Lord God,
give me that water,
and let me drink
and be forever satisfied,

A Prayer at Breaking a Fast

Lord God, I break my fast today--or pray that I do--
for the same reasons I started it six days ago:
to remind myself that you are God, and I am not;
to tell you that I love you and bow before you with all my soul and body;
to crucify my flesh and subdue my desires and cravings
and tell myself (and you)
that your lovingkindness means more to me than life,
your blessing more than food and fulness in my belly.
Lord, please take my pitiful offering,
my small sacrifice,
my tiny faithfulness in small things,
and use it to refine me and glorify you...
and, if you will, to bless your church, Cobblestone,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Praise for Answered Prayer

Lord God, I praise you again
because you answer prayer.
I praise you for answering prayer for Bill.
I praise you for answering prayer for Amy's mother.
I praise you for answering prayer for the outreach last Saturday,
and for the baptisms on Sunday.
I praise you for answered prayer for our worship last weekend.
I praise you because you deign to answer prayer.
I praise you because you love to answer prayer.

Ungrace, Certitude and Conviction

Abba, Father, save me from the ungrace
that too often accompanies
certitude and conviction.
Grant me the humility to pray (and live),
"I believe; help my unbelief."

For Miracles of Grace

Abba, God of miracles,
I call on you today;
please do miracles of grace,
and faith and generosity
and renewal and commitment
and joy and worship
and prayer and warfare
and outwardness and surrender
among your people
before our eyes
as we gather to worship you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Herbert Booth

I bring to Thee my heart to fill;
I feel how weak I am, but still
To Thee for help I call.
In joy or grief to live or die,
For earth or Heaven, this is my cry:
Be thou my all in all.

I've little strength to call my own,
And what I've done before Thy Throne
I here confess, is small;
But on Thy strength, O God, I lean,
And through the Blood that makes me clean,
Thou art my all in all.

No tempest can my courage shake,
My love from Thee no pain can take,
No fear my heart appal;
And where I cannot see I'll trust,
For then I know Thou surely must
Be still my all in all.

A Variation on a Theme by Nehemiah

Remember me with favor, O my God (Nehemiah 5:19),
not for anything I have done,
but for the sake of all Jesus has done for me,
in whose name I pray, amen.

My Psalm 73

Surely, God, you are good to your people,
to those who are pure in heart,
and even to me, though my feet are prone to slip,
and I am frequently on the edge.

I admit my envy of the arrogant
and my frustration at the easy lives of the wicked.

They have no struggles;
they sow bitterness and reap sweetness.

They seem free from the burdens I bear;
they don't have to put up with the crap I do.

They adorn themselves with pride
and clothe themselves with discord.

They expect perfection from others
while they are blind to the darkness of their own hearts.

They treat others with ungrace and unforgiveness,
while they condemn the best intentions of others.

They talk as if they are wise
and everyone else is stupid.

And of course people listen to them,
lapping up their lies and distortions like thirsty dogs.

Do they really believe you don't see,
that you the Most High lack knowledge?

They must: and not without reason, apparently,
for you seem happy to let them prosper.

It all makes me feel at times like I have kept my heart pure for no good reason,
like I have devoted myself to your will and work in vain.

I am plagued by complainers and critics.
Every morning someone says "we need to meet."

I can't even be honest with them, Lord,
for that would simply add offense to offense
and cause them to call me defensive or recalcitrant.

No matter how hard I try to get a godly perspective on all this,
it oppresses me,
until I turn my eyes on you
and focus on "this one thing I do."

I'm not here for man's approval, Lord,
and I know enough to assume there will be opposition and misunderstanding.

As a dream when one awakes,
so when you arise in my heart and mind, O Lord.

You alone can assuage my loneliness;
your presence is a balm to my hurting heart.

Therefore I turn to you once more;
hold me by my right hand.

Guide me with your counsel,
and show me your glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And I desire nothing on earth besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but you are the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you--
they are your problem, not mine.
Those who taunt and attack your servants
will be called before your court.

But as for me, I will focus on staying near you, God.
I will make the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will boast only in you.


Abba, Father, save me from gossip.
From hearing it.
From speaking it.
From suffering it.
In Jesus' name, amen.

A Pastor's Whine

Father, recent weeks--have they been as full of spiritual attack as I think? Or have I forgotten how to trust...how to rest...how to obey? Please tell me things will get better--no, not things, tell me I will get better. Please tell me I will yet learn to command my schedule (instead of vice versa). Please tell me I will yet figure out my own rhythms so I'm not always straining to get through a day, to get to a sabbath, to dread the end of a day(s) off! Please tell me I will become wise enough not to be ruled by worry and fear, and not to be so unhealthily affected by the moods and judgments of those who seem to live in ungrace and unhappiness.

I really do want to please you, Lord, and I want to trust you completely and constantly. I long to walk in peace, in confidence, in abandonment. I long to truly shepherd the flock and feed the lambs, to do it effectively. Even as I write this, I sense you urging me to see myself and my ministry with more gracious eyes than I do. So, okay. I will rest in you, Lord, and seek to walk in the awareness that you will build your church, as you have promised. I will just be faithful, as you enable me, by your grace, in Jesus' name, amen.

Presence Prayer

Lord God, I am happy in your presence tonight.
I sit at your feet.
I gaze on your beauty.
I feel your closeness.
You are here, and I am here, amen.

Remember Me

Lord God, remember me.
Remember me in my poverty.
Remember me in my weariness.
Remember me in my sadness and ennui.
Remember me in my lowliness.
Remember me in my extremity.
Lord God, remember me, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer from Psalm 112

Lord God, I fear you; I find great delight in your commandments. Therefore, my children will be mighty in the land, and even the generation after them will be blessed. Wealth and riches will fill my house. Even in the dark, light will dawn for me. Good will come to me because I am generous and lend freely. I will not fear bad news, because my heart steadfastly trusts in you. I will look in triumph on my foes because my heart is secure. I will even be honored by you, because I honor you! My detractors will be vexed and all their longing for my embarrassment will come to nothing. Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Never Alone

Thank you, Lord God Almighty,
for today's reminder
that I never pray alone:
Thank you for the Spirit's intercession
and for my Lord Jesus,
who "ever liveth" to intercede for me
and with me.
Please let me pray in concert
with you
and in sensitive agreement
with your will.

Save me From "Making" Prayers

Abba, teach me to pray.
Save me from "making" prayers.
Help me to know how to pray,
what to pray,
for whom to pray.
Prompt my praying.
Guide my praying.
Be the author of my prayers,
from beginning to end, amen.

A Prayer of Christina Rosetti

O Lord,
who art as the shadow
of a great rock
in a weary land,
who beholdest thy weak creatures,
weary of labor,
weary of pleasure,
weary of hope deferred,
weary of self:
In thine abundant compassion
and unutterable tenderness,
bring us, we pray thee, unto thy rest. Amen.


Father, I confess:
Sometimes I make up stuff.
I do stuff for show.
I pretend to know stuff.
I even act like I'm made of stuff I'm not.
But I thank you that, by your grace,
I am becoming less of a sham
and more of a man.


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.


Holy Spirit, please make me less attentive
to my own desires
and more attentive
to yours,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for the Lord's Day

Abba, Father,
please grant me energy today beyond my resources.
Grant that your people may truly worship you.
Grant that all may be drawn closer to you.
Tear down strongholds.
Route the Enemy.
Convict of sin.
Be glorified,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Arthur Hays Sulzberger

(This prayer by the late chairman of the board of the New York Times was reportedly inspired by a passage from Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis; it has been revised slightly)

God give me clear eyes and freedom from haste!
God give me anger against all pretence!
God keep me looking for my own mistakes!
God keep me at it till my results are proven!
God give me strength to trust the strength of God!

The Prayer Appointed for This Week

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your servant who calls upon you, and grant that I may know and understand what things I ought to do, and that I also may have the grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Variation on Lord Astley

Lord, Thou knowest
I shall be verie busie this day.
Let me not forget Thee.
Let Thee not forget me.


Abba, Father,
reading the book Infidel today
drove me to prayer,
to say thank you for the cleanliness
I take for granted in my life:
clean floors,
clean air,
clean streets,
public places,
and more,
so much so that our most public places
would resemble Disney World to an immigrant
from Somalia or Kenya or many other nations in the world.

So I thank you,
even as I pray for those living in opposite circumstances,
and say Lord, have mercy on them,
in Jesus' name, amen.

I Lay Down

I lay down tonight, Lord. I lay down in peace, in the knowledge that you are sovereign, loving, and utterly trustworthy. I lay down my need to do, and surrender anew to you. I lay down my fears, and rest in your wakeful care. I lay down my agenda for tomorrow and say, "your will be done." I lay down my drive to please man and ask you for the simple--but great--privilege of pleasing you. I lay down. Goodnight.

In Your Hands

Abba, I am in your hands.
Do with me--
and in me, and through me--
what you will,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Abba, you have helped me to realize that one of the reasons I so love solitude is that there, by myself, I get my way! How stubborn is my selfish nature. Please forgive me. Amen.

My Psalm 72

Endow this pastor with your wisdom, O God,
your servant and son with your guidance.

Help me lead your people in righteousness,
and comfort your suffering children with compassion.

Bring prosperity to your people,
let their lives reflect your nature
as surely as the earth and sky around them.

Defend the afflicted among your people
and save the poor and needy;
crush the oppressor.

Grant that I may live and serve you as long as I am useful,
and then anoint my successor.
Let your hand be upon us like rain falling on a field of fresh-mown hay,
like showers refreshing the soil.
Make the righteous flourish, O Lord;
send prosperity to your people that lasts until the moon disappears.
Exert your rule from end to end in our community,
and show yourself strong throughout the “metroplex!”

Let your foes fall down before you;
press your Enemy’s face into the dust.
Let the powers of this earth,
the mighty, moneyed kings of academia,
bring you tribute and present you gifts.
Let the best and brightest bow down to you,
and all nations and tongues serve you,
because you rescue the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no help.
You take pity on the weak and the poor
and save the destitute.
You rescue them from oppression and violence,
for you watch over them with care and concern.

Lord, strengthen this pastor,
your servant and son.
May your people be faithful in praying for me,
and bless me and my coworkers with their prayerful support.
Protect, preserve, and prosper
your church;
cause it to flourish like Lebanon;
cause it to thrive like the Shephelah.

May our efforts for you endure forever;
may they continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed through us,
and may the names of your saints live on.

Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
for you alone do marvelous deeds.
Praise be to your glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with your glory.
Amen and Amen.

Freedom Prayer

Almighty God, help me to honor the freedom you have given me
by offering it to you
and using it for you,

in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer by Saint Benedict

O Lord,
I place myself in Your hands
and dedicate myself to You.

I pledge myself to do Your will in all things:
To love the Lord God with all my heart,
all my soul,
all my strength.
Not to kill,
not to steal,
not to covet,
not to bear false witness,
to honor all persons.
Not to do to another what I should not want done to myself.
Not to seek after pleasures.

To love fasting.
To relieve the poor.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the sick.

To bury the dead.
To help those in trouble.
To console the sorrowing.
To hold myself aloof from worldly ways.
To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

Not to give way to anger.
Not to foster a desire for revenge.
Not to entertain deceit in the heart.
Not to make a false peace.

Not to forsake charity.
Not to swear, lest I swear falsely.
To speak the truth with heart and tongue.
Not to return evil for evil

To do no injury, indeed,
even to bear patiently any injury done to me.
To love my enemies.
Not to curse those who curse me but rather to bless them.
To bear persecution for justice's sake.

Not to be proud.
Not to be given to intoxicating drink.
Not to be an overeater.
Not to be lazy.
Not to be slothful
Not to be a detractor.

To put my trust in God.
To refer the good I see in myself to God.
To refer any evil I see in myself to myself
To fear the day of judgment.
To be in dread of hell.

To desire eternal life with spiritual longing.
To keep death before my eyes daily.
To keep constant watch over my actions.
To remember that God sees me everywhere.

To call upon Christ for defense
against evil thoughts that arise in my heart.
To guard my tongue against wicked speech.
To avoid much speaking.
To avoid idle talk.

Not to seek to appear clever.
To read only what is good to read.
To pray often.
To ask forgiveness daily for my sins,
and to seek ways to amend my life.

To obey my superiors in all things rightful.
Not to desire to be thought holy, but to seek holiness.
To fulfill the commandments of God by good works.

To love chastity.
To hate no one.
Not be jealous or envious of anyone.
Not to love strife.
Not to love pride.

To honor the aged.
To pray for my enemies.
To make peace after a quarrel,
before the setting of the sun.
Never to despair of your mercy, O God of mercy.

All I Ask

Father, if I could,
all I would ask for from this life
would be a quiet place to live,
books to read,
time with my wife,
time with my family,
time to think,
space to write,
a church to love,
and all my bills paid.
If you wanted to make me really happy,
I would let you throw in
an occasional visit with friends,
a nice steak once in a while,
and every year a trip to someplace new.
That would do it,
that would more than do it.
So why, Lord, why did you go and make me a pastor?

When Many Are Coming and Going

When many are coming and going and there is little leisure, give us grace, O heavenly Father, to follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who knew neither impatience of spirit or confusion of work, but in the midst of his labors held communion with you, and even upon earth was still in heaven; where he now reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

(A prayer by C. J. Vaughan, 1816-1897)