled my heart, mind, and mouth with your praises;
Your love endures forever.

I give thanks to you, God of heaven.
Your love endures forever.

(based on Psalm 136; image by Shlomaster via pixabay.com)

Height and Length and Depth


I love you, Lord, my Strength.
I love you to the height and length
and depth of all there is of me,
with all my aching, flawed emotion,
all the grateful, awed devotion
all the all-in-all could draw from me. 

By the Other Light Supreme

Lord, loosen in me the hold of visible things;
   Help me to walk by faith and not by sight;
I would, through thickest veils and coverings,
   See into the chambers of the living light.

Lord, in the land of things that swell and seem,
   Help me to walk by the other light supreme,
Which shows Thy facts behind man's vaguely hinting dream.

(a prayer by George MacDonald, from Diary of an Old Soul; image by JerzyGorecki via pixabay.com)

In Your Hands

We’re in your hands,
We’re in your hands,
Whate’er the future holds,
We’re in your hands.
The days we cannot see
Are not a vaguery;
You’ve planned them perfectly.
We’re in
your
hands.

(variation on a hymn by Stanley Ditmer; pronouns and lines 5-7 revised; photo by comfreak via pixabay.com)

Afford a Spring to Me

Lord, afford a spring to me,
Let me feel like what I see;
Speak, and by your gracious voice,
Make my drooping soul rejoice.

On your garden deign to smile,
Raise the plants, enrich the soil;
Soon your presence will restore
Life to what seemed dead before.

(from a hymn by John Newton, slightly revised)

Winds of March

Who shall rebuke the winds of March or calm the raging snow waters?

Who but Thee, O Lord, who slept in the hinder part of the ship and commanded us to be not fearful.

And told the storm: be still.

Give us that same great faith, O God, as we come into the new spring.

Bless our plows, and our harrows too.

Let our grass seed fall on good ground, rot naturally in the moist earth, and live again in the warmth of the sun.

Bless every suckling on this place, our Father.

Strengthen the mothers, and spread their tender spirit of love and sacrifice into the hearts of men the world around.

We saw the wild geese in echelon flying, O God, and we are thankful.

Amen.

(from the book, The Farmer Gives Thanks; photo via everystockphoto.com)

The Springing of the Year

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

(by Robert Frost, from A Boy's Will)

Like a Child


Lord, grant that my grandchildren 
--and children--
may always pray with the same faith
and fervency
as when they were little, 
in Jesus' name, amen. 

What a Son

Oh, Lord, my God,
gone are the days  
when my little boy  
could climb into my lap 
and melt my heart with a smile. 
Gone are the nights 
when I could read him a book 
and smile with joy 
at his plea for more. 

But oh, what a son he still is today.
Oh, how you've blessed me,
not only with a boy,
but with such a son,
and such a husband,
and such a father,
and such a friend as he is.

And though I know it is selfish
to ask more when you have given so much already,
I ask.
Lord, I ask.

Please make his every dream
come true.
Please.

Make him like Enoch, who walked with you.
Make him like Noah, who found grace in your sight.
Make him like Abraham, who walked by faith.
Make him like Joseph, a dreamer and doer.
Make him like Moses, who walked on holy ground.
Make him like his namesake Aaron, who led your people into your presence.

Make him like Caleb and Joshua, who saw with eyes of faith.
Make him like Elijah, who received food from your hand.
Make him like Elisha, who was given a double portion.
Make him like David, who danced before you, a man after your own heart.
Make him like Jehoshaphat, who trusted in you.
Make him like Hosea, who forgave largely.

Make him like John, a beloved disciple.
Make him like Barnabas, a mentor and encourager.
Make him more than anything, like Jesus, lover of souls.

Bless him, Lord, on his birthday,
and every day to come,
as you have so blessed me with him,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Breastplate

Today I put on
a terrible strength
invoking the Trinity
confessing the Three
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker. 
Today I put on the power
of Christ's birth and baptism,
of his hanging and burial,
His resurrection, ascension,
and descent at the Judgement. 
Today I put on the power
of the order of the Cherubim,
angels' obedience,
archangels' attendance,
in hope of ascending
to my reward;
patriarchs' prayers,
prophets' predictions,
apostles precepts,
confessors' testimony,
holy virgins' innocence
and the deeds of true men. 
Today I put on
the power of Heaven,
the light of the Sun,
the radiance of the Moon,
the splendour of fire,
the fierceness of lightning,
the swiftness of wind,
the depth of the sea,
the firmness of earth
and the hardness of rock. 
Today I put on
God's strenghth to steer me,
God's power to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye for my vision,
God's ear for my hearing,
God's word for my speech,
God's hand to protect me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield for my shelter,
God's angels to guard me
from ambush of devils,
from vice's allurements,
from traps of the flesh,
from all who wish ill,
whether distant or close,
alone or in hosts. 
I summon these powers today
to take my part against every implacable power
that attacks my body and soul,
the chants of false prophets,
dark laws of the pagans,
false heretics' laws,
entrapments of idols,
enchantments of women
or smiths or druids,
and all knowledge that poisons
man's body or soul. 
Christ guard me today
from poison, from burning,
from drowning, from hurt,
that I have my reward.

Christ beside me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me.
Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie,
Christ where I sit,
Christ where I rise.
Christ in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouths of all who speak to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. 
Today I put on
a terrible strength,
invoking the Trinity,
confessing the Three,
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker.

(attributed to St. Patrick, called The Lorica, or Breastplate of St. Patrick: photo via everystockphoto.com)

Til the Storm

Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past.

(from "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," a hymn by Charles Wesley)

Saturday Psalm #135

I praise you, LORD!
I praise your name.
I praise you in solitude,
I praise you in the company of your servants,
who minister in your house,
who enter your courts with gratitude and joy.

I praise you, LORD, for you are good;
I am lifted up when I lift you up!

For you chose me.
Me.
You made me your treasured possession.
And you have shown me so much kindness.

You are great, Lord,
greater than all gods,
more to be desired than anything I can desire.

You do whatever pleases you,
and I pray for your will to be done
on earth, in me, and in mine,
as it is in heaven.

You came up with the idea of clouds,
and rain.
And lightning, Lord.
You conceived the wind.
You invented weather.

You brought your people out of Egypt
in ancient days,
and brought me out of depression,
loneliness,
darkness,
and sin.

You have shown me signs and wonders;
I've seen friends healed,
and delivered.
I've seen people crushed...
and healed, by your grace.
I've seen people get sober
and strong.
I've seen you turn hoarders into givers.

Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
your renown, O LORD, outlives all generations.
And you will vindicate your people;
you will have compassion on your servants.

The idols of this world and this culture are worthless.
They have nothing to offer.
They have nothing I want.

Let my house praise you, LORD;
Let the house of Aaron and Nina praise you.
Let the house of Kevin and Aubrey praise you.
Let all of your people praise you.
Let your praise resound in me
and around me.

Let it echo like a shofar from Zion,
like a trumpet from the walls of Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD.

Amen.

(image of actress Mary Pickford via perlinator at pixabay.com)

This Is My Work

Let me but do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
"This is my work; my blessing, not my doom;
"Of all who live, I am the one by whom
"This work can best be done in the right way."

(excerpted from the poem, "Work," by Henry Van Dyke; image via pixabay.com)

To Be a Pilgrim

Since, Lord, you do defend
me with your Spirit,
I know I at the end,
shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away!
I'll fear not what men say,
I'll labor night and day
to be a pilgrim.
(a prayer of John Bunyan, from "He Who Would Valiant Be," slightly modified;
image from a watercolor by David Roberts, public domain)

From Stupidity

O Lord, save me
from the stupidity of others,
and save them from mine.
Amen.

(image from a wood engraving by Gustave Doré)

Saturday Psalm #134

I praise you, LORD!
Let all your servants praise you;
morning, noon, and night
may hands
and voices
and spirits
be lifted up in your house
in praise to you!

LORD, you are the Maker of heaven and earth;
you can do anything.
You can certainly bless your people
from here to Zion today.

Please do so,
in Jesus' name, amen.

One Step Enough

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

(a prayer by Cardinal John Henry Newman; image by insanessa via pixabay.com)

To Boldly Embrace Uncertainty

Lord God Adonai, there is so much I don’t know.
I know nothing next to what you know.
I don’t know what my future holds.
I don’t even know what tomorrow—
or the next five minutes—holds.
But I know that you love me.
I know that you love the church.
I know that you love the world.
I know your plans for me are good.
I know your power is unlimited
and your love is unconditional.
And so, step by step, and moment by moment,
help me to trust you,
to be courageous and full of faith,
to boldly embrace uncertainty,
and to rely on you for whatever results,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(from the book, Quit Going to Church, pp. 212-213)

Apportion Plentitude

Father above, the sun swept away the hoarfrost and there was a crocus, blooming his heart out--a chalice of gold!

We peeked in the barn door, and there she was, up again, twin lambs at her side!

Help us to see that out of pain comes forth peace; out of storm, calm; out of fierce thunderheads, the blessed rains; out of a rent lion, honey.

If thou dost measure these winds to the sheep that are shorn, what have we to fear?

May new grass flourish the earth around.

May all the babes have milk enough.

And may we have sense enough to apportion plentitude, in thy name, who gives all.

Amen.

(from the book, The Farmer Gives Thanks; photo by Myriams-Fotos via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #133

Lord, your Word is true:
it is a good and pleasant thing
when people live together in unity!

Let it always be so
in your church, among your people,
like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron's beard,
down upon the collar of his robes.

Let it be like the dew of Hermon
if it were to fall on Mount Zion.

So, LORD, bestow your blessing,
and rouse your people to life,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(drawn from Psalm 133, image by plenio via pixabay.com)

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists

G-d of wisdom,
Bless medical scientists and researchers around the world
With insight and skill, dedication and fortitude,
As they combat coronavirus,
So that their work yields knowledge and understanding,
Speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.

Source of life,
Grant public health and government officials
The strength to act swiftly and decisively,
With compassion and understanding,
In service to humankind,
Fighting this outbreak
And the other diseases that still plague the planet,
Diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters,
Nations and communities,
Young and old.

Rock of Ages,
Bring an end to disease and suffering,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, רוֹפֵא כׇל בָּשָׂר, וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֺת׃
Praised are You G-d, healer of flesh, maker of wonders.

(©2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved; public domain image via pixabay.com)

Hard Workers

This prayer, abundantly answered for my children, I now pray once a month for my grandchildren (from the iPhone/iPad app, "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids," available in the iTunes app store, here):


One More Time


Forgive me, Lord,
and try me one more time.

(a prayer of Andrae Crouch; image by fancycrave1 via pixabay.com)

To Delight Our Great Landlord

Herder of the stars in the sky, we are grateful for the short month.

For unlatching the heavens and letting the new moon out. This snow must melt and this ice will gurgle into our stock pond under thy strengthening sunshine.

Even so, all our cold tears must turn to sweet water under the warmth of thy everlasting care and sprout the seeds of hope stored high and dry in our hearts.

Put thine unerring finger on our compass, Lord, that we run this terrace rightly and plan a year's work on this farm that will delight our Great Landlord.

Whether we seed, weed, feed, or breed, walk close by and lend us the counsel of the Good Shepherd, all of whose lambs we will feed, even as thou feedest us.

Amen.

(from the book, The Farmer Gives Thanks; photo by skeeze via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #132

Lord, remember me
and all my sufferings,
though small indeed compared to many.
I've made many promises to you.
I've vowed this and that over the years:
“I won't do it again,"
"I'll never go back,"
"I'll always remember
your mercy and grace to me."
Forgive my gold promises
and dross follow-throughs.

I still would dwell on your mountain, Lord,
and worship at the footstool of your throne.
Arise again in me, O Lord,
and fill me with your power.
Clothed me again in godliness;
inspire me again with songs of joy.
For the sake of your great Name,
do not reject me, your weakest of servants.
Your promises never fail;
you never take them back, as I do.
You have been so faithful to me
and to my descendants.
You have answered my prayers
generously and abundantly.
You have made my heart and my family
your home.

Bless me and mine and make us prosperous;
satisfy us in times of scarcity and times of abundance.
Clothe us all in godliness;
inspire us all with songs of joy.
Increase our influence
and make us a light to those around us,
Lord our God,
our great and glorious king.

For Mia on Her Birthday

Lord, watch over my sweet, wonderful granddaughter, Mia,
As her days increase;
Bless and guide her wherever she is, everywhere she goes,
Keeping her as lovely and kind as she is today
even as you increase her in wisdom, learning, and skill.
Continue to make her strong in faith and conduct.
Comfort her when she's sad or discouraged.
Lift her when she stumbles.
Surround her with friends and family
who respect, value, and love her.
And may the peace that passes understanding
and joy unspeakable
fill her heart and her days,
both now and ever more,
in Jesus' name,
amen.

When I Cannot See My Way

When I cannot see my way,
I will trust and still obey;
If you bid me forward go,
You will not fail the way to show.

Though the sea be deep and wide,
Though a passage seem denied,
I will still in faith proceed,
Wherever you, my Lord, may lead.

Amen.

(a prayer by Thomas Kelly, slightly revised)

Hör Mein Bitten

Hear my prayer, O God, incline Thine ear!
Thyself from my petition do not hide.
Take heed to me! Hear how in prayer I mourn to Thee,
Without Thee all is dark, I have no guide.

The enemy shouteth, The godless come fast!
Iniquity, hatred, up on me they cast!
The wicked oppress me, Ah where shall I fly?
Perplexed and bewildered, O God, hear my cry!

My heart is sorely pained, within my breast,
my soul with deathly terror is oppressed,
trembling and fearfulness up on me fall,
with horror overwhelmed, Lord, hear me call.

O for the wings, for the wings of a dove!
Far away, far away would I rove!
In the wilderness build me a nest,
and remain there forever at rest."

(anthem for soprano solo, chorus and organ or orchestra written by Felix Mendelssohn in Germany in 1844. The text, originally in English, written by William Bartholomew, is derived from Psalm 55' image via pixabay.com)

Fair Dust

Lord... how do I despise
What upon trust
Is styled honor, riches, or fair eyes;
But is--fair dust!
I surname them gilded clay,
Dear earth, fine grass or hay.

(a prayer of George Herbert;
image by MrsBrown via pixabay.com)

Nettles

Oh let me wake where nettles are growing
in the cool first light of a spring morning
the young leaves shining after a night's rain
a green radiance glistening through them

(excerpt from W. S. Merwin's poem, "Urticophilia," in The Moon Before Morning; photo via pixabay.com)

Saturday Psalm #131

O Lord, my heart is not proud (some of the time),
my eyes are not haughty (on occasion);
I do not pretend to understand great matters,
and do not aspire to great feats (more or less).

But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child wanting only its mother's presence,
that is how my soul reposes on you.

I put my hope in you, Lord,
both now and forevermore. Amen.

(photo by losiek via everystockphoto.com)

Valentine

Like summer snow
floating from a sun-filled sky,
draping airy-white on flowered fields,
Your love astonished me.

No frilly show,
no assorted-chocolate pledge,
no candy hearts or silver kisses
disclosed your care for me;

But unsparing,
thorn-wearing
cross-bearing love,
that opened hands and feet and side
to spill your heart for me,

To recreate,
inundate my longing soul
with giving, holding, accepting,
enfolding love for me.

Wilt Thou Forgive

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; illustration by JuiMagicMan via pixabay.com)

Prayer from an App

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