Prayer for my Grandson

Abba, Father, God,
I pray that as he grows,
Miles will have a heart that is tender toward you;
a heart that beats to please you;
that from his first awareness of you,
his hands won't hesitate to lift toward heaven in praise and worship;
and as he grows up,
that those hands will be used to reach out
in service to you
and comfort those who are hurting
and help for those in need.
May the first step he takes be one of many
on the path that you have planned and laid out before him,
and ultimately, may his countenance reflect a man who has come
to know and love his Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord,
in whose name I ask,

All the Afflictions I've Never Had

Abba, Father,
Mighty God,
my Healer and Sustainer,
I thank you for the health and vitality I enjoy,
for the energy and ability that characterizes my daily life.
I thank you with my whole heart
for all the afflictions I've never had,
all the sufferings I've never had to face:
from AIDS to anemia,
arthritis and meningitis,
autism and muscular dystrophy,
from botulism to mad cow disease,
cancer and carpel tunnel,
cerebral palsy and cholera,
kidney stones and diabetes,
diphtheria and ebola,
necrotizing faciitis,
heart disease,
high cholesterol and high blood pressure,
lyme disease,
multiple sclerosis,
yellow fever,
and more,
and more,
and more.
I thank you for every danger and affliction I have escaped,
even as I pray for those who have not,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Waiting for the Fire

In full and glad surrender,
I give myself to Thee,
Thine utterly and only
And evermore to be.

My all is on the altar,
I'm waiting for the fire,
Waiting, waiting, waiting,
I'm waiting for the fire.

A Thin Place

O God,
make of my heart,
and of my church,
and of the Loft,
and of Oxford,
a thin place.

(Based on an incident related to Evelyn Underhill by a friend who had been to the Isle of Iona and there heard a local gardener say, “Iona is a very thin place.” She asked, “What do you mean?” The gardener, a Scotsman, said, “Its a thin place, because there is not much between Iona and the Lord”)

For a Braveheart's Prayer Life

Make me a man of prayer.
Make my church a house of prayer.
Grant us the joy and exhilaration of partnering with you
through prayer
to bring about things that we can’t imagine
can scarcely even dream,
as we not only see the needs around us
and feel them,
but learn to submit them to you
in faith,
day by day
and moment by moment, in Jesus’ name, amen.

For a Braveheart's Passion

God, give my church a braveheart’s passion.
Please fill us with excitement not just for moving into a building
but for moving out into our community!
Please give us passionate hearts that beat in tune with yours,
that see the needs and FEEL the needs around us,
and respond with compassion
and enthusiasm
and exertion, in Jesus’ name, amen.

For a Braveheart's Perspective

I want to serve a cause greater than myself,
I’m ready to get out of myself,
I’m going to make a difference in this world.
Keep my mind so focused,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for the First Day of Summer

Abba, thank you for summer,
for green grass
and honeysuckle,
leafy trees
running streams
bare feet
balmy days
singing birds
laughing children
baseball games
clear skies
the smell after a summer rain
and fecundity
I turn.

My Psalm 71

O Lord, I run into your arms;
don’t let me be discouraged.
Save me and rescue me in this low place,
for you do what is right.
Put your ear close to my heart
and hear the murmurs I can’t put into words.
Be my mountain fortress,
my crag of safety.
Command my deliverance,
for you are my Mighty Rescuer.

O God, save me from this recurring depression;
I am so tired of being in the line of fire,
of shouldering the problems of others
(as if mine aren’t enough!).
I’m sick of being second-guessed,
and of others who think they have the answers,
without even seeking to understand the question.
O Lord, you alone are my hope.
You’ve had my heart from childhood.
You’ve guided me from birth;
year after year you have been my shelter.
No wonder I am always praising you!

Make my life an example to many,

an encouragement to others to find strength and protection in you.

Even in my depression, I can’t stop praising you;

I declare your glory with my whole heart, all day long.
Now that I am old, don’t set me aside.

My stamina may be gone, but let my experience count for something.
Answer those who whisper against me.

Defend me against those who think I’m stupid.
Save me from those who nurse resentment against me.

O God, don’t be coy.
My God, please hurry to help me.

Bring disgrace and destruction on my Enemy.

Humiliate and shame him and his divisive plans.
I will keep on hoping for your help;

I will praise you no matter what others do.
I will faithfully tell everyone about your righteousness;
I will preach the Word, season after season.
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign Lord.

I will do all I can to lead others to you.

O God, you’ve had my heart from childhood.
I will trust you and follow you for the rest of my days.
Let me proclaim your power to a new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
You have done wonders.
Who can compare with you?

Who can even come close to you?

I know I bring much hardship on myself,
and you let me suffer through it,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.

You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.
Then I will praise you with songs in the sanctuary,
I will lift up your praise in the midst of your people,
I will stand up against every foe,
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God,
you have ransomed me,
and you lift me higher than I have any right to be,
higher than I have any reason to expect.

Teaching Me to Pray

Thank you, Lord, for what you're teaching me about prayer:
to ask,
ask boldly,
ask loudly,
ask bluntly,
ask dangerously;
to listen;
to persevere.

Lost Friendships

Abba, Father, my loving Daddy, I give to you my lost friendships, those relationships I have treasured and now mourn. Save me from self-pity and self-loathing. Save me from repeating past mistakes and sins. Save me from resentment and bitterness toward those who turn away from me. Save me from unwillingness to trust and be honest with friends in the future. Save me, and heal me, in Jesus' name, amen.

God of Abraham

God of Abraham, and Moses, God of Exodus and Easter, God of wonders, I muse upon your mighty works and plead: do it again! Bring me through discouragement once more, to victory. Sort through the afflictions of your church and bring about a culture of unity and grace and encouragement. Restore our marriages, heal the hurting, soothe the afflicted, comfort the grieving, shield the joyous, and all for your love's sake, amen.

From the Book of Common Prayer

Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who cares for us: Preserve me from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from me the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, and for ever. Amen.

Sunday Gratitude

Father, what a day this has been! Sweet worship, rich fellowship, encouragement, and blessing, in spite of feeling physically poor and needy. How quick I am to turn to weariness and ingratitude, in the midst of all you do for me and for my flock. I am blessed beyond words, Lord, and am too often an ungrateful servant. But not right now. Thank you.

Daily Bread

"I have food to eat that you know nothing about" (John 4:32).

Give me that food, Lord,
that nourishment your disciples knew nothing about;
give it to me daily,
that sustenance that comes from communion with the Father,
in Jesus' name, amen.

From a Desk Piled High

Abba, just when I think I'm going to clear my desk and get down to where I need to be, down to a manageable to-do list, something intrudes, and I'm behind again! Do you want me to be behind? Do you want me--ever--to catch up? Or is even that hope unrealistic? Do I need to thank you for full schedules, and rejoice that my work is never done? Or should I ask for wisdom to plan my workload so as to become more manageable?

This much I can do: I thank you for my demanding job. You place way too much confidence in me, from my perspective at least! Help me to be wise and diligent and discerning in the work you've given me to do. Amen.

Metaphorical God

My God, my God, thou art a direct God, may I not say a literal God, a God that wouldst be understood literally and according to the plain sense of all that thou sayest? but thou art also (Lord, I intend it to thy glory, and let no profane misinterpreter abuse it to thy diminution), thou art a figurative, a metaphorical God too; a God in whose words there is such a height of figures, such voyages, such peregrinations to fetch remote and precious metaphors, such extensions, such spreadings, such curtains of allegories, such third heavens of hyperboles, so harmonious elocutions, so retired and so reserved expressions, so commanding persuasions, so persuading commandments, such sinews even in thy milk, and such things in thy words, as all profane authors seem of the seed of the serpent that creeps, thou art the Dove that flies. Oh, what words but thine can express the inexpressible texture and composition of thy word, in which to one man that argument that binds his faith to believe that to be the word of God, is the reverent simplicity of the word, and to another the majesty of the word; and in which two men equally pious may meet, and one wonder that all should not understand it, and the other as much that any man should....Neither art thou thus a figurative, metaphorical God in thy word only, but in thy works too. The style of thy works, the phrase of thine actions, is metaphorical. The institution of thy whole worship in the old law was a continual allegory; types and figures overspread all and figures flowed into figures, and poured themselves out into farther figures; circumcision carried a figure of baptism, and baptism carries a figure of that purity which we shall have in perfection in the new Jerusalem. Neither didst thou speak and work in this language only in the time of thy prophets; but since thou spokest in thy Son it is so too. How often, how much more often, doth thy Son call himself a way, and a light, and a gate, and a vine, and bread, than the Son of God, or of man? How much oftener doth he exhibit a metaphorical Christ, than a real, a literal? This hath occasioned thine ancient servants, whose delight it was to write after thy copy, to proceed the same way in their expositions of the Scriptures....[A]s thou wast pleased to speak to them, in a figuratice, in a metaphorical language, in which manner I am bold to call the comfort which I receive now in this sickness in the indication of the concoction and maturity thereof, in certain clouds and recidences [i.e., subsidings], which the physicians observe, a discovering of land from sea after a long and tempestuous voyage....None of thy indications are frivolous, thou makest thy signs seals, and thy seals effects, and thy effects consolation and restitution, wheresoever thou mayest receive glory by that way.

(by John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Chapter 19, Expostulation)

On Miles's Birthday

Abba, Father,
thank you for my grandson,
Miles Jacob Hostetler,
who turns one year old today.
Oh, Lord, what a joy he is to me.
What a personality you've planted in him!
What health and happiness,
what determination and energy,
what laughter and vigor.
I thank you with all my heart
for every throaty giggle,
for every reaching grasp,
for every wakeful syllable,
for every hungry cry,
every step,
every breath,
every bite,
every swallow,
every smile,
every moment of health
and happiness
and wonder
he enjoys
and brings to me
and mine.
Thank you for him.
Thank you for his parents.
Thank you for his aunts and uncles.
Thank you for his grandparents.
Thank you for every day
and every moment
of his first year of life,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Our Father, we thank Thee for trees! We thank Thee for the trees of our childhood in whose shade we played and read and dreamed; for the trees of our schooldays, the trees along the paths where friendship walked. We thank Thee for special trees which will always stand large in our memory because for some reason of our own they became our trees. We thank Thee for the great stretches of trees which make the forests. May we always stand humbly before Thy trees and draw strength from them as they, in their turn, draw sustenance from Thy bounties of earth and sun and air.

(by Margueritte Harmon Bro, in Graces, by June Cotner, 1994, Harper San Francisco; photo taken by Bob Hostetler)


O me of little faith.
I confess, Lord,
to not believing you as I ought,
not trusting you as I ought,
not loving you as I ought,
not following you as I ought.
O sinful man that I am,
save me from my sin,


Abba, Almighty God,
like the wall around the Abbey of Gethsemani,
erect a perimeter of protection around your church, Cobblestone,
this weekend...and always.
Save us from our enemies.
Defend us with your heavenly armies,
and teach us to leave our camp
to storm the gates of hell, in Jesus' name, amen.

Set My Head Aflame

God, you say I am light,
the light of the world,
with all who believe in Jesus
and follow him.

Set my head aflame, then,
and let me burn bright.
Blow on my tiny faith
and consume me,
Consuming Fire.

Good Gifts

For rosy apples, juicy plums,
And yellow pears so sweet,
For hips and haws on bush and hedge,
And flowers at our feet,
For ears of corn all ripe and dry,
And colored leaves on trees,
We thank you, Heavenly Father God,
For such good gifts as these.

(Author unknown, in Graces, by June Cotner, 1994, Harper San Francisco; photo taken by Bob Hostetler, May 2008, at the Abbey of Gethsemani)

Anniversary Prayer

God, I praise you for this,
my thirty-first wedding anniversary.
What an unspeakable blessing
you've bestowed on me
in the lovely Robin.
Thank you.
Thank you.
A million times, thank you.


Come, Father, come to me, a poor sinner.
Come, Lord Jesus, come anew to my heart.
Come, Holy Spirit, fall afresh on me.

God of Breaking Through

Lord, you are my Baal Perizim,
the "God of Breaking Through"--
and my God of breakthrough.
You are always and ever breaking through for me.
Thank you for the victory over sin you're giving me.
Help me to rely on you more, and better.
Keep me in the hollow of your hand,
the cleft of the rock,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Go Before

Almighty God, my Father,
like the psalm (68) says,
go out before your people
and lead the march that will bring abundant rains
and refreshment to your inheritance in Oxford,
in Jesus' name, amen.