Alpha and Omega

copyright Bob Hostetler

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,

I Choose Not to Be Busy

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, help me to do each day
what I choose today:
I choose not to be busy.
I choose not be hurried or harried.
I choose to trust you to help me get done
all the work you have planned for me to do.
The rest will have to wait.
But I will walk through today in shalom,
with your help, in Jesus' name, amen.

Morning Prayer

copyright Bob Hostetler

Whatever comes my way today,
whatever men may do or say,
have your way in me
so everyone may see
I belong to you.

In all my hands may find to do,
let all the glory go to you,
give grace and peace I pray,
let all my actions say
I belong to you.

In waking and in sleeping, Lord,
give what strength your will affords,
and keep me through it all,
make sure I do not fall,
for I belong to you.

My Psalm 18

Bob Hostetler

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,
my God, my mountain in whom I take refuge,
my shield, my great salvation,
my stronghold.
I praise you, Lord, how I praise you!
I called on you, and I was saved from my enemies.

I was ensnared in the ropes of death.
Sin surrounded me, enveloped me,
like a yawning grave sucking me in.
The Enemy had me in his clutches.

I called on you in my distress.
I cried to you, God, for help.
You heard my voice from your heavenly sanctuary
and my cry for help reached your ears.

Like a horsed warrior, you came to my rescue,
shaking and quaking the earth
until the very foundations of the mountains trembled,
shaking violently at your approach.
Smoke from your nostrils,
and a raging fire from your mouth,
you have done it again and again:
splitting the heavens,
breaking through the clouds,
riding with angel escorts,
soaring on the wings of the wind.
making the darkness your servant
and the thunderheads your covering.
From the brightness of your presence
rain clouds disperse with hailstones and lightning.
You thunder in the heavens.
You, Most High, make your voice heard with hailstones and lightning.
You shoot your arrows and scattered your enemies
flashing streaks of lightning and throwing them into confusion.
You rolled back the waters until the ocean floor could be seen.
You laid bare the foundations of the earth with a stern word, O Lord,
and a blast of breath from your nostrils.

How can I ever doubt your power?
How is it that I ever become discouraged and feel downtrodden?

You reached down from high above and took hold of me.
You pulled me out of foaming water.
You’ve rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
though they were too strong for me,
they were no match for you!
I faced disaster and humiliation,
but you came to my defense, Lord.
You brought me out to a wide-open place.
You rescued me and smiled on me.

You have rewarded me
because of my righteousness in Christ,
because my hands are clean because of him.
You defend me
because I love you …and you love me.
It is by grace alone that I have not wickedly turned away from you, my God,
it is by grace that I have not turned away from you laws.
I am innocent and blameless in your eyes,
I have kept myself from guilt through your Son, Jesus,
and you reward me
because of my righteousness in Christ,
because my hands are clean because of him.

I am hardly faithful, but you have been faithful to me;
I am hardly blameless, but you have been utterly righteous in your dealings with me
and pure toward me who have been impure,
and thoroughly clever in overcoming my own deviousness.

You save humble people, Lord,
but you bring down the haughty.
O Lord, you light my lamp.
You turn my darkness into light.
With you I can advance against a battalion.
With you as my strength I can leap over a wall.

Your way is perfect!
Your promises have proven to be true.
You are a shield to all who take refuge in you.
Who is God but you, Lord?
Who is a rock except our God?
You arm me with strength
and make my way perfect.
You make my feet like those of a gazelle
and give me sure footing on high places.
You train my hands for battle
so that my arms can bend a bronze bow.
You have given me the shield of your salvation.
Your right hand supports me.
Your gentleness makes me great.
You make a wide path for me to walk on
so that my feet do not slip.
Oh, Lord, help me to chase my enemies and overtake them.
Help me to persevere until I have routed them,
wounded them so badly that they cannot get up.
Help me mow them down.
Arm me with strength for battle.
Make my enemies quail in fear
and turn their backs and run, crying out for help, but finding no one to save them.

Lord, save me from my tendency to shrink from conflict,
but help me to be courageous and compassionate;
rescue me in every conflict.
Make me a better leader.
Give me more true servants,
thick-skinned and selfless.

The Lord lives!
Thanks be to my rock!
May God my Savior be honored.
You vindicate me, Adonai!
Bring good people under my authority.
Save me from my enemies.
Lift me up above my opponents.
Rescue me from violent people.
That I may continue to give thanks to you, O Lord, among the nations
and make music to praise your name.
Give great victories to your church, to your servant,
and show mercy to those who are active in your service,
to all who serve in the spirit of David, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Blessed Lord, in Thee is Refuge

(A prayer of Herbert Booth, slightly revised)

Blessèd Lord, in you is refuge,
Safety for my trembling soul;
Pow’r to lift my head when drooping
’Midst the angry billows’ roll.
I will trust you;
All my life you shall control.

In the past too unbelieving
’Midst the tempest I have been,
And my heart has slowly trusted
What my eyes have never seen.
Blessèd Jesus,
Teach me on your arm to lean.

Give me trust that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near;
Grant me faith that changes fighting
Into vict’ry’s ringing cheer!
Faith triumphant,
Knowing not defeat nor fear,

A Prayer on December 26

O Lord, accept our thanks and praise for all you have done for us. Thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of Jesus’ Incarnation.

Thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

Thank you for giving us work and school and play, for tasks that demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments that satisfy and delight us. Thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our need for you and for dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks for you in all things, in Jesus’ name, amen.

A Prayer for Christmas Day

O God, our loving Father, help us to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the right way, that we may share in the joy of the angels, the excitement of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. May this Christmas Day make us happy to be your children, and this Christmas Night bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and being forgiven, in Jesus’ name, amen.

A Prayer for Christmas Eve

copyright Bob Hostetler

Gracious God, Abba Father, to whom glory is sung in the highest and through whom peace is proclaimed to people on earth, thank you for another Christmas Eve.

As long ago you sent angels to preach the good news of Jesus' birth, you have today ordained pastors and priests, ministers and musicians to speak and sing and lead this night and tomorrow. Lord, give them grace and strength to serve their flocks well, and bless them even as many of them sacrifice their own enjoyment to facilitate the celebration of others. I pray this especially for my coworkers John and Kay, in Jesus' name.

Lord, thank You for the joys of family and friends this season, together with the abundance of your blessings. Open our hearts and homes to those in need of company and this weekend that we may be Your instruments of love and charity, in Jesus' name.

In your mercy remember the homeless, hungry, and oppressed, and give them hope, Lord God. Protect the newborns among us, especially Sawyer and Mackenzie. Preserve those who are sick, or recovering from surgery or sickness, especially Sonya and Leah. Grant peace and healing to those who will be spending this Christmas in the hospital, and blessing to those who will wait on them. Guide the journeys of those who travel. Comfort those who mourn. Create a new and contrite heart in the erring and faith in those who have not heard the good news, in Jesus' name.

And Lord God, make a manger in my heart this Christmas morn, and in the hearts of those I love, and come, Lord Jesus, to that rude habitation, as you came to Bethlehem long ago, amen.

Stuff I've Never Thanked You For

copyright Bob Hostetler

Adonai, you have given me so much
beyond the basics
to thank you for
that there are whole categories,
entire catalogs
of stuff I've never thanked you for:

Thank you for postage stamps,
pre-gummed envelopes,
Christmas cards,
and Uniball writing pens.

Thank you for XM Radio,
and CD technology,
and the vast array of technologies that enrich
(and sometimes gum up)
my life.

Thank you for water,
for sugar,
for soft facial tissues,
for flip calendars,
for microwave ovens,
for walking sticks,
comfortable chairs,
clean fingernails,
and elevators in tall buildings.

Thank you for cordless telephones,
scented candles,
and photographs.

Thank you for reminding me to be thankful.
Thank you that I am so abundantly blessed
as to be thankful for the critical...AND the trivial,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 17

copyright Bob Hostetler

Hear me, Adonai,
listen to my cries,
pay attention as I pray,
even as you give me grace to pray rightly and honestly.

Let every syllable I pray come first from your mind and heart,
and let your eyes look on me with kindness and grace, because of your Son, my Savior.
You know my heart;
you see me more clearly than anyone,
I can hide nothing from you, who sees me just as I am.
Guard my lips, even now, as I cry out to you,
and let me pray truly, sincerely, honestly.
Guard my feet, let me walk uprightly,
and keep me from slipping into sin even as I pace before you.

I cry out to you, knowing you will hear me, O God:
Abba, read my heart, and bend your ear to my whispered pleadings.
Show me your love,
reveal your salvation, you who save all who trust in you.
Keep me as the apple of your eye,
and hide me under the shadow of your wings,
from those who attack me, from my deadly enemies, who surround me.
Save me from their hard, stubborn hearts,
their proud, wagging tongues.
They would love it to see me shamed,
they would thrill to thwart my best efforts.
They are destroyers, not builders,
anxious to tear me apart like a lion lurking in the bush.

Arise, O Lord, disappoint them. Frustrate them.
Deliver me from my Enemy’s attacks with your strong arm,
Save me from his messengers and tools with your mighty hand.
Keep me from all those who pursue worldly agendas
and selfish ends.
Turn them, Lord, according to your lovingkindness,
lest their children become like them.
As for me, I just want to see your face,
I just long to stand before you in righteousness:
Satisfy me, every morning, with your presence,
and that will be enough.

And Can It Be

copyright Bob Hostetler

I thank you, Lord Jesus, that you became sin for me--
and that I am become the righteousness of God in you!
"And can it be!"

Thank you for showing the exceeding riches of your grace in your kindness toward me. Thank you for sealing me with the Holy Spirit of promise. Thank you for making me part of a chosen generation, a member of a royal priesthood, one of a holy nation, your own special people, that I may proclaim the praises of you who called me out of darkness into your marvelous light. Thank you for all things eternal and temporal, with which you have blessed me so abundantly, in Jesus' name, amen.

Enlarge My Heart

copyright Bob Hostetler

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.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, I bow.
I bow.
I submit.
I surrender.

As you will, what you will,
when you will, how you will.

I give you my all: every thought, every action, ever moment, every fear, every hope, every desire, asking you to do with it all as you will, what you will, when you will and how you will, in Jesus' name, amen.

Flow Through My Soul, Redeem Its Desert Places

A prayer of Albert Orsborn, revised to fit the prayer of my heart

Lord, I would plunge into your healing waters;
Lifting my heart, I cry to Thee my prayer.
Spirit of peace, my Comforter and Healer,
In whom my springs are found, let my soul meet Thee there.

From a hill I know,
Healing waters flow,
O rise, Immanuel's tide,
And my soul overflow.

Wash from my hands the dust of earthly striving;
Take from my mind the stress of secret fear;
Cleanse Thou the wounds from all but Thee far hidden,
And let the waters flow, and my healing appear.

All that I need is in that healing fountain,
All I require to cleanse me and restore;
Flow through my soul, redeem its desert places,
And make a garden there for the Lord I adore,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Leap Over a Wall

copyright Bob Hostetler

Almighty God, I know that with you I can advance against a troop,
I can scale any wall (2 Samuel 22:30).

But how many troops are you gonna let come at me?
How many walls are you gonna let my Enemy throw in my way?

Feel free to let up any time, Lord.

For Missionaries

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, Adonai, I pray for all true missionaries of the Gospel around the world, but especially and specifically for those of my acquaintance:
Kara (InterVarsity), Rich and Lois (Navigators), Megan (Campus Crusade for Christ), Mark and Emily (Campus Crusade for Christ), Mark and Diane (Campus Crusade for Christ), Scott and Emily (Campus Crusade for Christ), Don and Christie (Camino de Vida), and Mike Buell as he prepares for his mission to Cameroon...

Ah, Lord God, please encourage them with your presence and blessing.
Save them from discouragement,
protect them from exhaustion,
heal them from the inevitable toll of ministry,
renew them,
give them dreams and visions and the strength to bring those dreams and visions to pass, by your grace.

Let all who labor in your vineyard--and especially those in foreign lands, antagonistic cultures, and stubborn circumstances--know the peace that passes understanding and the outpoured blessing that only you can give, like oil running down Aaron's beard, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 16

copyright Bob Hostetler

Protect me, God,
because I trust in you.

I say to you, Lord, "You are my Lord.
Every good thing I have comes from you."

Let me be counted among the godly people in the world,
the wonderful ones I enjoy.

Let me not be like those who turn to idols,
they will have much pain.
Let me not bow down to idols
nor even lean in their direction.

No, you, Lord, are all I need.
You take care of me.
You have given me a pleasant life;
should it end tomorrow, it has been beautiful.

I praise you, Lord, because you advise me.
Even at night, I feel your leading.
I want to keep you always before me.
As long as you are close by my side,
I will not be hurt.

So I rejoice and am glad.
Even my body has hope,
because I’m confident that you will not leave me in the grave.
You proved it by not letting your Holy One rot in the tomb,
but you will raise me as you raised him.
Please teach me how to live a holy life.
Give me your presence, and fill me with joy;
keep me at your right hand, where I will find pleasure forever,
in Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday Prayer

copyright Bob Hostetler

Wow, Lord, I feel beat up again this morning.

After twenty-five years of ministry, I should be getting the rhythms down, shouldn't I? Should I feel utterly exhausted, spent, and used up every Monday morning...even when I wasn't the preacher of the day on Sunday? Show me what I'm missing, Lord; help me to improve my grasp of the ups and downs of the pastoral week.

But how I thank you this Monday for those men and women in my life and ministry who lift up my arms and my spirit, who seem to want no glory, no stroking, no coddling, but serve faithfully and selflessly week after week, month after month, without threatening to quit or telling others about the things I'm doing wrong. You know who they are, Lord: I thank you that they're almost too numerous to mention by name.

Please give me more such friends and coworkers, in Jesus' name, amen.

An Evening Prayer

by George Stewart (from A Face to the Sky)

Weary with the dust and doings of the day,
We seek Thy favor in the healing of the night.
As homing birds our thoughts come back to Thee at eventide,
Even as little children seek their father's house.
From market, traffic, and all busy service of waking hours
We bring our labor, our hopes, and homes to be cleansed
In the shadow of Thy presence.
Helpless, when we could have been empowered of Thee,
We have turned aside from Thy will.
Restore within us a saving sense of our sin
And grant us forgiveness for false words and slighted work.
Thou Who givest to Thy beloved sleep,
Mend in the quiet of the night
The threadbare garment of our spirit
That on the morrow men wmay call us friend
And know no danger to their faith.
As pinions of night spread over land and sea
Come to us with healing in Thy wings
And we shall be changed
Into newness of life.


For My Bride

Abba, be with my bride,
my love,
my life,
my sun and moon,
this morning during her surgery.

Let every hand that touches her,
every eye that beholds her,
every sense that responds to her
move at the impulse of your will,
under the influence of your mercy and compassion.

Surround her with your angels.
Uphold her by your hand.
Strengthen her before...during...after...
and restore her to health,
and to me,
as quickly as your wisdom decrees,
in Jesus' name, amen.

God My Resource

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, thank you that you have given me everything I need for living a godly life and escaping all the decadence around me by taking part in your divine nature, inhaling your strength and grace (2 Peter 1:3-4)….although, I confess, it doesn’t always feel like I have everything I need.

Sometimes it feels like my account is empty, my strength is gone, my resources are nil. But you say differently, and I believe you, not my feelings.

So, Lord, help me to experience your divine supply, your sufficient grace, your ample strength. Thank you that I can draw on the limitless resources that come with your presence in my life…without drawing down the supply, in any way.

Thank you, in Jesus’ name, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Oh, Lord, my head is spinning.
And yet I have peace.

More people are mad at me
than ever before in my life.
And yet I have peace.

I leave on a business trip in an hour,
and am already missing my lovely bride.
And yet I have peace.

I know my Enemy is on the prowl;
I feel his breath on my neck.
And yet I have peace.

My workload increases ever faster,
so fast that I cannot keep up, let alone catch up.
And yet I have peace.

Thank you for the peace that passes all understanding;
let the peace of Christ rule my heart through faith,
today and this week,
and always,
in Jesus' name, amen.

What Do I Do?

Bob Hostetler

Abba, what do I do when I don't have time for all the disappointed, upset, disgruntled, offended, and angry people in my life?

What do I do when I can't possibly squeeze in another complaint or concern from a dear child of God who needs answers?

What do I do, Lord? I can't just cut people loose.
I can't put out forest fires with eyedroppers.
I can't be everyone's counselor.
I can't do this.

I know it all highlights my leadership failings, among other things,
and reminds me that it's a wonder anyone would partner with me in ministry (I know there's plenty of self-pity in that last part...sorry about that). But I need your help to respond to people, real people with real concerns, when I don't have anywhere near enough time to juggle all their complaints and concerns. My skin isn't anywhere near thick enough to hear it all and not take it personally. My mind isn't anywhere near sharp enough to have the answers for everyone.

I know that when the crowds pressed in on Jesus, he retreated to a lonely place, to be with you, Father. So, me, too. I come.

Help. In Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of John Baillie, Revised Only Slightly

O Holy Spirit of God, abide with me;
inspire all my thoughts;
pervade my imagination;
suggest all my decisions;
order all my doings.

Be with me in my silence and in my speech,
in my haste and in my leisure,
in company and in solitude,
in the freshness of the morning and
in the weariness of the evening;
and give me grace at all times humbly to rejoice
in your mysterious companionship,
in Jesus' name, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord Jesus, why do I expect my path to be easy, when yours certainly wasn't?
Holy Spirit, why do I expect people to listen to me, when I don't often listen to you?
Almighty Father, why do I expect everyone to like my leadership decisions, when your children don't always like yours?

Help me to rejoice, rather, in the testing of my faith and the trying of my patience, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 15

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I long to abide in your tabernacle;
I want to dwell in your holy hill, and bask in your presence.
So, Lord, cause me to walk uprightly,
do righteously,
speak the truth in my heart.
Guard me from slander,
from doing any harm to those around me,
from speaking evil of anyone.
Give me honest eyes that recognize evil,
and honor those who fear you, Lord.
Make me honest to a fault, true to my word.
Save me from greedy, stingy behavior,
and give me integrity that cannot be bought off.

Make me firm, immovable, always abounding in devotion to you…
that I might abide in your tabernacle;
dwell in your holy hill,
and bask in your presence.

Throw Open the Windows of My Soul

Father, my soul gets so cluttered: old hopes, broken dreams, dusty determinations, stored-up hurts and resentments, good intentions waiting to be pulled out at just the right time, undone tasks, unkempt thoughts, unrepented sins.

Come to my heart, Lord God,
throw open the windows of my soul,
sweep through its dusty confines,
clean out its musty places,
go through, blow through, flow through,
clear it,
clean it,
rearrange it,
and make it your own,
like a bride moving into a bachelor pad,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Post-Thanksgiving Confession

copyright Bob Hostetler

Forgive us, Lord, for the worship of this Thanksgiving just past:
for our worship of our bellies,
for our worship of the T.V. gods,
for our worship of football gods,
for our worship of the retail gods,
for our worship of sentiment and smarmy feel-goodism,
for our civic attempts to give thanks without mentioning you,
for our family feasts that pass by prayerlessly,
for bellying up to the table instead of kneeling in gratitude to you,
we acknowledge these sins and ask you to reveal those sins we are still blind to, in Jesus' name, amen.

Acrostic Thanks

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, for...

Aubrey and Aaron, my precious children,
Dreams you've made come true,
Every day of life and health so far,
Grins on friends' faces,
House and home,
Independence and interdependence,
Jesus, my Lord,
Karaoke--just joking, Lord. But also for
Laptop computers,
Moons and seasons, snows and melts,
Pumpkin pie,
Questioning minds,
Robin, my lovely bride and the love of my life,
Sense of humor,
Talks with old friends,
Variety in seasons, schedules, and sensations,
Whistles from distant trains,
X-rays that have saved me and those I love from harm,
You, Lord, my shield, my glory, and the lifter of my head,
Zion, your holy mountain, the joy of the whole earth,
in Jesus' name, amen.

I Cannot Do This Alone

(A prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

May the Mind of Christ

Yes, Lord,
May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him, amen.

Simple Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Give me a good digestion, Lord,
And also something to digest;
Give me a healthy body, Lord,
With sense to keep it at its best.
Give me a healthy mind, Good Lord,
To keep the good and pure in sigh,
Which seeing sin, is not appalled
But finds a way to set it right.
Give me a mind that is not bored,
That does not whimper, whine, or sigh;
Don't let me worry overmuch
About the fussy thing called "I."
Give me a sense of humor, Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some pleasure out of life
And pass it on to other folk
(prayer hanging in a cathedral at Chester, England,
shared by E. Stanley Jones in The Way to Power and Poise).

For Working in My Life

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Father, for seeking and finding me,
for drawing me,
for speaking and singing to me,
for wooing me,
for saving me (repeatedly),
for upholding and defending me,
for protecting me,
for building me up in my most holy faith, in Jesus' name, amen.

Thanks for Books

Bob Hostetler

Thank you for books, Lord.
Thank you for John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer.
Thank you for Watchman Nee's Sit Walk Stand.
Thank you for Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours.
Thank you for Mere Christianity, The Pursuit of God, and Knowing God.
Thank you for Eugene Peterson's books,
for Henri Nouwen's books,
for Buechner, Wangerin,
Thomas Merton, Andrew Murray, and F.B. Meyer.
Thank you for Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence.
Thank you for Oswald Chambers's My Utmost for His Highest and E. Stanley Jones's The Way to Power and Poise.
Thank you for Peter Marshall's sermons,
Robert Frost's poems,
Chris Van Allsburg's picture books,
David McCullough's history and biography,
and Louis L'Amour's fiction.
For these and more, I give you thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 14

Bob Hostetler

Father God, thank you that though I act foolishly often enough,
I know better than to say in my heart, “There is no God.”
Thank you for saving me from corruption, from works of evil;
though there is no one that does good, thank you that I possess the righteousness of Christ.
Lord, when you look down from heaven on this world full of people,
let your eyes light on me, even if there are no others seeking you,
even if everyone else has turned aside, and the whole stinkin’ world offends your purity, let me be found faithful.
Lord, let me be among the few who learn from their mistakes,
who treat others as precious children of God, and call upon you.
Save me from the misery of those who refuse to learn your ways,
and give me instead the heritage of the righteous.
Help me to shun the counsel of the poor,
and always make you my refuge.
Let my salvation arise daily like the sun over Zion!
Let me rejoice like a returning exile and be glad because of your many blessings, amen.

Mill Prayer

Lord God, make me like a mill beside a flowing stream. Let living water flow through me. Let your mighty power be harnessed and channeled and focused as it flows through my life. Let it flow out of me to bless and benefit all those around me, the whole community, rich and poor, big and small, those I know and those I don't, those I like and those I don't, making us all healthier and better, in Jesus' name, amen.

As in the Exile

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, just as in the exile you laid down careful plans (Ezekiel 40-48) for your people to return and occupy the Land and build the Temple, so would you please mark out yourself the land you've given to Cobblestone, and reveal to us your plans for its use, to the glory of your name, in Jesus' name, amen.

Fearing People

copyright Bob Hostetler

Adonai, your Word says,

"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety" (Proverbs 29:25, NLT).

Lord, you know I am and have been a people-fearer, a people-pleaser. Please save me, deliver me from that. Cause me to serve, fear, and seek to please ONLY you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Head in the Clouds

copyright Bob Hostetler

My head was in the clouds this morning, Lord,
as you blanketed the world with fog.
My eyes were filled with stars last night,
and the crescent-moon you hung in the sky.

My heart sings your praise, Father,
my eyes spy your nature in Nature,
God of beauty,
God of variety,
God of storm and calm,
God of clear and covered,
God of earth dirt and star dust;
my heart sings your praise, in Jesus' name, amen.

Wheel of Wisdom

copyright Bob Hostetler

Okay, Father, since I'm pretty doggone quick to complain and protest when my frequent prayers for wisdom seem to fall on deaf ears,
when the wheels seem to be falling off my wagon,
I must thank you now for those times--like just recently--
when you seem to be greasing the wheels
and making my way smooth.

You've given wisdom,
you've granted success,
you've brought clarity to my mind
and peace to my heart,
and I say thank you.

Thank you.

Against Forgetfulness of My Need

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, I so easily forget my need of you.
I so easily and regularly lapse
into thinking I can "live for a length of time
without fellowship with the Lord Himself" (Murray, The Prayer Life, p. 138).
Please cleanse me of this hidden fault, in Jesus' name, amen.

Wean Me

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I pray, wean me from sin, my pet sins, my most grievous sins. I know that in me dwelleth no good thing, but you are able to keep me from falling. I know that when I sin, not only that moment is defiled, but my hunger for sin and its empty promises is fed, and my strength to resist and please you more is doubly diminished like an athlete who not only skips a workout but spends the workout hour in strength-sapping activity. So, Lord, please change me, strengthen me, wean me from pride, lust, greed, self-centeredness, laziness, faithlessness, and all such things, that I might build up the muscles of my character and be the man I want to be instead of the man it's easy to be, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 13

Bob Hostetler

It sure does seem like you forget me sometimes, Lord.
I know it’s not forever, but why do you seem to hide your face from me?
Why do I have to content myself with taking counsel in my soul,
as if you give others “clear” signs written in neon and leave me to stumble in the darkness…or the fog?

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God:
clear my eyes and light my way;
let my enemy never be able to say, “I win!”
nor let those that wish me ill yuk it up.

I have trusted in your mercy,
and my heart still rejoices in your saving kindness to me.
I will sing to you, Lord, because even on my worst days, you have dealt bountifully with me.

Solomon Prayer

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I sure could use some of that divine wisdom you gave Solomon.

I don't have the wisdom to lead this great people of yours. I am constantly and consistently being blindsided by my own incompetence or thoughtlessness as a leader, and others' needs and expectations. I am still coming up with new and imaginative ways to offend people, even those I love most. Some days it seems like the only safe way to relate to me, my work, and my calling is from a distance.

Wisdom, Lord, I plead for wisdom. Shoot, at my age, you'd think I'd have a lot more than I do. But I confess my lack, my inadequacy, my seemingly limitless deficiency, and ask you (for the sake of your name and your flock) to be wise in and through me, when I'm aware of it and when I'm not, in Jesus' name, amen.

Salvation from Pettiness

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, please save your servant from pettiness...
from envy and jealousy...
from pride and arrogance...
from self....

Satisfy me with what you are doing in, through, and around me, and let me rejoice fully in all you choose to do elsewhere, in Jesus' name, amen.

Ezekiel Prayer

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, plunder those who would plunder your people (Ezek. 39:10);
Be our help (Ezek 39:13) and bring about victory;
demonstrate your glory in and through us;
Show everyone (39:22) that you are God, that you are OUR God;
Please don't turn away from us, Lord (39:23)...purge us completely, cleanse us thoroughly, of any and all sin in our camp;
Let no one make us afraid (39:26);
And pour out your Spirit on us (39:29), in Jesus' name, amen.

Baby Confessions

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I confess, I am such a baby. I want everything to come quickly and easily.

But I also want the fruit of discipline and hardship. I live in the midst of your great works, which so often grow in darkness. So I receive, Lord. You are, I know, increasing my faith and thus my joy. Thank you.

My Psalm 12

copyright Bob Hostetler

Help, Lord, for it so often seems that the godly are disappearing,
that there are so few faithful hearts among the children of men.
They lie and flatter,
and say one thing to my face and another behind my back.
Shut their flattering mouths, Lord,
and stop their tongues from speaking arrogantly.
Show them to be wrong who think their lies will advance them,
who believe they are beyond correction or condemnation.

Arise, Lord, on behalf of the poor;
hear the sighs of the needy.
Safely surround those who long for your deliverance.

Your words, Lord, are pure words:
they are like silver in a blazing furnace, perfectly pure.

So fulfill your Word, Adonai. Guard the humble; preserve the upright,
protect us all from this lying generation,
where the wicked walk on every side,
and the unfaithful are exalted.

A Prayer of Albert Orsborn

Saviour, if my feet have faltered
On the pathway of the cross,
If my purposes have altered
Or my gold be mixed with dross,
O forbid me not Thy service,
Keep me yet in Thy employ,
Pass me through a sterner cleansing
If I may but give Thee joy!

All my work is for the Master,
He is all my heart's desire;
O that He may count me faithful
In the day that tries by fire!

Have I worked for hireling wages,
Or as one with vows to keep,
With a heart whose love engages
Life or death, to save the sheep?
All is known to Thee, my Master,
All is known, and that is why
I can work and wait the verdict
Of Thy kind but searching eye.

I must love Thee, love must rule me,
Springing up and flowing forth
From a childlike heart within me,
Or my work is nothing worth.
Love with passion and with patience,
Love with principle and fire,
Love with heart and mind and utterance,
Serving Christ my one desire.

Let it be so, in Jesus' name, amen.

For Overworked Servants

copyright Bob Hostetler


I pray for overworked servants,
for those who are so faithfully spending themselves, liberally, generously, profligately, even.
I pray for those who are nearing the end of their resources, and those who have reached that point and yet somehow manage to keep going, keep serving, keep giving, not out of their abundance but out of their poverty.

Come quickly to their aid, Lord.
Supply them magnanimously.
Open the windows of heaven on them.
Shower them with grace,
renew them with strength,
and lift them up in your invisible arms,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer for my Book

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, I pray for my book, American Idols, coming out in January.

I recall your kindness in the writing,
how I felt your power and energy and inspiration
through that whole process.

Now, Lord, as you inspired its composition,
please inspire its preparation.
Prepare places in bookstores and on shelves for it.
Make the publisher attentive to it,
and bless their attempts to promote it and place it.

Make me wise and discerning and diligent in my efforts
to get the book into people's hands.

Let its ministry multiply by word of mouth, Lord,
and use it to the glory of Jesus' name, in which I pray, amen.

From A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie

Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of Thee,
let my first impulse be to worship Thee,
let my first speech be Thy name,
let my first action be to kneel before Thee in prayer.

For Thy perfect wisdom and perfect goodness:
For the love wherewith Thou lovest mankind:
For the love wherewith Thou lovest me:
For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life:
For the indwelling of Thy Spirit in my heart:
For the sevenfold gifts of Thy Spirit:
I praise and worship Thee, O Lord.

Yet let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of Thee. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day;
Keeping me chaste in thought:
Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech:
Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work:
Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself:
Keeping me honourable and generous in my dealings with others:
Keeping me loyal to every hallowed memory of the past:
Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Thine.

O God, who hast been the Refuge of my fathers through many generations, be my Refuge to-day in every time and circumstance of need. Be my Guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my Guard against all that threatens my spirit's welfare. Be my Strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with Thy peace; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

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

Quietness and Confidence

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, make me a fulfillment of your Word: "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." Let me so rest in you, recline on you, repose in you, that I will neither fear nor worry about anything, in Jesus' name, amen.

For My Wife

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I pray for my wife right now:
strengthen her and deliver her;
let her deliverance come like the dawn;
let her energy and ability exceed the limitations of her body;
bless her, keep her,
make your face to shine upon her and be gracious to her,
lift up your countenance on her, and give her peace, in Jesus' name, amen.

Moon Prayer

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you for last night's harvest moon, Lord; how beautiful it was,
and how mesmerizing its dance amid the clouds.

Let me reflect your glory as faithfully
as the moon borrows light from the sun, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 11

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I take refuge in you;
Though sometimes I feel like flying off to the mountains—
when critics and cynics seem to be aiming for me,
notching arrows on their bowstring
to shoot at me,
and the ground seems to give way under my feet,
leaving me nowhere to stand.

But, Lord, you are still in your holy temple;
you are still on the throne.
Your eyes see everything, your insight still pierces the darkness.
You see my plight no less than their intentions,
And I know you have no desire to see their hateful, violent intentions come to pass.
Remind me, Lord, that sooner or later, you will trip them up;
and they’ll learn the hard way.
Lord, you are righteous; I know that. You love righteousness.
Help me to remain upright, even in times of trial, that I may behold your face.

Patience and Impatience

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, please make me patient...and impatient.
Make me patient with the things you're patient with,
and impatient with the things you're impatient with,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For How I Pray These Days

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, thank you that my praying has become--
by your gracious work--
less a matter of "I want, I want,"
and more "I surrender, I surrender,"
much less a seeking after what I desire
and more a seeking after what you will.

My Faith is in You

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, my faith is not in the power of prayer, but in you.
My faith is not in the multitude of my words,
nor in the intensity of my devotion, but in you.

I submit to you, and ask you and trust you to show yourself strong, in Jesus' name, amen.

For the Church in Oxford

copyright Bob Hostetler

Adonai, I pray for your Church in Oxford, that you would strengthen and enlarge it. Bring peace, unity, and victory to every church, to all the churches. Bring about greater cooperation and effectiveness, and let many come to you this fall and this coming year because of your church's faithfulness, in Jesus' name, amen.

It Suffices to Say

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, it suffices to say, you are my fortress,
my defender,
my armor,
my coat of Kevlar,
my tower,
my help,
my rescuer,
my Marines,
my cavalry,
my Dread Warrior,
Captain, my Captain,
my mountain of strength,
my miracle at the eleventh hour.

For This Day

copyright Bob Hostetler

For this day,
its work,
its prayer,
its music,
its nourishment,
its comfort,
its reading,
its fellowship,
its learning,
its safety,
its accomplishment,
its waking,
its sleeping,
its coming and going,
its beginning and its end,
I give you my heartfelt thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 10

Bob Hostetler

Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you seem to hide yourself in troubled times?

You see the wicked: how they prey on the weak,
who are caught in scheme after scheme.
You see the wicked: how they boast about their ambitions,
as if greed were a virtue.
You see the wicked: how they treat you like their servant,
never thinking of you until it suits their purposes.
You see them, and yet they seem to be doing just fine;
they keep making money hand over fist,
things keep going their way,
and they’re having the times of their lives.
They curse and lie and threaten,
their tongues drip with evil.
They victimize good people,
and treat the poor and helpless with contempt.
They crush their victims,
and annihilate their competitors.
And they act as if you don’t even see what’s going on,
and sometimes it sure does look that way, Lord.
Arise, Lord! Take up weapons, O God.
Defend the helpless.
against those who revile you
and ignore you.
I know that you see people’s trouble and grief, Lord;
you consider it all carefully, and turn it around in your hand.
I know you’re attentive to victims,
the helper of the fatherless.
So do something! Show your strength against the wicked;
call them to account for their wickedness.

Adonai, you are King for ever and ever;
you have the power to banish the wicked.
Listen, Lord, to the cries of the afflicted;
encourage them, show them that you hear, that you care.
Rescue the victims of Hurricane Katrina,
and Hurricane Rita.
Defend those who are widowed or fatherless
because of bin Laden and al-Zarqawi.
Defend those who are preyed upon
by others who are more powerful,
more wealthy,
more callous,
that those who cause terror may terrify no more.

In You, O Lord

copyright Bob Hostetler

In you, O Lord, do I put my trust.
Not in myself,
not in my own righteousness (which is filthy rags),
not in my own obedience (for I am a sinner, and when I do obey you, it is all of you),
not in my service,
not in my gifts,
not in my sense of my own spirituality,
but in you alone. I trust you.

Into your hands I commend my spirit, O Lord, O God of truth;
please keep me as the apple of your eye and hide me under the shadow of your win, in Jesus' name, amen.

Teach me

copyright Bob Hostetler

Teach me, Lord, to be more a man of vision, and to know how to convey that vision to others.
Teach me to hear you when you're kind enough to send me a message, and make me discerning to understand and quick to obey.
Teach me still more to cast all my cares on you.
Teach me patience and trust. Increase my faith, my obedience, my focus, my influence, my strength in you, in Jesus' name, amen.

God My Teacher

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, how I thank you for all you're teaching me:
to walk in your Spirit,
to trust you more and more,
to rest in you,
to live in peace,
to believe you and not get worked up about things I know you still control,
to listen to you,
to wait for your answer,
to remember your calling and wait for the vision to be fulfilled,
to be patient...
for all these things--and more that I'm not even cognizant of right now--
I give you thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer for Wisdom

copyright Bob Hostetler

I pray for wisdom, Lord--in general and specifically. I lack the wisdom to lead your people, as well as the wisdom to grasp the spiritual warfare that so often rages around me. Please show me the things I need to see, teach me the things I need to learn, and supply all that is lacking in my faith and in my wisdom. Without you, apart from you, I know nothing. But I have the mind of Christ; teach me to use that mind, to see with it, to decide with it, to act with it, to rely on it, in Jesus' name, amen.

Save Me From Gluttony

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, please save me from gluttony.
Let me say with my actions that my belly is not my god.
Teach me to eat for nourishment and enjoyment,
but not in a futile attempt to fulfill spiritual or emotional needs.

Control my eating today, Lord;
transform me physically by renewing me mentally and spiritually,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

I Want to Be a Man

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I want to be a man...
...who rises early,
...who eases into the day, thinking of prayer before food, spiritual above physical,
...who works hard, but not frantically,
...who creates, not just functions,
...who eats lightly and healthily,
...who exercises but not slavishly--to be in shape and to be useful, not impressive,
...who knows and expects that unexpected things will happen, and keeps enough margin in his month, week, and day to cope with the unexpected,
...who is confident enough of your pleasure that he doesn't sweat pleasing others,
...who is focused but not myopic,
...who knows how to rest, how to say no, and how to do without,
...who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with you...

Make it so, Lord, please, in Jesus' name, amen.

Help My Unbelief

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, in faith I beseech you for more faith...
more trust in you.
Build me up in my most holy faith,
until I believe wholeheartedly every word you've spoken,
every promise you've given,
everything you say by your Spirit to my spirit.
I believe, Lord; help my unbelief, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 9

Bob Hostetler

I will praise you, Lord, with my whole heart;
I will mention your marvelous works.

I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing my praises to you, O Most High.

When my enemies retreat,
it is you—not me—who causes them to fall and fail.
For you have defended my cause;
you judge justly from your throne.

You have rebuked the heathen,
you have destroyed the wicked,
you have erased their legacy for ever.

I have seen, Lord, that you let your enemies stew in their own juices;
you let their own words and deeds destroy them
and erode their reputations.

But you, Lord, endure for ever;
your throne, your place of judgment, is established.
You judge the world in righteousness,
and you rule its people fairly and faithfully.

You are also a refuge for the oppressed, Lord,
a shelter in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will put their trust in you,
for you never fail those who seek you.

I sing your praises, Lord, in my home, church, and community;
I will openly give you the credit you deserve.
I know that you are my defender; you do not ignore my humble cry.
Have mercy on me, Lord;
focus your gaze on those who cause trouble for me,
and lift me out of their clutches and the need I sometimes feel to defend myself,
so that my deliverance will be clearly your doing,
and my salvation will bring glory to you, not me.

Let the wicked, the hypocritical, the scheming, the resentful,
see their sin and turn from it,
or else be snared in the traps they lay for others.
You, Lord are just in all your works;
the wicked are justly brought down by you.

Let them go down, Lord;
let the fate of all those who ignore you befall them.
But remember the needy,
and let not the hopes of the poor be crushed.

Arise, Lord!
Don’t let silly humans defy you.
Straighten them out; straighten us all.
Let your enemies tremble in fear, Lord,
remind them that you are Sovereign…and they are not. Amen.

Bubbles in the Wind

copyright Bob Hostetler

Sometimes, Lord, my faith seems so fragile.
Like bubbles in the wind.

They sparkle with transparent color
and wobble in the wind,
frail and fine.

I want my faith to be strong.
I want to feel in control.

But then I remember
it’s their delicate weakness
and their utter surrender to the breeze
that allow bubbles in the wind to fly.

Foucald's Prayer of Abandonment

by Charles de Foucald

I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures--
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

For Evils that Never Happened

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, that much evil that could have happened to me today didn't.

Thank you that I didn't run out of gas,
that I didn't get a ticket or a toothache.

Thank you that I didn't stub my toe or bite my tongue.

Thank you that I didn't hurt a friend or a loved one...or anyone.

Thank you that I didn't trip and fall,
that I didn't lose my wallet,
that I didn't lose my voice,
that I didn't lose my job,
that I didn't lose my health,
that I didn't lose my wife,
that I didn't lose my children,
that I didn't lose my mind...yet.

Thank you that I didn't fall into conscious, willful sin.

Thank you that I didn't neglect you in prayer.

In this and in everything, Lord, I give thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 8

Bob Hostetler

O Adonai my Lord, how incredible is your name
in all this sphere, throughout nature;
everywhere I look I see your signature!

You have painted your glory in the star-speckled skies;
your praise even gurgles in the mouths of newborns and children,
while your hands clamp shut lions’ mouths,
and your works leave your enemies speechless.

I don’t spend enough time outdoors these days, God,
but when I do I am struck by the majesty of your heavens,
the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,
which you have hung in place.

It awes me, confronts me with my littleness.
Yet you made us humans to be like you,
in your image,
and have crowned us with glory and honor.
You made us stewards over the works of your hands
and put all things under our feet:
sheep and cattle, and the beasts of the field;
the birds, the fish, and even crabs and lobsters, for crying out loud.

O Adonai my Lord, how incredible is your name
in all this sphere, throughout nature;
everywhere I look I see your signature!

Tiny Praise from a Tiny Soul

copyright Bob Hostetler

I praise you, Blessed God, King of the universe,
who grants me breath and life and health,
who lifts me up when I am down,
who shows infinitely more mercy to this wretched sinner than I deserve,
who holds me and my family in the palm of your hand,
who has given me a meaningful and rewarding vocation (or two),
who forgives, forbears,
understands, undergirds,
upholds, uplifts,
refines, refreshes,
overwhelms, and overflows
my poor, tiny, undeserving soul.

I praise you, Blessed God, King of the universe.

Thanks for Weaknesses

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, I give thanks to you for my every weakness, fault, failing, and imperfection--
my pride and "need" to be right,
my perfectionism,
my need for security,
my obsessive-compulsive nature,
my tendency to lust and gluttony,
my impatience,
my difficulty in listening to others,
my rude tendency to interrupt,
my leanings to self-pity,
my greed,
my foolishness,
my cluelessness,
my wont to act precipitously,
my people-pleasing ways,
my reluctance to confront and speak truth--
I accept these (and oh, so many, many more) as a favor from you and a means of your working your gracious will in my life; open doors for me to learn humility and dependence on you; reminders that you are far from done with me, and have not given up on me; and opportunities for you to show yourself strong in and through my weakness; for all of which I am grateful, in Jesus' name, amen.

God of Joyful Shouting

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I praise you because you are
a God of joyful shouting,
a God of celebration,
a God who leaps and dances,
a God who sings,
a God who is (in Tozer's words) "having a good time!"

God, help me to know your joy, your zeal, your zestful nature. Put me in touch with your singing, dancing, shouting heart. Let me laugh with you today and enjoy what you enjoy. Restore to me the joy of your salvation...of your very nature, in Jesus' name, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

You are worthy, Lord--
to receive power
and wealth
and wisdom
and strength
and honor
and glory
and praise.

Blessing and honor and glory and power are yours, Lord, the Lamb of God who sits upon the throne.

The conjunctions in those lists, Lord--"and...and...and"--emphasize to me that you are worthy of all, equally and completely. One is not your due more than another; there is no heirarchy or ranking of your worthiness, but you are worthy of it all, and I give it to you now, and desire to give it to you more fully and faithfully, in Jesus' name, amen.

Unchanging God

copyright Bob Hostetler

Father, you have been good. You have been oh, so faithful, to me.

I am changeful, you are constant.
My faith is fleeting and mercurial, you remain the same.
I fly to you and flee from you, yet you are always with me.

Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer for Audacity

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, recent events, rebukes, and corrections that I believe have come to me from your hand, in your wisdom, may threaten to make me more timid in leadership. Please prevent that. Save me from pussyfootedness.

Give me instead the audacity that comes with knowing you are My Captain, My Great Warrior, My Dread Champion, in Jesus' name, amen.

Fairest Lord Jesus

Bob Hostetler

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus, you're fairer, Jesus, you're purer,
You make the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
You, Lord, shine brighter, you shine far purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than you, my Savior, are to me.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

My Psalm 7

Bob Hostetler

I come to you for protection, O LORD my God.
Save me from my Persecutor—rescue me from the devil's traps.
If you don't, he will maul me like a lion,
tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

O LORD my God, if I have done wrong
or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
or plundered even an enemy,
then I know I am in the Adversary's clutches;
he will trample me into the ground.
My honor will be left in the dust.

Arise, O LORD, in anger!
Stand up against the fury of my Enemy!
Wake up, my God, and bring justice!
Gather the nations before you.
Sit on your throne high above them.
You, LORD, pass judgment on the nations.
Declare me righteous, O LORD,
Make me innocent in your sight, O Most High,
even if it means correcting me, rebuking me,
stopping me cold in my tracks and turning me around.
End the wickedness of the ungodly,
but help all those who obey you.
For you look deep within the mind and heart,
O righteous God.

God, you are my shield;
you save those whose hearts are true and right.
(Make me one of them).
You are a judge who is perfectly fair.
(I know you will be fair--and merciful--with me).
You are angry with the wicked every day.

If a person does not repent,
you will sharpen your sword;
you will bend and string your bow.
You will prepare your deadly weapons
and ignite your flaming arrows.
So I repent. I repent. I repent.
Show me any and all wickedness in me,
and create in me a clean heart.

The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a pit to trap others
and then fall into it themselves.
They make trouble,
but it backfires on them.
They plan violence for others,
but it falls on their own heads.
Save me from intrigue, Lord;
deliver me from anything that smacks of double-mindedness.

I will thank you, LORD, because you are just;
I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

God, You Are Good

copyright Bob Hostetler

God, you are good.
Recent days have been a slog.
My back has been bowed,
my mind a fog,
my heart leaden.

But you have come to me again, Lord.
You met me in prayer.
You sang to me,
relieved my cares,
and lifted me up.

God, you are good.
My eyes have been on all the wrong things:
people, circumstances, obstacles, problems.
You turned my head
and trained my eyes on you once more.

Thank you, God. You are good.


copyright Bob Hostetler

Arise, Lord, let your enemy be scattered and routed by the worshipful obedience of your people and the repentant response of the seeking, in Jesus' name, amen.

Save Me From Posturing

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, save me from posturing in prayer (even in private!). Save me from trying to be "literary" or "profound" in my communion with you. Steer me toward expressing my true feelings and desires, not just "thoughts." Even in this, I must trust you to complete my prayer by your Holy Spirit, because I'm not saying it well (!)--but you know, Lord.

Too Wonderful for Me

copyright Bob Hostetler

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.

Unpleasant Tasks

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner.

You persevered through unpleasant tasks, Lord. You corrected thick-headed disciples. You rebuked your closest friends. You agonized in Gethsemane over your approaching passion. You gritted your way through your execution.

Help me to do half so well. Help me through the unpleasant tasks that face me. Help me to stay dependent on you, and not on my own strength. Help me, Lord, help me.

Help me not to mistake ease for your blessing, or pleasantness for your will. I surrender my desire for a smooth path and an easy road to you, even as I ask your grace to bless both my obedience and my stupid mistakes, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 6

Bob Hostetler

Adonai, please spare me from your anger;
in your discipline, please be gentle.
Lord, have mercy on me right now; I am weak.
Be tender with me; I’m fragile.
I don’t even know, really, what’s wrong with me;
how long will it be like this?

Abba, return to me and save me;
flood me again with your kindness.
Dead spirits don't remember you;
people stuck in the depths of depression don't praise you.

I am worn out; I’m even tired of crying on your shoulder.
Some nights I sleep okay,
some nights I toss and turn.
Some days I seem constantly close to tears,
other days I feel numb and unable to cry.

I feel like screaming, “Get away from me,
all you who do evil,
you whiners,
you complainers;
all you with petty agendas,
and transparent strategies.
Just leave me alone.”
Lord, give me faith to believe that you hear my crying.
Help me hope that you have heard my cry for help
and will answer my prayer.
Let all those who want to spread doubt and division—
who would rather complain than serve,
who withhold forgiveness while asserting their righteousness,
who have a million ideas but no desire to pitch in—
let them be ashamed and troubled.
Let them turn and suddenly leave in shame.

To My Willing Creator

copyright Bob Hostetler

Thank you, Lord, that you were pleased
to form the heavens and the earth,
that you lovingly and laughingly created the otter and the eel,
the hawk and the hippopotamus,
that you designed roses and orchids,
blacked-eyed Susans and black-eyed peas,
that you delivered Israel out of Egypt
and me out of sin and condemnation,
thank you that out of "happy willingness," as Tozer said,
you made me whole and gave me new life and fellowship with you, amen.

Save Me From Negative People

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I am so tired of negative people.

Help me, Lord, to give grace to them without giving them too much space, space to bring me down with them. Help me to take part in their healing without becoming infected by their negativity. Help me to be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger...but also quick to "drive out the mocker, and...strife, quarrels and insults" (Proverbs 22:10).

Help me to become more like you and not like them. Save me from negative people. Save me from my own small faith. Help me to learn from the wise, and not be dragged down by nitpickers and faultfinders, in Jesus' name, amen.

Make Me Like

copyright Bob Hostetler

Gracious God, by your grace,
Make me like Enoch, who walked with you;
Make me like Noah, who found favor in your sight;
Like Abraham, who was your friend;
Like Joseph, who served you through thick and thin;
Like Moses, who saw your glory and led your people;
Like David, a man after your own heart;
Like Daniel, who stood--and knelt--before kings;
Like John, the beloved;
Like Peter, the rock;
Like Paul, the father of churches and "man of letters."

Most of all, make me like Jesus, conform me to the image of your Son, as you transform me from glory to glory, in Jesus' name, amen.

God My Anchor

Bob Hostetler

God, my God, teach me and help me not to be blown about by circumstances or rocked by people's opinions like a ship on the open sea. Please anchor me firmly to you, to your promises and your purpose, so that I might simply and steadfastly follow you and serve you without doubt, without wavering, without getting discouraged, in Jesus' name, amen.

No Words

Bob Hostetler

Father, I have no words to pray what has been on my heart these past few days;
the scale of the tragedy in New Orleans is dumbfounding.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

But I am only helpless to pray;
your children, the work of your hands, the people of New Orleans
are helpless, period:
what is there to pray for them? Everything, I know,
and yet it's so overwhelming.
Where do YOU begin, God?
How can I pray so as to partner with you
in supplying what those people need?

This, maybe: save them from the "Why" question.
Help them, Lord, not to try to understand.
Focus their minds and hearts on the "What Now?" question,
though even that seems nearly impossible to answer
(but with you, all things are possible).
Help those who have no hope left
by bringing alongside them those who will hope FOR them.
Help those who have no strength
by making others strong on their behalf.
Help those who are bereft
by giving them partners in their grief.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Let relief efforts and every relief worker be an instrument in your hands, Lord.
Use them to accomplish your will.
Make straight paths for their feet.
Show yourself, in every case, to be a father to the fatherless and a friend to the orphan and widow and refugee.

Punish the looters, Lord. With your mighty hand, punish them.
Destroy the swindlers, and all who would take advantage of this awful tragedy.

Bring about unity and wisdom.
Replace floodwaters and rubble with generosity and justice,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 5

Bob Hostetler

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
listen to my sighs and groans.
Turn your attention to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
as I pray to you.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
morning after morning I lay my requests at your feet
and wait expectantly.

I know that you are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
I know that as infinite as your presence is,
there is no room there for the wicked.
I know the arrogant cannot stand before you,
and you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
you abhor those who are cruel and deceitful men.

Only by your great mercy
can I come into your house;
awestruck, I bow down
before you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.

Protect me from the lies of the Attacker,
and from those whose hearts are filled
with destructive thoughts and emotions,
whose throats are yawning graves,
whose tongues speak deceit.
O God, let me not traffic in
the intrigues and resentments
of those who rebel against you.
Let me walk in openness and honesty,
forgiveness and mercy toward others.

Let all who take refuge in you be glad;
and let me always be among them, singing for joy.
Spread your wings of protection over your people,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Let my life, O Lord, show how you bless the righteous
and surround them with your favor as with a shield.

For All the Beauty and Comfort I Enjoy

Bob Hostetler

For all the beauty and comfort I enjoy, I give you thanks, Lord God. For all the people in my life, for my bride, my children, my home, my friends, my possessions--spiritual, mental, emotional, material--for the years and days I have lived, for my victories and my disappointments, for all my worries that never happened and all my dreams that did, I give you thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 4

Bob Hostetler

Please answer me when I call out to you,
my righteous God, God my righteousness.
Send me relief from the distress I feel;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
How long will those around me find fault with me,
and use my willingness to give them grace and hear them out
to tell me stories of those who do not deserve grace?
How long will they trust in idols,
in their own wisdom (or in mine!),
in the belief that they can control outcomes
instead of entrusting the outcome to you?

Selah (because I need a break, Lord, even if you don’t)

I know, Lord, that you have set apart the godly for yourself;
I believe (most of the time) that you will hear when I call to you.

I am angry, Lord, I confess that. Help me in my anger not to sin;
when I am on my bed,
help me to humbly search my heart and be silent,
rather than striving and worrying.

Selah (because I need a breath, Lord, even if you don’t)

Abba, I long to offer right sacrifices,
to be right in all my actions and attitudes,
and trust in you.

But many around me are saying, “Oh my, oh my,”
and “You should [this]” and “You should [that].”
I'm sick of it.
Let the light of your face shine upon us all, O Lord;
lift up your countenance upon us all, and give us peace,
and unity, and grace for each other.
But you have filled my heart with greater joy
than when dancing and laughing abound!
I know I will again lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety. Amen.

Here and Now

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, my language isn't sufficient for you. I can't express your beauty, your majesty, not even your presence. I know that no matter where I go, you are there. You do not arrive after me, you do not even arrive before me. You are not even, to be accurate, already "there," for the "there" itself is not a place you occupy, any more than a moment is a moment to you...the "there" itself--like the "now" or the "then"--is found in you, not you in it, for everywhere and always is in you.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, but I praise you in my ignorance and littleness.

Let Tomorrow See

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord God, let tomorrow see the fresh fulfillment of your Word:

"Then everyone will stand in awe, proclaiming the mighty acts of God, realizing all the amazing things he does" (Psalm 64:9).

Yes, let tomorrow see the fulfillment of your Word:

"Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe. And they praised God, saying over and over again, 'We have seen amazing things today'" (Luke 5:26),

in Jesus' name, amen.

The Thanks I Need to Give

copyright Bob Hostetler

I need to thank you, Lord,
not for your sake, but for mine.

I thank you.
Thank you for your constant and current mercy on me.
By your mercy alone do I live another day,
loved, forgiven, delivered, whole.
Thank you for sleep, and for waking from sleep.
Thank you for the rain today.
Thank you for freedom from pain and discomfort.
Thank you for the love of my life, my bride,
the sweetest and loveliest woman to walk the earth.
Thank you for my children, my daughter and my son;
thank you that they still love me despite my many mistakes,
both early in their lives and late.
Thank you for my friends--many, faithful, and strong.
Thank you for the community I live in,
so clean, convenient, comfortable.
Thank you for dry clothes, clean clothes.
Thank you for shelter, and not just any shelter,
but a clean, lovely, comfortable home.
Thank you that, though troubles come to me and mine
from time to time,
they come no worse than they do
and for no longer than they do.
Thank you for days off--far and few between,
but the more valuable because of that.
Thank you for music.
Thank you for coffee.
Thank you for books.
Thank you for my senses, every one still intact.
Thank you for prayer.
Thank you for hearing me.
Thank you for answering.
Thank you for building me up in my most holy faith,
gently at times and sternly at times. I know I need both.
For these and all your gifts,
I give you thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for Presence....Mine

copyright Bob Hostetler

Abba, I know you are with me; I don't need to invite you, for you've given your word that you are with me always. But I do not always go with that's my prayer. Keep me, Lord, from straying, from turning aside, from slowing down and lagging behind, from failing to seek you and consult you in all I do, from beginning to end.

Let me be ever more present with you, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 3

Bob Hostetler

O Lord, how many are my foes!
Discouragement. Self pity. Weariness.
Stress. Allergies. Struggles with my weight.
Perfectionism. Procrastination. The desire to please people.
They all rise up against me.
And make me believe
that you will not deliver me.

But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
Every single time I cry to you, Lord,
you answer me from your holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because you sustain me...
And it's been this way for forty-seven years now!
So I will not fear, even if tens of thousands of troubles
draw up against me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people, amen.

Save Help Guide Speak

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I do not know where I am going. I do not know what I am doing. I am a day-old babe. I am mute and deaf and blind. People keep telling me to be bolder, feel freer, in leadership...and then come to me out of concern that I might lead poorly, or falsely, in the wrong way or down the wrong path. I value input and feedback, Lord, you know that. But I know I must stop pleasing people. And I also need far, far more wisdom and insight to see what it means to please you. What do I do, Abba? Which way do I choose? Save me from timidity and stupidity. Save me. Help me. Guide me. Speak. Please.

Divine Congruences

Bob Hostetler

Lord God, I don't often know why you do this, but thank you for divine congruences like those I experienced in prayer this morning when I chose John Michael Talbot's Psalm 62 ("Only in God is my soul at rest; in him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; my stronghold, my Savior, I shall not be afraid at all") to prepare my heart for prayer, and then The Request for Presence today in the Divine Hours was Psalm 31:3 ("Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me"). And then the Morning Psalm was Psalm 116:9-17....and, though I'm a few days ahead in my scheduled readings prescribed in The Prayer Journal I'm using this year, the psalm was Psalm 116.

So, Lord, what are you trying to say? Are these just taps on the shoulder, whispers in the ear, saying, "I'm here; I'm with you?" Or are you telling me to run to you, my Rock, my Crag, my Stronghold, for safety and shelter? Or reminding me to lift the cup of salvation and pay my vows to you (are there vows I'm not paying?)? Or something else? Is there some intersection between those passages you want to underline? Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I'm willing and waiting to hear whatever you're telling me.

You know, Lord, but I remind you: I'm slow to hear, and the walls of my house are pretty thick. So speak clearly. And, as I listen, I'll thank you for this latest divine congruence, because at the very least, I know you're right by my side, right here, right here. Thank you.

Risk and Criticism

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, you are teaching me that if I'm going to take risks for you--and for your lost sheep--I'm going to take criticism from your church, from within the sheepfold...and the greater the risk, the greater the criticism will be. Save me from fear and timidity. Make me strong and courageous. Give me holy boldness, but also please keep me accountable and faithful, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Soul Waits

copyright Bob Hostetler

My soul waits on you, Lord. I wait on you, as a servant waits to be called, as a dog looks to the master. I wait on you, to hear your voice, to be guided by your will even in what I pray, to follow in step with you. Please guide my praying, my thinking, my sleeping, my waking, my planning, my writing, my speaking, my reading, my eating and drinking, and direct me in all I do to the fulfilling of your purpose, for you are all and in all, in Jesus' name, amen.

Enclose My Children in Your Care

copyright Bob Hostetler

Enclose my children in your care, Lord, please. Keep them as the apple of your eye. Hide them in the shadow of your wings.

Mercy, Lord. Grace. Your abundance, I pray, for them. Your will. Your pleasure. Your laughter. Your glory, in Jesus' name, amen.

Cleanse Me of Arrogance

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, cleanse me of arrogance. Heal me of the desire to be seen by others, to be seen even performing my oblations, to have my piety be seen and remarked upon by others. Save me from such ugliness.

Make me content to sit at your feet, to gaze on your face, and be favored with no gaze, no smile, but yours, in Jesus' name, amen.


copyright Bob Hostetler

God, I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you. I need you.

Lord God, I need you. Lord Jesus, I need you. Holy Spirit, I need you. Three-in-One, I need you. I need you now, this moment, this breath, this thought, this prayer, this stroke of the pen. I need you absolutely, utterly. I need you tomorrow. I need you this day. I need you with each message I prepare. I need you with every word I write. I need you this week. I need you always. I need you.

For Watching Over My Son

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, thank you for watching over my son this night. Thank you for granting him the ability to swerve and miss the deer that entered his path. Thank you that his impact with the tree was not more forceful. Thank you that he only broke his wrist. Thank you that he wasn't cited. Thank you that he's safe in bed now. Thank you that I still have him.

Now, please heal him with your mighty power. Let his wrist, his knee, and his back--and his heart--heal quickly. Grant that he will see this accident not as a curse but as a chance, as an opportunity to renew his passion for you and redouble his efforts to show that he is worthy of Nina's love (and her parents' blessing).

And, Lord, Yahweh Yireh, Provider-God, please grant to me the ability to pay for it all, in Jesus' name, amen.

Only God Knows No Degrees

copyright Bob Hostetler

"Only God knows no degrees," wrote A. W. Tozer.

Yes, Lord. You never improve or worsen.
You never hurry or slow.
You neither expand nor shrink.
You're never early or late.
You never remember or forget.
You never learn, you're never stumped.
You neither stop nor start.
You are infinite in your constancy.

Lord, I praise you, for you are all, and through all, and in all, and before all, and beyond all, and above all, and under all--my all in all, I praise you and submit to you, amen.

My Psalm 2

Bob Hostetler

Father, today as of old, the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain;
the kings of the earth take their stand
and the rulers gather together
as if they had no need of you, Lord,
or your Anointed One.

Great and small strive to break your "chains,"
the fetters of your law and your righteous demands.

But you, Lord, enthroned in heaven, laugh;
you scoff at them and rebuke them in your anger,
and terrify them in your wrath, saying,
"I have installed my kingdom on Zion, my holy hill."

I will proclaim your decree, Lord.
You said to me, "You are my son,
today I have become your Father."
Thank you for my adoption through your Son, Jesus.

You said, "Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession."
I pray, Lord, for a harvest of souls
among all who gather this weekend in Oxford.
Exert your rule, Lord;
break down strongholds like clay jars.

Therefore, you kings, be wise;
let even the highest and greatest on earth
bow before you, Lord.
Let them pay you honor with awe,
and rejoice with trembling.

Let many, Lord--according to your good will--
kiss the Son, and avert your righteous wrath.

Blessed are all who take refuge in you, Amen.

A Saturday Prayer for the Church

copyright Bob Hostetler

God of all creation, of heaven and earth, I pray for all the churches of Oxford where your children will be worshiping you truly tomorrow: for Cobblestone, my joy and crown, for OBF, Veritas, the United Methodist and Presbyterian churches, for Oxford Nazarene and Church of God, Oxford Pentecostal, Victory Christian, First Baptist, Talawanda Baptist, Living Faith, Pentecostal Bibleway, Bethel AME, St. Mary's, Holy Trinity, and the others I'm forgetting. Lord, pour out your Spirit on all your people! Send the fire! Strengthen the weak and faltering, draw the seeking, give joy to the downcast, and make tomorrow a day in which you are unmistakeably glorified in your church, in Jesus' name, amen.

For the Beauty of the Earth

When I was a teenager, it dawned on me that hymns could be not only sung but also spoken. So I began to employ the poetry of Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, and others as a sort of private diary of prayer. My well-worn hymnal has since bracketed and buttressed my prayers like no other book except the Bible (oddly, it was years later that I began praying the Bible in much the same way I had been using the hymnal). This hymn by Folliot S. Pierpoint is one I use frequently to express my praise and thanks to God:

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For the martyrs’ crown of light,
For Thy prophets’ eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors’ might,
For the lips of infancy,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To the human race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven,
Father, unto Thee I raise,
This my hymn of grateful praise.

For Steadfast Faith

copyright Bob Hostetler

Gracious Lord, I take refuge in you. Steel and strengthen my faith, Lord, that I will not be so easily elated or deflated by circumstances. Give me, please, the steadfastness of one who abides in you and trusts you completely, in Jesus' name, amen.

For the Absence of Things

copyright Bob Hostetler

Lord, I praise you for the absence of things:
for hunger, because by it I know the blessing of fulness;
for silence, for by it I know the blessing of sound;
for want, for it teaches me gratitude when wants are supplied;
for darkness, because by it I learn to love light;
for sickness,
for emptiness, idleness, helplessness,
for by all such things you teach me gratitude and remind me that all good and perfect gifts come down to me from your hand, by your grace, in Jesus' name, amen.