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.