Grant That I May Always Be Right

Lord, grant that I may always be right,
for Thou knowest I am hard to turn.

(An old Scottish-Irish prayer)

Thanks in a Heat Wave

Oh, my Lord, it's hot.
The heat these past few days has been nearly unbearable...
and it's not even summer yet!

It reminds me to thank you for shade,
for breezes,
for fans,
and for air conditioning.

Thank you that it's not always this hot.
Thank you for the variety of the seasons.
Thank you for heat waves
that bless us when they subside.

Batter My Heart

(A prayer by John Donne, in sonnet form)

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Thanks for Sundays

Lord, thank you for Sundays,
as hard as they are,
as hard as I work,
as exhausted as they make me,
thank you for the privilege of worshiping you
and seeing you work,
in Jesus' name, amen.

General Intercession

(from the Book of Common Prayer)

Make your ways known upon earth, Lord God,
your saving power among all peoples.

Renew your church in holiness
and help us to serve you with joy.

Guide the leaders of this and every nation,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.

Let not the needy be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Make us instruments of your peace
and let your glory be over all the earth, in Jesus' name, amen.

If On My Soul

If on my soul a trace of sin remaineth,
If on my hands a stain may yet be seen,
If one dark spot a weary soul retaineth,
O wash me, Lord, that every part be clean;
For I would live that men may see thyself in me,
I would in faith ascend thy holy hill
And, with my thoughts in tune with thy divinity,
Would learn how best to do thy holy will.

My Psalm 29

Bob Hostetler

Lord, I praise you,
from what little strength I have,
for your glory and strength.

I give you glory, Lord, which is your due,
because of your great name.
I worship you for the beauty of your holiness.

You speak, Lord, in the rains:
your glory thunders in the skies
and pours out in torrents.
Your voice is powerful;
your voice is majestic.
Your voice splinters the mightiest trees;
a word from your mouth reduces them to kindling.
Your rumblings make the landscape dance;
your power rattles the mountains.
Your voice flames across the sky in the lightning.
Your voice shakes the forests,
and makes the deserts tremble.
Your voice uproots mighty oaks,
and denudes the forests,
and in your presence every knee bows
and every tongue cries out your glory.

You rule over the natural forces of this earth.
You reign as king over drought and flood,
tornado and hurricane,
volcanos and tides,
fire and ice.

Mighty Lord, Adonai, please give some of that strength to your people
and bless your people with peace, like the calm that follows the storm.

Dangerous God

Bob Hostetler

You are dangerous, God.
You scare me.
Not you, exactly,
but the things you call me to,
the places you take me to,
the bold, crazy leaps of faith
you expect of me.
I believe; help my unbelief.
You've shown me over and over again
that I can walk on water
if my eyes are on you.
You've proven that with my God
I can leap over a wall,
I can advance against an army,
I can do all things through the One who gives me strength.

So, dangerous God,
I will.
Help me,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Creation Praise

A prayer from the journals of Thomas Merton (May 20, 1961)

Today, Father, the blue sky praises you.
The delicate green and orange flowers of the tulip poplar praise you.
The distant blue hills praise you,
with the sweet-smelling air that is full of brilliant light.
The bickering flycatchers praise you,
with the lowing bulls and the quails that whistle over there,
and I, too, Father, praise you with these creatures my brothers.
You have made us all together and you have placed me here this morning in the midst of them.
And here I am.

John's Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I pray with my colaborer, John:

I love you, O Lord, my strength. Impart your strength to the leaders of your church called Cobblestone. We want to hear from you, and to be thrilled by the confirmation and continuity we'll hear when we next meet.

But Satan wants us to go in a fog, and to come together on May 22nd dazed and confused, and leave defeated. Crush the bones of our enemy, O Lord; grind them to dust and blow them away. Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle!

Fight for us, El Shaddai... bring glory to your name...bring victory to your people. Sustain us in our fasting, Father; protect us as we pray. Grant us wisdom, patience, and discernment, through Jesus Christ our Lord. So be it.


Bob Hostetler

God in Christ, I see your infinitude displayed:
infinite love,
infinite mercy,
infinite sacrifice,
infinite grace,
infinite righteousness,
infinite beauty,
infinite purity,
infinite blessedness,
infinite worthiness,
infinite submission,
infinite compassion,
infinite honor,
infinite integrity,
infinite justice,
infinite praise,
infinite wealth,
infinite wisdom,
infinite glory,
infinite majesty,
infinite faithfulness,
infinite abandonment,
infinite condescension,
infinite power,
infinite strength,
infinite Godhead,
infinite manhood,
God in Christ, I praise your infinitude, amen.


(a prayer by Caryll Houselander, slightly revised)

Lord, I am the mediocre,
I am the half-giver,
I am the half-lover,
I am the savorless salt.
Lord Jesus Christ,
restore me now,
to the primal splendor
of first love,
to the austere light
of the breaking day;
Let me hunger and thirst,
let me burn in the flame.
Break the hard crust
of complacency.
Quicken in me
the sharp grace of desire,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Cyprian's Prayer

(a prayer of Cyprian of Carthage, revised)

Lord, I pray for those in danger of falling away,
that they may recover their footing.
I pray for those standing firm,
that they may not be tempted to their downfall.
I pray for those who have fallen,
that they may admit the gravity of their sin
and realize that it calls for a serious remedy,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Bob Hostetler

Abba, how I thank you for your rebukes and warnings.
I repent,
and bow before you in submission
and great gratitude that you have chosen
mercy over judgment,
and kindness instead of humiliation for me.
Now, please, set my feet on higher ground,
and grant that I may serve you in newness of life,
now and forevermore, in Jesus' name, amen.

Novelist's Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Lord, as I work on this book,
let your creativity flow through me,
along with your wisdom,
your insight,
your interest in people,
and your ability to love even those with desperate flaws.

Please give me focus beyond my abilities,
and productivity beyond my capacity.

You who can juggle galaxies and worlds,
and oversee the activity of angels and humans,
please help me to keep all the balls in the air:

Make me more like you than I can hope,
you who started my story,
and wove it into the great story
of you and your plans for this world,
this cosmos,
and every soul in it,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Non-traveler's Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Lord God, I thank you that I am home.

Thank you that I have no flight to catch today,
that I have no distance to drive,
that I will sleep in my own bed tonight,
that I will be here to kiss my wife goodnight.

Thank you that I have no worries about traffic jams,
and luggage.

Thank you that I will not spend $2 for bottled water,
$5 for a "value meal" (!),
and $10 to park my car.

Thank you for days like these,
when I am a non-traveler.

Fasting Fortnight

Bob Hostetler

Abba, I offer these next two weeks to you as a fast,
a prayer, and ask you to please show yourself to me,
to us (Cobblestone) as a church,
and especially to our leadership team.

Lead us to the fast you have chosen, Lord;
prompt us to seek you sincerely, purely, completely.
Fulfill in us these next two weeks your promise
to answer when we call,
to speak when we are listening,
to lead us when we are attentive to follow.

I praise you and thank you for the spacious place you've put us in, Lord;
that we are even at the point of deliberating on our first building, our next phase, our eventual campus, is a miracle of grace.

Protect us, Lord.
Preserve the leaders of Cobblestone.
Protect them from the Evil One.
Save us all, and guide us, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 28

Bob Hostetler

I call out to you,
O Lord, my rock;
please don’t be silent.
If you stop speaking to me,
I would feel
like dropping dead.

Hear my words,
and my non-words,
when my soul cries out to you.
See my lifted hands
reaching out to you.

Save me from being enticed by the way of the wicked;
I’m bad enough all by myself.
Make me unlike those who speak peace to their neighbors,
while all the while plotting “war” in their hearts.
Give such people what they deserve,
and turn their wickedness back on them.
Pay them their fair wages,
letting them reap the crop they have sown.
May those who ignore or defame your great works
be knocked down a peg
instead of climbing the ladder of success.

I bless you, Lord,
because you hear me when I call out to you.
You are my strength and my shield;
I trust you, and you help me;
my heart swells with joy in your presence,
and I sing your praises with my whole heart.

Lord, you are my strength;
you alone give me the victory I crave.
Save your people,
and bless those who belong to you:
Feed them and carry them for ever, amen.

Easy Smile

Bob Hostetler

Abba, please give me an easy smile.
Make me quick to laugh,
quick to dance,
and quick to have fun.

You have made my joy full,
I just don't often enough give vent to it.

So teach me to skip again, Lord,
like a child,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Bob Hostetler

Save me, Lord,
from pomposity in prayer,
and in living,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Constant Prayer

Bob Hostetler

Abba, if I knew you the way I want to know you,
I suspect I would never pray for anything
but more of you.

Needy and Poor

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, I am needy and poor.
Come to me, restore,
cleanse, empower,
renew, in Jesus' name, amen.

Hollow Substitute

Bob Hostetler

Father, you know how easy it is for me to substitute an exterior religious performance for an interior spiritual concern. How hollow and empty it must look to you! Help me to shape my words and acts today in the way you shaped yours toward me in Jesus, in whose name I pray, amen.

(From Eugene Peterson's Praying with the Psalms, April 14).