My Psalm 27

Bob Hostetler

Lord, you are my light and my salvation;
why should I fear anyone?
Lord, you are the strength of my life;
of whom should I be afraid?

When wicked people try to mess me up,
when people who hate me try to trip me up,
they will trip themselves.
Even if an army takes positions against me,
why should I worry?
If someone declares “war” against me,
I still have you, Lord.

I ask one thing of you, Lord,
one thing most of all,
one thing I crave,
one thing I will seek:
to dwell in your presence all the days of my life,
to gaze on your beauty,
and to experience you in your holy place.

For I know when trouble comes,
you will hide me in your eyrie;
you will place me out of reach of my enemies
on a high crag.
You will place me where I can look down on those who would hurt me,
and they will look like tiny ants to me,
making me wonder how they could ever have bothered me at all.
Therefore I offer sacrifices of joy to you at every opportunity;
I will sing your praises,
I will whisper your praises,
I will shout your praises,
I will dance your praises.

Hear me, Lord, when I cry out to you.
Have mercy on me, and answer me.
When you say, “Seek ye my face,”
prompt a willing response: “I will seek you wholeheartedly, Lord.”
Please don’t obscure your face;
please don’t be angry with me;
though you know I deserve your wrath,
you have always been my helper regardless of how little I deserve your help.
Stay with me, Lord;
stay beside me, O God of my salvation.
You who are more faithful than father or mother,
hold me close.

Teach me how to become more and more like you, Lord,
and blaze a straight path ahead of me,
so I will not give my enemies reason to rejoice.
Frustrate those who hate me,
who accuse me wrongly,
who blame me for their problems.
If it weren’t for you, Lord, I would have lost hope long ago.
Help me just to wait on you,
to be brave and courageous,
and wait for you to accomplish your good will.

As for Me

Bob Hostetler

As for me, I trust in you, Lord (Psalm 55:23).
As for me, I will listen to your voice.
As for me, I will bow down to you.
As for me, I will believe you are looking out for me and taking care of me.
As for me, I will rely on you and your timing.
As for me, I trust in you (Psalm 55:23).

I Love Your Word

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Lord, how I love your Word.
I love how it teaches me,
comforts me,
calms me,
challenges me,
reminds me,
corrects me,
convicts me,
molds me,
and leads me deeper into relationship with you.
Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

To Know You

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I want to know you
like a sailor knows his knots,
like a true horseman knows his favorite mount,'
like a lover knows his loved one's face.

Teach me your ways, Lord,
so I may know you (Exodus 33:13),
in Jesus' name, amen.

To the Only Wise God

Bob Hostetler

I give praise to you, my Father, ‘the only wise God [my] Saviour’ (Jude 1:25).

You are all wise,
only wise,
infinitely wise.

You are wise in creating,
wise in sustaining,
wise in inspiring,
wise in guiding,
wise in saving,
wise in correcting.

You are wise in all you think,
all you say,
and all you do.

You are wise,
only wise,
and all wise.

May all glory and majesty, dominion and power, be yours both now and ever, amen.

For People Who Don't Like Me

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I pray for people who don't like me,
people who think I'm a jerk,
a hypocrite,
a poor leader,
an awful pastor,
a rotten friend,
a pathetic human being,
a dreadful, dangerous sinner.
They're right.

You know how much I would love
to pray for you to prove them wrong.
But that prayer might in itself fulfill their worst beliefs about me.
So instead, I pray:
bless them, Lord.
I name them, right now....

Bless those I forgot.
Bless those I'm not smart enough to recognize as among that company.
Pour out your goodness on them, Lord.
Heal ___'s hurts.
Give peace to ___.
Fill ___'s heart with forgiveness and grace and kindness.
Make ___ ten times the man I am.
Give ___ a renewed sense of purpose and a renewed awareness of your favor.

Pour out such a blessing,
such mountains of kindness on these your children--
and bring about such growth in grace in my life--
that their low opinions of me
will totally evaporate in the glory
and beauty of what you do in their lives
and in mine,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Monday Preacher's Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Lord God, it's Monday.
Save me, Lord.
Save me from doubt and depression.
Restore my strength and my energy.
Lead me beside still waters,
help me not to believe the thoughts and feelings that flow from my low energy level and stress about all the things I have to do today.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
the pleasure I find in serving you,
the gratitude for all your kind gifts to me,
and the privilege of leading your people,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 26

Bob Hostetler

Judge me kindly, Lord.
By your grace, let me walk in integrity.
By your grace, let me trust in you without wavering.

Examine me, Lord, and diagnose everything that’s wrong with me.
Shine your light into my heart and mind.
I know your kindness tempers your correction,
and my desire to walk in your truth trumps my desire to avoid painful correction.

Save me from hanging around liars.
Keep me far from the company of cheaters.
Turn me away from the paths of those who do evil,
and free me from any desire to make wicked people like me.

I will wash my hands, Lord;
I will bow in repentance at your altar.
I will sing your thanks in a loud voice,
and boldly report to others what you have done.

I love your house, Lord.
I love your church.
I love being there when your people assemble.
I love giving you glory in the company of the saints.

Make me wise,
so that I may not be in the wrong place,
in the wrong company,
at the wrong time.

Lead me in paths of righteousness.
Rescue me, pity me, and lift me,
setting my feet on solid ground, higher ground,
the Rock that is higher than I.

I praise you, Lord, among the company of the committed.

Prayer in an Airport Terminal

Bob Hostetler

Lord, I cry to you for help.
Exhausted, I pray for stamina.
Hours of waiting stretching ahead of me, I pray for patience.
In taxiing, taking off, flying, and landing, I pray for safety.
Please cause things to run on time.
Please get me home safely,
and, if it's all the same to you, Lord,
sooner rather than later,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Change the Gears

A prayer of Peter Marshall, slightly revised.

Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for doing the things that make me feel uncomfortable and guilty when I pray.

I say that I believe in you, yet I doubt your promises.

I say that in God I trust, yet I worry and try to manage my own affairs.

I say that I love you, O Lord, and yet I do not obey you.

I say that you have the answers to all my problems, and yet I am slow to consult you.

Forgive me, Lord, for my lack of faith and the willful pride that ignores the way, the truth, and the life.

Please reach down and change the gears within me that I may go forward with you, amen.

For the Bifocals of Faith

A prayer of Peter Marshall, slightly revised.

Father, give me the bifocals of faith that see the despair and the need of the hour but also see, further on, the patience of my God working out his plan in the world he has made, in Jesus' name, amen.

Small Thanks

Bob Hostetler

Lord, I give you thanks, for small things.

Thank you for waking me today.
Thank you for running water, shampoo, soap, and toothpaste.
Thank you for breakfast.
Thank you for the coffee in my cup, and the granola in my bowl.
Thank you for one more day at home before my trip.
Thank you that my children both made it safely to work today.
Thank you that my watch is working,
and my computer,
and my refrigerator,
and my desk lamp,
and my aging body.
Thank you for all the small things in a day's time that go right, and so go unnoticed, in Jesus' name, amen.


Bob Hostetler

I commit, Lord, I surrender.
I give my all.
I can do nothing apart from you.
I beg you even for the will to beg you;
I rely on you even for the ability to rely on you.
All my help comes from you,
my Maker,
and Strength. Amen.

Sparrow Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Abba, you are watchful and mindful when a sparrow falls;
catch and cushion your children...
let your everlasting arms shield and strengthen and support us all, in Jesus' name, amen.

Easter Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Today my Savior left the grave!
I celebrate you, Lord, my King!
I celebrate your power to save,
I give you every song I sing,
I make this day a prayer to you,
And pray you're pleased with all I do.

Good Friday Prayer

O Jesus,
it is not the heavenly reward You have promised
which impels me to love You;
neither is it the threat of hell
that keeps me from offending You.
It is You O Lord,
it is the sight of You
affixed to the Cross and suffering insults;
it is the sight of Your broken body,
as well as Your pains and Your death.
There is nothing You can give me
to make me love You.
For even if there were no heaven and no hell
I would still love you as I do!

Source: Used with permission.

Greater Things

Bob Hostetler

Greater things in me, Lord God, Abba Father, I pray:
greater abandonment to you,
greater discernment,
greater faith,
greater wisdom to lead your people,
greater prayerfulness all day long,
greater communion with you,
greater heights of praise,
greater depths of humility,
greater effectiveness in extending your kingdom,
greater restfulness and trust in you,
greater purity of heart and holiness of life,
greater victory against the enemy,
greater unity with your whole church,
greater clarity of purpose and vision in my life and ministry,
greater productivity in my writing.
Give me faith, O Lord, I pray--faith for greater things, in Jesus' name, amen.

Wild and Crazy Sheep Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Good Shepherd, in me you have a wild and crazy sheep in love with thorns and brambles. But please don't get tired of looking for me.

(From Thomas Merton's journals, April 11, 1948, with a tiny revision)

Fill My Life with Praise

A hymn of Horatius Bonar, updated slightly.

Fill up my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
That my whole being may proclaim
Your being and your ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
Nor even the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
Of praise in every part!

Praise in the common words I speak,
Life’s common looks and tones,
In fellowship wherever I am
With my belov├Ęd ones;
Not in the "church crowd" alone
Where holy voices chime,
But in the silent paths of earth,
The quiet rooms of time.

Fill every part of me with praise;
Let all my being speak
Of you and of your love, O Lord,
Poor though I be, and weak.
So will you, Lord, from me, even me,
Receive the glory due;
And so shall I begin on earth
The song forever new.

So shall each fear, each fret, each care
Be turned into a song,
And every winding of the way
The echo shall prolong;
So do each part of day or night
With sacredness imbue,
That all my life, in every step
Be fellowship with you.


Bob Hostetler

Lord, Gerard Manley Hopkins was right:
Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Thank you, Lord, amen.

My Psalm 25

Bob Hostetler

O Lord, I lift up my soul to you.
O my God, I trust in you:
let me not be ashamed,
or defeated by my enemies.
In fact, let none who trusts you be ashamed,
but rather let schemers and swindlers be ashamed.

Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me to walk in your footsteps.
Light my way with your truth,
and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation.
Help me to wait on you throughout the day.

Persevere in your tender mercies and lovingkindnesses toward me, Lord.
They’ve lasted this long; let them endure through my days.
As you have forgotten the sins of my youth,
so wipe clean my latest transgressions.
Look on me through eyes of mercy,
and smile on me today, O Lord.

You are utterly good and upright, Lord.
You are the ultimate Teacher and Guide,
showing even the worst sinners like me the way they should go.
You lead the meek along right paths,
and make the most humble your disciples.
You blaze paths of mercy and truth
for all those who keep your covenant and obey your commands.

For the sake of your name and your reputation, Lord,
make me a man who walks in forgiveness, despite my many sins;
make me a student who listens reverently to you and follows your teachings;
make me an heir who dwells at ease,
whose children enjoy a rich legacy from you;
make me your friend and confidante, Lord,
show me (like Peter) things only you can impart.

I look to you for everything, Lord,
for you alone keep me safe from the snares that surround me.
Look to me, Lord, and have mercy upon me,
for apart from you I am desolate and afflicted.

When my heart swells with sorrows, please lift me out of my distress.
Look tenderly on me, heal my pain, and forgive all my sins.
And meanwhile, don’t forget my enemies,
for they are many, and I can’t stand against them unless you stand for me.

Divine Watcher, watch over my soul;
Dread Warrior, fight for me;
God my Defender, vindicate me, for I rely on you.

Let your integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I have none of my own;
I wait on you.

As with me, so with all your people:
Redeem them all, O God, out of all their troubles.

Number my Days

Bob Hostetler

Lord, teach me to number my days aright,
that I may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90).

Help me to do today the things that matter,
not to waste the time I have.

Remind me that every moment I have is precious.
Help me to redeem whatever time you give me,
that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life, in Jesus' name, amen.