I Am Thine

Grit

God, make me a man with "grit" in me;
a man who,
when he knows a thing to be right,
will not turn away, or turn aside, or stop;
a man who will persevere all the more
because there are difficulties to meet
or foes to encounter;
who will stand all the more true to my Master
because I am opposed;
who, the more I am thrust into the fire,
the hotter I become;
who, just like the bow,
the further the string is drawn
the more powerfully it sends forth its arrows,
and so the more I am trodden upon,
the more mighty I will become
in the cause of truth against error,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(modeled on lines by Charles Spurgeon; photo by frozenchipmunk via everystockphoto.com)

Fragrance

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.
Amen

(a prayer of Mother Teresa from the video Everyone, Everywhere, via the Daily Prayer blog)

When in Disgrace

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on Thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For Thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

(Sonnet 29, by William Shakespeare, very revised by capitalizing "Thee" and "Thy"; photo via everystockphoto.com)

Root and Grow


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

On 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 Thief's Prayer

Lord, remember me.
Remember me
when you feel like blessing someone.
Remember me
when you're handing out strength for the day,
rest for the night,
hope for tomorrow.
Remember me
when I forget you are near.
Remember me
when the crowd presses in on me.
Remember me
when others find fault,
and demand what I cannot give.
Remember when I'm stricken with fear,
and peace eludes me,
and I forget that you are in control.
Remember me, too, when cloudy skies clear,
and all seems well with the world.
Remember me, Lord.
Remember me, in Jesus' name, amen.

(image is a detail from a photo by dodo71 via pixabay.com)

Beaming Bright


Once more the sun is beaming bright,
Once more to you I pray,
That your eternal light may guide
And cheer my soul today.
Amen.

(a prayer of St. Ambrose of Mila, slightly revised)
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On Rosh Hashanah

So now, the Kedushah prayer shall ascend to You, for You, our God, are King.

Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles - it will read itself, and everyone's signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them - and they will say, 'Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!'- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment. 

All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock.  Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.

But repentance, prayer, and charity remove the evil of the decree!

For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately.

It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man's origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.

But You are the King, the Living and Enduring G-d.

There is no set span to Your years and there is no end to the length of Your days. It is impossible to estimate the angelic chariots of Your glory and to elucidate Your Name's inscrutability. Your Name is worthy of You and You are worthy of Your Name, and You have included Your Name in our name.

(a prayer for Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown today; photo by cstpdx via pixabay.com)

First and Last

Alpha and Omega, First and Last, I pray:
be my first thought every morning,
and my last thought every night.

Claim my first allegiance,
my last full measure of devotion.

Take first place in my heart,
and rule over every last affection.

Make me first to serve,
last to seek credit.

Let me please you first,
and all others last,
amen.

(photo by sferrario via pixabay.com)

Restore

Abba, please restore to me the joy of your salvation
and, with it, please restore my faith in people
and my ability to think and expect
the best of them,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via pixabay.com)

Exactly as I Am

Oh, Eternal One, it would be easier for me to pray if I were clear and of a single mind and a pure heart; if I could be done hiding from myself and from you, even in my prayers. But, I am who I am, mixture of motives and excuses, blur of memories, quiver of hopes, knot of fear, tangle of confusion, and restless with love, for love. I wander somewhere between gratitude and grievance, wonder and routine, high resolve and undone dreams, generous impulses and unpaid bills. Come, find me, Lord. Be with me exactly as I am. Help me find me, Lord. Help me accept what I am, so I can begin to be yours. Make of me something small enough to snuggle, young enough to question, simple enough to giggle, old enough to forget, foolish enough to act for peace, skeptical enough to doubt the sufficiency of anything but you, and attentive enough to listen as you call me out of the tomb of my timidity into the chancy glory of my possibilities and the power of your presence. Amen. 

(a prayer from Ted Loder's Guerrillas of Grace)

Dog Days on the Leash



For putting the dog days on the leash, we would give thee praise, our Father. 

We farmers come now to the day of reckoning. 

We can see where we plowed deep and where we cut corners. 

Reverently we celebrate the loaf-mass of our forefathers and we place on thine altar the first fruits of our harvest; if needs be we will bring more to feed all thy lambs. 

And now bless us as we show the firstlings of our flocks and herds for ribbons of white and yellow and red and blue. 

Help us like real men to be glad with what we get; and to accept the adjudgment in humble assurance that with thy continued help we can do even better in producing the meats and the milk, the bread and the butter, the cool fiber, and the warm, whereby little children flourish and the elder ones are comforted. 

Behold, O Lord, if the harvest truly is great, may we labor among the other seventy also. 

Amen. 

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

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
from your own hand.

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.
Give a fair and good day’s wage
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 blog; photo by skeeze via pixabay.com)

Save Me From the Internet

Save me
from the internet, Lord.

Save me
from all that would
invade,
pervert,
condition,
conform,
and inure me
to ungodliness and unhealthiness.

Make me a victor over all evil influences,
"taking every thought captive
to the obedience of Christ,"
in Jesus' name, amen.

Traveler Unknown

Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.

I need not tell Thee who I am,
My misery and sin declare;
Thyself hast called me by my name,
Look on Thy hands, and read it there;
But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.

In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold!
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

Wilt Thou not yet to me reveal
Thy new, unutterable Name?
Tell me, I still beseech Thee, tell;
To know it now resolved I am;
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

’Tis all in vain to hold Thy tongue
Or touch the hollow of my thigh;
Though every sinew be unstrung,
Out of my arms Thou shalt not fly;
Wrestling I will not let Thee go
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.

What though my shrinking flesh complain,
And murmur to contend so long?
I rise superior to my pain,
When I am weak, then I am strong
And when my all of strength shall fail,
I shall with the God-man prevail.

My strength is gone, my nature dies,
I sink beneath Thy weighty hand,
Faint to revive, and fall to rise;
I fall, and yet by faith I stand;
I stand and will not let Thee go
Till I Thy Name, Thy nature know.

Yield to me now, for I am weak,
But confident in self-despair;
Speak to my heart, in blessings speak,
Be conquered by my instant prayer;
Speak, or Thou never hence shalt move,
And tell me if Thy Name is Love.

’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy bowels move;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

My prayer hath power with God; the grace
Unspeakable I now receive;
Through faith I see Thee face to face,
I see Thee face to face, and live!
In vain I have not wept and strove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

I know Thee, Savior, who Thou art.
Jesus, the feeble sinner’s friend;
Nor wilt Thou with the night depart.
But stay and love me to the end,
Thy mercies never shall remove;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

The Sun of righteousness on me
Hath rose with healing in His wings,
Withered my nature’s strength; from Thee
My soul its life and succor brings;
My help is all laid up above;
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

Contented now upon my thigh
I halt, till life’s short journey end;
All helplessness, all weakness I
On Thee alone for strength depend;
Nor have I power from Thee to move:
Thy nature, and Thy name is Love.

Lame as I am, I take the prey,
Hell, earth, and sin, with ease o’ercome;
I leap for joy, pursue my way,
And as a bounding hart fly home,
Through all eternity to prove
Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.

(a hymn by Charles Wesley)

Dispose the Day

How Thou pleasest, God,
Dispose the day.

(William Shakespeare, Henry V, Act IV, Scene III)