Bob Hostetler

I need to learn, Lord, that life is not a business that I arrange and control, but a pilgrimage in which you give protection and provide guidance. Help me to learn that through Jesus Christ, my Lord, amen.

(from Eugene Peterson's Praying with the Psalms, Aug. 30).

A Prayer for God's Mercy

A prayer of Thomas Merton (from his journals)

Lord, have mercy.

Have mercy on my darkness, my weakness, my confusion. Have mercy on my infidelity, my cowardice, my turning about in circles, my wandering, my evasions.

I do not ask for anything but such mercy, always, in everything, mercy....

Almost everything is ashes. What I have prized most is ashes. What I have attended to least is, perhaps, a little solid.

Lord, have mercy. Guide me, make me want again to be holy, to be a man of God, even though in desperateness and confusion.

I do not necessarily ask for clarity, a plain way, but only to go according to your love, to follow your mercy, to trust in your mercy.

Lucky Man

Bob Hostetler

Lord, I know "lucky" isn't the theologically correct term to describe what I feel, but I know you know what is in my heart.

I am a lucky man. I am blessed.
What a wife I have.
What children.
What a (soon-to-be) daughter-in-law.
What friends.
What a lovely home.
What a privilege to study your Word and preach from it.
What a great church family you've given me.
What marvelous people I get to rub shoulders with.
What a fine, fine leadership team I serve with.
What giving, serving, loving people I labor with at Cobblestone.
What health you've given me.
What music in my life.
What abundance of food.
What conveniences.
What a fun dog.

What a lucky man.

Jesus, I Fain Would Find

Bob Hostetler

Jesus, I fain would find,
Your zeal for God in me,
Your yearning pity for mankind,
Your burning charity.

In me your Spirit dwell,
In me your mercies move,
So shall the fervor of my zeal
Be the pure flame of love.

My Psalm 36

Bob Hostetler

Lord, I know sin persuades the wicked
deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
before their eyes.

Let me not be like them, who flatter themselves
and are too blind to recognize their sinfulness.
All they say is malicious and deceitful,
and they turn his from wisdom.

Let me not be like them, who devise wicked schemes
even in their sleep;
and whose evil snowballs,
increasing in volume and velocity.

Yahweh, your faithful love stretches from earth to sky,
your constancy reaches to the clouds,
your saving justice towers like mighty mountain peaks,
your judgments are deep as the ocean’s trenches.

Yahweh, you look on humans and animals;
how precious is your faithful love, Lord.
With all the children of Adam,
I find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

I feast on the bounty of your house,
I drink from your sparkling streams;
you are my source of life,
my light.

Maintain your faithful love to me, Lord, for I acknowledge you;
preserve your saving justice to me, for I am sincere.
Do not let the arrogant gain on me, much less overtake me,
nor let the wicked succeed against me.

Bring down the evil-doers, Lord God, Adonai,
fling them down, never to rise again, amen.

Please Help Me Wash My Days

(A prayer of Yaakov David Shulman, found in the book Bedside Prayers by June Cotner)

O God, please help me wash my days
And hang them on the line to dry.
Please help me scrub my months
And shake them out,
Soak my years,
And dry them in the summer sun.
Please help me wear a suit
Of honest fabric, clean and plain.


Bob Hostetler

Father, how grateful I am for all the "nevertheless" you've shown me.

I was born in sin, steeped in sin, even reveled in sin;
you had mercy on me and saved me.

I am stubborn and willful;
you are patient and persevering with me.

I am slow of heart to believe you;
you believe in me.

I am faithless, disappointing you over and over again;
you remain faithful, for you cannot deny yourself.

Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.


Bob Hostetler

Lord God, Abba Father, make me generous, I pray.
Freely I have received, help me to freely give.
Teach me to give cheerfully and generously.
Make me wise in giving, but unreserved.
Increase my generosity to the point that
I will be like the widow in the Temple,
giving all that I have,
in Jesus' name, amen.

The Now and the Not-Yet

Bob Hostetler

Lord God, please teach me contentment. Teach me to be satisfied in the now, and grant me the grace to anticipate the not-yet without pining or worrying, in Jesus' name, amen.

Sunday Prayer

Father, we rejoice that you have given us Sunday;
the day when we remember that you created the world
and all that is within it,
the day when Jesus was raised from the dead
and death and hell laid waste,
the day in which all things were made and remade.

Father, may we approach Sunday with longing and expectation;
as the hungry seek for bread,
so may we yearn for word and sacrament;
save our worship from all that is trivial;
rooted in the reality of the world in which we live,
may it yet glimspe the glory of your presence,
and stand in awe at the light of your holiness;
may we sense the presence of all who have gone before us,
hearing in our own songs the echo of unseen heaven's praise,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(From More Everyday Prayers)


Bob Hostetler

Lord of the harvest,
I pray for laborers to harvest souls for you,
to carry sheaves,
to do the heavy lifting
the work of the kingdom requires,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Give Me Success

(Based on words of Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Lord, grant that I may laugh often and much;
let me win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
help me to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and to endure the betrayal of false friends.

Teach me to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
by the children I leave behind,
the lives I affect,
the work I do,
and the things I change.

And let me not only know
that others have breathed easier because I have lived,
but let me live--and die--knowing
that others will join me in heaven because I have lived.

So give me success, in Jesus' name, amen.

Big Needs

Bob Hostetler

I need faith, Lord, faith, greater faith, and stronger.
I ask wisdom from you.
Resolution, Lord,
and the ability to say no
and to make good decisions,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Bob Hostetler

Lord, your people Cobblestone are on the move!

Yet I know that attack and oppression awaits us,
that our enemy prowls like a roaring lion
and he will not let us move forward without resistance.

So I pray, Lord, not for lifejackets,
but for surfboards,
that we might ride above every wave,
atop every swell,
and not only survive every storm but thrive throught it,
in Jesus' name, amen.

You See, I Want a Lot

A prayer by Rainer Maria Rilke

You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each ascent.

So many are alive who don't seem to care.
Casual, easy, they move in the world
as though untouched.

But you take pleasure in the faces
of those who know they thirst.
You cherish those
who grip you for survival.

You are not dead yet, it's not too late
to open your depths by plunging into them
and drink in the life
that reveals itself quietly there.

(From Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God)


Bob Hostetler

Abba, help me to rejoice in your gracious gifts to me,
and the wonderful privilege you give to me
of breaking the bread of life to your people,
without falling into pride
or lapsing into self-reliance, in Jesus' name, amen.

O Burning Mountain

(A prayer of Mechtid of Magdeburg)

O burning mountain,
O chosen sun,
O perfect moon,
O fathomless well,
O unattainable height,
O clearness beyond measure,
O wisdom without end,
O mercy without limit,
O strength beyond resistance,
O crown of all majesty,
the humblest you created sings your praise,

My Psalm 35

Bob Hostetler

Lord, battle those who oppose me.
Fight those who fight me.
Pick up your shield and armor.
Rise up and help me.
Lift up your spears, your holy arsenal,
against those who would hurt me.
Say to me, "I’ve got this.”

Whatever forces array against me,
disgrace them.
Whatever powers seek my harm,
turn them to retreat.
With your mighty breath,
blow them away.
Scatter them so completely
that they will never threaten me again.
Discover and destroy ever booby trap
they set for me.
Ruin them utterly,
cut off their retreat,
let them not survive to fight another day.
And I will rejoice in you, Lord;
I will dance with joy because of your salvation.
My heart and soul will cry out,
"Lord, who is like you?
You save the weak from the strong,
the small from the powerful."

I know there are still those who say unkind things about me.
I know there are those who think they know what I am like.
They believe what others say without giving me a chance at defending myself.
I know, and it makes me sad.
I can’t control them, Lord, but by your grace, I can be who you call me to be;
when they are in trouble, I will help however I can;
when they call, I will answer.
I will pray for them to be blessed,
and will seek their good as if they were my own flesh.
Sure, I would like it if they would stop talking about me,
judging me,
insulting me.
I would like it if they stopped avoiding me
and treating me like a leper.

But, Lord, I long ago abandoned my cause to you.
I still trust you to save me,
and leave my reputation in your sovereign hand.
Whatever others may do,
I will praise you in public,
I will speak your praise among crowds of people.
If others laugh at me,
or hate me for no reason,
or judge me unfairly
or repeat gossip about me,
and assume they know me,
and think, "We know all about what you did!"
I know you are watching,
and you will not leave me defenseless.

Arise, Lord, and be my champion.
My Lord and my God, do all my fighting for me!
Defend me with your justice.
Protect me with your righteousness.
Don’t let your blessings on me
or your victory on my behalf
ever be defamed or diminished.
Let them be ashamed and embarrassed,
who would be happy to see me hurt.
Show them the shame and disgrace
of their own imaginations.
But let my faithful friends sing and shout for joy.
Let them praise your greatness,
you who love to see your servants do well.
By your grace, in your strength,
I will tell of your goodness
and will praise you every day, in Jesus’ name, amen.

In the Light

Bob Hostetler

Abba, thank you for your grace,
that wiped clean the record of my sins.
Let me walk in the light as you are in the light,
that the blood of Jesus may cleanse me from all my sin,
its power,
its influence,
and its detritus, in Jesus' name, amen.

Draw my children, Lord;
let them walk in the light.
It gives me great joy to see my children walk in the light;
increase my joy!
Make straight paths for their feet,
and lead them on level ground, in Jesus' name, amen.

Shalom and Shalvah

Bob Hostetler

Abba, please make of my life
shalom (peace)
and shalvah (prosperity),
in Jesus' name, amen.

(Psalm 122:6-9)

For the Dying and the Grieving

Bob Hostetler

Father God, be near to those who are dying.
Make yourself known to them.
Give them your peace and take away their fears.

Be near to those who are grieving,
especially Craig and Nancy Hunter, and Mark and Deb Fitzgerald's family.
God of all comfort, comfort these, your people.
Help them to grieve well, and healthily, and fully.
Give them support and stamina from your mighty hand.

Be near to those who minister to the dying,
who seek to relieve their pain and loneliness,
for chaplains in hospitals,
for pastors performing funerals,
for your servants who do the good work of Job's friends
and sit silently with the suffering,
and all this I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

If My Lips

Bob Hostetler

If my lips
could sing as many songs as there are waves in the sea;
if my tongue
could sing as many hymns as there are ocean billows;
if my mouth
filled the whole firmament with praise;
if my face
shone like the sun and moon together;
if my hands
were to hover in the sky like powerful eagles
and my feet
ran across mountains as swiftly as the deer,
all that would not be enough
to pay you fitting tribute,
O Lord my God.

(Jewish prayer)

Bread and Fish

Bob Hostetler

Lord Jesus, you said, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11).

Lord, I confess that in my asking I don't often know whether I'm asking for bread or a fish. I lack the wisdom even to ask for good things, much less the best things.

So I ask for wisdom in praying, that I may ask well, and receive fully, amen.


Bob Hostetler

Lord, I have the hiccups.
For eight hours now,
I have had the hiccups.
I have tried everything I know to get rid of them,
except prayer.