Part of Always

Bob Hostetler

Lord Jesus, today is one of those days
you promised to be with me
when you said, "I will be with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).

Do, Lord.
Be with me.
Let me feel you near,
and rely on your presence. Amen.

Meister Eckhart's Beatitude

Bob Hostetler

Meister Eckhart said, "Blessed are the pure in heart who leave everything to God now as they did before they ever existed."

Lord, before ever I was conceived,
you set the stars in the sky,
and the planets in their orbits.

Before ever I was born,
you kept this earth spinning through eons of time,
and never forgot or skipped a single season.

Before ever I opened my eyes,
your eyes were on your servants.
Before ever I could speak,
you spoke.
Before ever I could walk,
you walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the Garden.
Before ever I had accomplished a thing,
you accomplished the "impossible."

So, Lord, I leave it all to you.
I surrender my stupid sense that I am in control,
that I need to make things happen,
that "if it's going to be, it's up to me."

I pray, "Thy will be done."
I pray, "Be it unto me according to Thy word."
I pray, "have Thine own way,"
in me and mine,
in this day and the next,
in what I succeed in accomplishing
and in what I fail to accomplish.

I leave everything to you, Sovereign King,
as I did before I ever existed,
in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 32

Bob Hostetler

How blessed I am, Lord, that my sins are forgiven,
my wrongs blotted out.
How blessed I am that you charge no sin to my account,
that I can be honest and exposed before you.
When I am not faithful in prayer to you, I can feel my frame weaken,
every day, all day, is just a groan;
day and night
I feel a heaviness,
and my heart shrivels up
like daylilies in a heat wave.

I acknowledge my waywardness to you;
I can’t hide the fact that I’ve neglected my prayer chair.
I admit, 'I confess
my sinful neglect to you.’
And you, gracious as always, forgive me
and wipe the slate clean.

That is why it is such a delight to pray to you
at all times of the day and night—
when the waters rise,
they will not overwhelm your faithful ones.
You are my refuge,
my sentinel,
my singer and my song.

Instruct me, Lord, and teach me the way to go;
let me not take my eyes off you.

Let me not be like a horse or a mule;
that resists the bridle and bit;
but let me submit readily and willingly
to the slightest gesture or movement of my Master.

The wicked endure countless troubles,
but your unfailing love surrounds me as I trust in you, moment by moment.

I rejoice in you, Yahweh,
I exult in you;
I shout for joy with an open and upright heart.

Prayer Before a Speaking Engagement

Bob Hostetler

No speaker is saved by the quality of his material;
no preacher succeeds by the multitude of his gifts.
Relying on man's approval is a vain hope, a stupid goal;
despite all its allure it cannot save.
My hope is on your unfailing love, Lord;
I hope for your deliverance.

I Enter

Bob Hostetler

(a prayer of Eugene Peterson, in his book, Praying with the Psalms, June 19)

I enter the place of prayer, dear God,
to listen to what you have to say.
I have been shouted at, accused, and threatened
from the newspaper, radio, and television.
Now I want to hear the syllables of hope
that come in the still small voice of your Spirit
and establish you as Lord in my heart
as well as "Most High over all the earth" (Psalm 83:18). Amen.

Summer is Nigh

Bob Hostetler

This year, Lord, is flying by. Summer is nigh. I renew my prayer that you will make this yet--even more--a year of breaking through for Cobblestone. Bring yet more members, greater stewardship, deeper worship, more fruitful children's ministry, greater community and outreach, and even, Lord, a victorious year-of-all-years in our Walk This Way campaign and movement toward a permanent home on our South Farm campus, in Jesus' name, amen.

Haven't Asked Enough

Bob Hostetler

Father, I confess that I haven't asked enough of you.
You have said, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."
You have said, "Ask, and it shall be given."
You have said, "You have not because you ask not."

So, Abba, I ask:
More faith, please. Give me walk-on-water faith.
More wisdom, the kind that sees your fingerprints on events and circumstances, and also sees clearly the things you are not involved in.
I pray for more income for my family,
more resources to pay off all those student loans.
I pray for more stewardship in my church,
I pray for $2 million for our first building,
I pray for more commitment, more members, more volunteers,
more passion, deeper worship, stronger marriages.
I pray for a recording studio job for my son,
and for you open the door to home ownership for my daughter.
Help me to lose weight,
to become a better husband,
to improve in my leadership and speaking.
I pray for the sale of Northkill and The Caiaphas Scroll.
I pray for the ministry and financial success of American Idols.
I pray for your hand of blessing on my wife in her studies...a paid internship...and speed her graduation and the onset of a wildly effective counseling ministry for her, in Jesus' name, amen.

Refiner's Fire

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, some of my friends and coworkers are in the furnace right now,
walking through the flames, not of idolatry but of trial.
Please save them. Keep even their clothes from being singed,
and keep the flames from touching them and their families.
Grant for this period to be a refining fire,
showing them your presence in the furnace,
demonstrating your awesome deliverance (as you did for the three Hebrews),
and bringing them through it all with more faith,
more strength,
and smokin' only with the smell of your touch on them, in Jesus' name, amen.

Spiritual Amnesia

Bob Hostetler

Save me, God, from spiritual amnesia,
from forgetting--like your people Israel did long ago, and repeatedly (Ps. 78)--
all the mighty works I have seen you do.
Save me from forgetting how you carried me through deep waters,
how you called me and anointed me and constantly, flawlessly enabled me;
save me from forgetting how you brought me through Red Seas
and sent water and manna,
and led me into your promise.
Save me from forgetting your miraculous work in
Bill Dobias and Cheryl Johnson,
Bob Holzworth and Greg Farthing,
John Johnson and Sharla Racioppa.
Save me from forgetting Walk This Way and South Farm.
Save me from forgetting The Prayer Bible and American Idols.
Save me from forgetting, even last Sunday, your most marvelous working.
Save me from spiritual amnesia,
but give me the memory of faith,
faith as big as your track record deserves,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Arrows, Dove, Bones, and Stones

Bob Hostetler

Abba, Father, thank you for the arrows in my quiver,
my children, who make me so proud.
Thank you for my dove, my darling,
my rose of Sharon, my bride,
whose love refreshes and sustains me.
Thank you for the bones and organs in the body,
the church, who complement me
and make up for my deficiencies,
making me whole.
Thank you for the smooth stones in my sling,
my co-leaders in the church,
with whom I know you will slay giants,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Thanks for Small Homely Things

Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of small, homely things:

Sunlight through a jar of beach-plum jelly...
A rainbow in soapsuds in dishwater...
An eggyolk in a blue bowl...
White ruffled curtains sifting moonlight...
The color of cranberry glass...
A little cottage with blue shutters...
Crimson roses in an old stone crock...
The smell of newly baked bread...
Candlelight on old brass...
The soft brown of a cocker's eyes,

in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on lines from Peter Marshall)

Like An Empty Cup

Bob Hostetler

I come to this day, Lord,
and lift my empty cup
to the overflowing fountain
of your strength and sufficiency.

You are more than enough
for all I need this day.

My Psalm 31

Bob Hostetler

In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me not be ashamed;
deliver me because you (certainly not me!) are righteous.
Please listen carefully to me, speed to my defense.
Be my rock of strength once again,
A fortress of safety.
I know you are my rock and my fortress;
I know you will lead me and guide me,
for that will glorify your name.
You will pull me from every trap that has secretly been laid for me,
for you are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit,
for you have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.

I detest the worship of idols—vain, all of them—
for I trust in you, Lord.
I sing and dance with joy because of your lovingkindness,
because you see all my problems,
and know all my troubles,
and you have not let me get backed into a corner,
but have set me in a spacious, luxurious space.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, in times of stress,
when my spirits are low,
and my energy fades.
Ministry is filled with daily griefs,
and relief from sadness is only temporary.
The misery of others drains my strength,
and I tend to escape by eating everything in sight.
The Enemy of your people never sleeps,
and his pawns are always on the job,
working even through your servants, it seems.
Some of them see me on the street,
and turn the other way.
Some ignore me at public events as if I were dead,
as if I were a piece of furniture.
They believe—and spread—rumors about me,
and I often meet people who say they have heard of me,
and then seem to size me up,
as though wondering if I’m really
as bad as all that.

Even so, I trust in you, O Lord,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my Enemy
and from those who hate me.
Smile on your servant;
show me favor.
Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon you;
instead, let the unrepentant be put to shame,
and shut the mouths of those who spread lies.

How great is your generosity, Lord,
which you show to those who revere you,
those who find shelter in you
in the sight of a watching world.
You hide me in the secret place of your presence
where I am safe from all the lying conspiracies of men;
you cover me with your wings
and mute the sound of their lies.
I bless you, Lord,
for you have blessed me in spite of every attack.
Though at times, I admit,
I have felt abandoned by you,
I know you’ve always listened to my cries,
and heard every prayer I’ve prayed.

I love you, Lord,
when I am alone and when I am gathered with the faithful.
I know you preserve the faithful
and allow the arrogant to suffer what they deserve.
With your help, I will be strong and bold,
and hope in you, Lord.

For Benefit of Counsel

Bob Hostetler

Lord, your Word says, "a wise man listens to advice" (Proverbs 12:15).

You have reminded me several times recently
how you have blessed me
through the counsel of others,
through willingness to seek counsel,
and through willingness to heed counsel.

How many weaknesses have I overcome
due to the counsel of others?
How many griefs have I avoided
due to the counsel of others?
How many blessings do I enjoy
due to the counsel of others?

Thank you for the truth of your Word,
the wisdom of your counsel,
the ways you have blessed me
and made me wise to listen to wise counsel,
to your glory,
to your praise,
to your credit,
and not mine,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer for My Eating Habits

Bob Hostetler

Abba, you know I don't treat my body like a temple of your Holy Spirit. I ask you for help in discerning and addressing why I eat the way I do; why I so often eat as though it's the last food I'll ever have; why I perceive food as an entitlement and reward; why I eat uncontrollably when I'm stressed or depressed.

Lord, you are my refuge and strength.
Forgive me for turning to food instead of to you.
Strengthen me and sustain me to choose health instead of eating,
to eat to live and not live to eat,
to control my hunger and urges instead of letting them control me,
in Jesus' name, amen.

No Confidence in the Flesh

Bob Hostetler

Lord God, Abba, in Jesus' name I pray:
Grant me to worship you in the Spirit,
rejoice in Christ Jesus,
and put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).
Please, Abba: no confidence in the flesh.
for I know this is your will concerning me,

Your Timing

Bob Hostetler

Lord, you mystify me with your timing.
You are all-knowing,
and past, present, and future are all the same to you.
Still, I don't know why your timing is so inscrutable and unpredictable...and often maddening!
It's not easy to learn your ways when you never explain yourself!
And it gets pretty frustrating, if you don't mind me saying.
But my times are in your hand...and not the other way around,
so teach me faith,
teach me patience,
and teach me not to expect your gracious working
to follow my timetables,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Lord of My Life, Whose Tender Care

Bob Hostetler

(A prayer by an anonymous hymnwriter, slightly updated and revised)

Lord of my life, whose tender care
Has led me on till now,
Here lowly at the hour of prayer
Before your throne I bow;
I bless your gracious hand, and pray
Forgiveness for another day.

Oh, may I daily, hourly, strive
In heavenly grace to grow;
To you and to your glory live,
Dead to all else below;
Tread in the path my Savior trod,
Though thorny, yet the path to God.

With prayer my humble praise I bring
For mercies day by day;
Lord! teach my heart your love to sing,
Lord! teach me how to pray;
And all I am, and all I own,
Entrust to you alone.


Bob Hostetler

Deliver us from evil, Lord.
Deliver us from debt.
Deliver us from self-reliance.
Deliver us from deceitful people.
Deliver us from judgmental people.
Deliver us from perfectionism.
Deliver us from people-pleasing.
Deliver us from greed.
Deliver us from materialism.
Deliver us from schism.
Deliver us from arrogance.
Deliver us from self-deception.
Deliver us from favoritism.
Deliver us from faithlessness.
Deliver us from the fruits of our own stupidity.
Deliver us, in Jesus' name, amen.

Lord, I Know Not

(A prayer by François Fénelon)

Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee,
Thou only knowest what I need;
Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself.

Father! Give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask.
I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations;
I simply present myself before Thee.
I open my heart to Thee.

Behold my need, which I know not myself;
see and do according to Thy tender mercy.
Smile or heal, depress me, or raise me up;
I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them:
I am silent;
I offer myself in sacrifice;
I yield myself to Thee,
I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will.
Teach me to pray. Pray thyself in me.

My Psalm 30

Bob Hostetler

I praise you, Lord, for you rescue me.
You refuse to let my enemies get the best of me.
Lord God, I cry out to you for help,
and you heal me, body and soul.
You deliver me from the grave, O Lord.
You keep me from falling into the pit.

I sing to you, Lord, with all your saints!
I praise your holy name.
Your anger lasts an instant,
but your favor lasts a lifetime!
I suffer dark nights like anyone,
but then you bring a new dawn, time after time.

When things are going great,
I feel like nothing can stand in my way.
Your favor, O Lord, makes me feel secure.
But when you turn your face away from me, I am a mess.

I cry out to you, Lord.
I beg you for mercy, all over again.
I know you never tire,
but it’s hard to believe you’re not fed up with me.
If you gave up on me now, though,
I could never praise and glorify you any better than I do today!
So hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.

You turn my worst moments into occasions for dancing.
You replace my prison garments with party garb,
so I will sing your praises as loud and long as I am able.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!


Bob Hostetler

Lord God, Adonai, please save me from envy.
Save me from wanting any other pastor's success,
any other church's growth,
anyone else's building,
anyone's circumstances,
in Jesus' name, amen.