Praying Church

Almighty God, how I thank you for a praying church. Thank you so much for the people who are praying for me. Thank you for all those who prayed in December for my granddaughter Calleigh (above), and for all those who continue to pray for her. Thank you for our prayer warriors in the church, for our prayer counselors, for Wednesday night prayers, for the prayer that happens in our Journey Groups, for the powerful prayer on Friday nights in Oxford House of Prayer gatherings at The Loft. Thank you for the many folks who are praying for all our pastors and leaders. Thank you for those who intercede daily for the church. Thank you for the many answers to prayer we've seen. And thank you for making your house, the people of God, a house of prayer. Please make us more so, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for Calleigh

I lift up my help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Calleigh, he will not let your foot slip.
He who watches over you will not even sleep.

As he watches Israel,
he will watch you, alertly, constantly.

The LORD watches over you.
He is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you,
the darkness has no power over you (Psalm 121:1-6).

Your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will soon--and quickly--appear;
your testimony will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will follow you (Isaiah 58:8).

The LORD will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going,
both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:1-7-8).

Amen. Let it be so, LORD. It IS so.

Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen


Gracious God, I exalt you. You are almighty; I am weak. You know all things; I am still an infant in understanding, a babe in wisdom. You created all things; I can only mimic your creativity. You are self-giving, self-sacrificing in your love; I am self-centered in my love. You are omnipresent; I am finite, and often unaware and oblivious. You are eternal; I am mortal. You are gracious and merciful; I am judgmental. You are holy; I am sinful, steeped in sin from my birth. You are my God, worthy of only praise, great in power and glory, and I praise you, in Jesus' name, amen.

Find You Waiting

I've heard the angels and I've seen the devil,
Fought with the lion, sent through the fire,
I've been in the valley when it was dry,
Walked through the desert to the other side.

I'm just a preacher and I'm not a hero,
My life has never been that kind,
But there is one thing that I hold onto:
I am yours, and Lord you are mine.

And through all these years You have been there,
Dried all my tears and answered my prayers,
I just want to feel your presence again,
I'm down on my knees in need of a friend,
And I find you waiting there for me....

(Lyrics excerpted--and ever so slightly revised--from Find You Waiting by DecembeRadio)

God All-Sufficient

With you
I can live
without other things,
for you
are God all-sufficient,
and the glory,
joy of the world
is a creaturely,
perishing thing
in comparison
with you.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers)

A Christmas Prayer by Peter Marshall

We yearn, our Father, for the simple beauty of Christmas -- for all the old famliar melodies and words that remind us of that great miracle when He who had made all things was one night to come as a babe, to lie in the crook of a woman's arm.

Before such mystery we kneel, as we follow the shepherds and Wise Men to bring Thee the gift of our love -- a love we confess has not always been as warm or sincere or real as it should have been. But now, on this Christmas Day, that love would find its Beloved, and from Thee receive the grace to make it pure again, warm and real.

We bring Thee our gratitude for every token of Thy love, for all the ways Thou hast heaped blessings upon us during the years that have gone.

And we do pray, Lord Jesus, that as we celebrate Thy birthday, we may do it in a manner well pleasing to Thee. May all we do and say, every tribute of our hearts, bring honor to Thy name, that we, Thy people, may remember Thy birth and feel Thy presence among us even yet.

May the loving kindness of Christmas not only creep into our hearts, but there abide, so that not even the return to earthly cares and responsibilities, not all the festivities of our own devising may cause it to creep away weeping. May the joy and spirit of Christmas stay with us now and forever.

In the name of Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins, even in that lovely name we pray. Amen.

A Prayer for Christmas Eve

(This prayer, written by a young Italian seminarian named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in 1902 who would later become Pope John XXIII, has become a Christmas Eve tradition for me).

Night has fallen; the clear, bright stars are sparkling in the cold air; noisy, strident voices rise to my ear from the city, voices of the revelers of this world who celebrate with merrymaking the poverty of their Saviour. Around me in their rooms my companions are asleep, and I am still wakeful, thinking of the mystery of Bethlehem.

Come, come, Jesus, I await you. . . .

I am a poor shepherd; I have only a wretched stable, a small manger, some wisps of straw. I offer all these to you, be pleased to come into my poor hovel. I offer you my heart; my soul is poor and bare of virtues, the straws of so many imperfections will prick you and make you weep--but oh, my Lord, what can you expect? This little is all I have. . . . I have nothing better to offer you, Jesus, honour my soul with your presence, adorn it with your graces. Burn this straw and change it into a soft couch for your most holy body.

Jesus, I am here waiting for your coming. Wicked men have driven you out, and the wind is like ice. I am a poor man, but I will warm you as well as I can. At least be pleased that I wish to welcome you warmly, to love you and sacrifice myself for you.


O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

O Rex Gentium

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

O Oriens

O Rising Sun,
splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.


O sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free. Amen.

(HT: The Anchoress)

A Prayer of Augustus Toplady, Revised for This Moment

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee....

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace....

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
I hide,
I hide myself in Thee. Amen.


Lord, oil the hinges of our hearts' doors
that they may swing
gently and easily
to welcome your coming.

(anonymous prayer from New Guinea)

Enkindle Us

Lead us, O Lord,
and work within us:
arouse us,
and call us back;
enkindle us,
and draw us to you;
grow fragrant
and sweet to us.
Let us love you,
and let us run to you.

(A prayer by St. Augustine, The Confessions, p. 187)

Enlarge My Heart

Lord, "I will run in the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart" (Psalm 119:32, KJV).

Oh, enlarge my heart, please. Increase my capacity for you. Flood every valve and ventricle, every corner and cubbyhole of my heart and spirit with your gracious presence and sovereign control. I need you, I want you, I will not let go unless you bless me with more, more, more of yourself.

Let me be satisfied in you today, as with the richest of foods, in Jesus' name, amen.

(illustration "My heart," Acrylic on canvas - 36" x 36" -by Anne Laures,

Give Us This Day (7)

Give us this day
our daily heartbeats,
all 100,000 of them,

Give Us This Day (4)

Give us this day our daily bread,
the bread of the presence,
which in the tabernacle in the wilderness
was new every morning,
and in these tents in which we live,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Give Us This Day (3)

Give us this day our daily discovery, in Jesus' name, amen.

(Prayer often used by Dr. Rendell Harris)

Give Us This Day (2)

Bread of Heaven,
who was broken for us,
give us this day
our daily Bread.
Give us yourself.
We want you,
for having you
we have all things.

Give Us This Day

Lord, give us this day
the eyes to see
our daily bread
as you provide it.

Communion of Saints

Thank you, Lord, for the prayers of the saints.
Thank you for the encouragement of the Church,
for the communion of saints,
and the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Kyrie for Calleigh

Lord, have mercy on this little one.
Christ, have mercy on tiny Calleigh.
Lord, have mercy on my precious granddaughter.

An Advent Prayer by Henri Nouwen

We welcome you, small child of Bethlehem, whose coming we await with quiet attention. Shield us from the shouts, the screams, the empty promises of the season, and encourage us to turn our hope to your coming. We know that the promise is hidden in the stable in Bethlehem and rooted in the offspring of Jesse; let us look for our salvation there. Amen.

(from Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen: Daily Scripture and Prayers together with Nouwen's Own Words)

My Psalm 106

I praise you, Lord.
I give you thanks,
for your unending goodness,
your unceasing love.

Your works are beyond words, Lord.
No language on earth is adequate
to declare all the praise you deserve.

You give joy and satisfaction to those who do justice,
those who walk in righteousness.

Remember me, Abba, when you're in the mood
to show favor to your children;
help me when you're in a helping state of mind.
Prosper me and mine
when you're handing out your good gifts,
and send us joy unspeakable
any time you want.

I know I'm just a lowly sinner,
like my ancestors before me,
my spiritual and physical antecedents.
Like Israel in Egypt,
we have been blind to your wonderful works;
we easily forget the abundance of your steadfast love,
as they did at the Red Sea.
But you still saved them, didn't you?
You showed your power for the sake of your name.
You rebuked the Red Sea, and it rolled back, became dry;
you led them through the deep as through a desert.
You saved them from their foe,
and delivered them from their enemy,
and they responded with praise.
Do as much for me,
that I might do as much for you.
Let me not forget your works,
or fail to wait for your counsel.
Let me not put you to the test,
and invite disaster with selfish prayers.

Save me from jealousy,
like those who complained against Moses and Aaron.
Save me from factionism,
like that of Abiram.
Save me from idolatry,
like those who made a calf at Horeb
and worshipped a cast image.
They exchanged your glory
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
But I more readily forget you, my Savior,
when I put my faith in the approval of man,
the techniques of others,
in financial security,
and other such things.

Save me, Lord,
from despising your good land,
your faithfulness to fulfill your promise.

Save me from foolish idolatry like theirs,
and empty sacrifices.
Save me from going through the motions,
save me from grieving or quenching your Holy Spirit.

Teach me to stand up like Phinehas,
and root out all sin and temptation from my life
as you intended--and commanded--Israel to do.

Save me from the snares that surround me,
and from compromising with evil.

You are my deliverer,
as you were theirs.
You have never forgotten your promises to me,
and never wavered in your love.

Save me, O LORD my God;
bring me into my inheritance,
that I may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.

I praise you, LORD, God of Israel,
God of me,
from everlasting to everlasting.

Praise the Lord.

I Choose to Be Your Failure

I choose to be Your failure
before anyone else's success.
Keep me from reneging
on my choice.


(excerpted from "A Psalm Requesting Faith," in Psalms of My Life by Joseph Bayly)

An Advent Prayer by Karl Rahner

I’ve begun to understand something I have known for a long time: You are still in the process of your coming. Your appearance in the form of a slave was only the beginning of your coming, a beginning in which you chose to redeem men by embracing the very slavery from which you were freeing them. And you can really achieve your purpose in this paradoxical way, because the paths that you tread have a real ending, the narrow passes which you enter soon open out into broad liberty, the cross that you carry inevitably becomes a brilliant banner of triumph.

It is said that you will come again, and this is true. But the word again is misleading. It won’t really be “another” coming, because you have never really gone away. In the human existence that you made your own for all eternity, you have never left us.

But still you will come again, because the fact that you have already come must continue to be revealed ever more clearly. It will become progressively more manifest to the world that the heart of all things is already transformed, because you have taken them all to your heart.

Behold, you come. And your coming is neither past nor future, but the present, which has only to reach its fulfillment. Now it is still the one single hour of your Advent, at the end of which we too shall have found out that you have really come.

O God who is to come, grant me the grace to live now, in the hour of your Advent, in such a way that I may merit to live in you forever, in the blissful hour of your eternity.

(from Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas)

Replace the Lamp

O Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clear.
Replace the lamp of my first love,
That burns with holy fear.

(from O Lord, You're Beautiful, by Keith Green)

Post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving

O My God,
Thou fairest, greatest,
first of all objects,
my heart admires,
loves thee,
for my little vessel
is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out
all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, for sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God,
through time and eternity.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett)

Collect for Thanksgiving

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thanks for Calleigh

Abba, Father, Most Blessed, Most High,
you bestow your greatest blessing on us
when you call upon us
to take part in
the miracle of bringing new life
into the world.

You have blessed again;
you never left blessing.

You fill us with new wonder
at this awesome gift of life,
this precious child,
this beautiful granddaughter,
this wonderful Calleigh.

Thank you for preserving her
and her mother through pregnancy
and labor
and birth.

Thank you for her health,
and intricacy.

Thank you for entrusting her to our care.

Thank you for so ably equipping
her parents to welcome her,
receive her,
care for her,
raise her,
and teach her.

Gentle shepherd,
Giver of life,
we give you thanks for this gift,
and as we cherish her
we ask you to encircle us always with your fatherly love,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for Thanksgiving on the Day Before Thanksgiving

For you, who fed the hungry,
May we so break our bread
In constant, costly giving
That others may be fed. Amen.

(by Lillian Cox)

Hear My Prayer, O Lord

A choral prayer of Henry Purcell, based on Psalm 102:1 ("Hear my prayer, O LORD; and let my cry for help come to you"), by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.

A Psalm of Thanksgiving for Leaders

Thank You for our leaders
for pastors
who feed us
serve us and our children
as Your ministers
Son of God
who came not to be served
but to serve
for theologians
who give us answers
reasons for our hope
from Your Word
Father of Lights
for evangelists
who harvest the field
You have brought
to fruition
Holy Spirit
for teachers
who make us think
of You
ourselves and others
because You have taught them.
Thank You for our leaders
Your followers.

(From Psalms of My Life, by Joseph Bayly. p. 55)

A Psalm of Preaching

I'm on the bridge
the ship's bridge
steering shipload
of your people. There they are
on the deck looking up
scarcely knowing
of the icebergs
hidden reefs
wrecks of long gone ships
that I'm avoiding.
Keep me glued
to chart
that you've provided
to Holy Spirit's course
sensing dangers
most of all
the danger that I'll think
beyond the steering
I provide
power to make the ship move
on its appointed course.
Bring us all
to safe harbor
by twelve o'clock.

(From Psalms of My Life, by Joseph Bayly. p. 42)

A Prayer of Joseph Bayly

Thank you for children
brought into being
because we loved.
God of love
Keep us loving
so that they
may grow up whole
in love's overflow.

(From Psalms of My Life, by Joseph Bayly, p. 65)


Abba, thank you for the hundreds
of Bible translations that are available to me,
and for their forerunners throughout history,
who have made
your precious Word
understandable and accessible, often at great personal cost.

Thank you for of the 72 Jewish elders recruited by Ptolemy II
who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek.

Thank you for William Tyndale,
who gave his life to "Write down the revelation and make it plain" (Habakkuk 2:2).

Thank you for the 47 scholars who transformed the Textus Receptus
into the beauty and majesty of the King James Version.

Thank you for Moffatt and Phillips,
for Ken Taylor and Eugene Peterson,
for the 32 scholars who gave us the NASB,
and the more than 100 scholars who produced the NIV.

Thank you for the efforts of more than 90 scholars
that went into the New Living Translation,
and that of the scores of scholars and advisors
who produced the English Standard Version.

May my appreciation and obedience to your Word
honor their efforts,
and yours in inspiring them.

May my life translate Scripture
into a language those around me can read,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(inspired by a blog post of Mark Batterson)

Pity My Unsettled Soul

Jesus, Shepherd of the sheep,
Pity my unsettled soul;
Guide and nourish me and keep,
Till Thy love shall make me whole.
Give me perfect soundness, give;
Make me steadfastly believe.

I am never at one stay,
Changing every hour I am;
But Thou art, as yesterday,
Now and evermore the same.
Constancy to me impart,
Stablish with Thy Grace my heart.

Give me faith to hold me up,
Walking over life's rough sea;
Holy, purifying hope,
Still my soul's sure anchor be.
That I may be always Thine,
Perfect me in love divine.

(Charles Wesley)

May I Not Seek More

may I not seek more
than you desire for me.

Save me
from longing for less.

May contentment complete me.
Let trust triumph.


(A Twitturgies prayer)

You Have to Break My Heart Always

Lord, you know that I will forget to follow you and depend on you.
You know that I will not turn to you anymore as your child
if I feel I can make it on my own.
So you have to break my heart always,
you have to keep me poor and humble,
you have to keep me incapable of anything without you.

You have to make it clear to me
that I can do nothing without your grace,
and that will never be clear to me
if I think things are going well.
You have to break my heart.

(A prayer of Fr. Vincent Nagel, from the book Magnificat Year of the Priest Companion)

A Prayer of Appreciation for The Loft

What you have done, Lord God Adonai!
What you have done.
You led your people Cobblestone
to fifty acres
we never knew to ask for.
You guided us
through the thorns and brambles
of banks and funding
and plans and permits
and clearing and grading and building.
By your grace, we moved in
just one year ago.
We enter a building this morning
that is already furnished.
We sit on chairs
we don't have to put away
when worship is over.
We enjoy a commodious auditorium
and welcoming atrium
and accessible classrooms
and ample parking
and displays
and filtered water
and heating we control
and lighting we adjust
and a fine sound system
and so much more.
Oh, God, you have blessed your people
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so very much.

Morning Prayer

Glory to you, King, God almighty, who through your divine and loving providence have consented that I, an unworthy sinner, should rise from sleep and obtain entrance into your holy house. Accept, Lord, the voice of my prayer as you accept those of your holy and spiritual powers. And that not through my defiled lips, but from a pure heart and humble spirit. Praise may be offered to you so that I also, with the bright lamp of my soul, may become a companion of the wise virgins and glorify you, God the Word, who is glorified in the Father and the Spirit. Amen.

A Thanksgiving on Rising

As I rise from sleep, I thank you, Holy Trinity, for because of your great goodness and patience, you were not angry with me, an idler and sinner, nor have you destroyed me in my sins, but have shown your usual love for me. And when I was prostrate in despair, you raised me to glorify with your power. Enlighten now my mind’s eye, open my mouth to study your words and understand your commandments, to do your will and sing to you in heartfelt adoration, and praise your most holy name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

(An Orthodox prayer)

My Psalm 105

Thank you, LORD!
I am thrilled to call on your name,
and blessed to be called
to make known among the nations what you have done.

Hear my song,
extolling your wonderful deeds,
glorifying your name,
rejoicing in your presence!

I look to you, LORD,
and draw my strength from your strength.
Communion with you is my life blood.

I remember the wonders you have done,
the miracles I have seen,
the moments in my life when your wise judgment has been vindicated.

Thank you, God, for making me a descendant of Abraham your servant,
a son of Jacob, your chosen ones.
Thank you for grafting me in!

You are my LORD and God;
I see your work all around me.

As you did with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
you have done with me:
you have kept all your promises,
you have fulfilled your word.

When my mood is low,
I forget.
But thank you for reminding me,
and teaching me that your faithfulness
is never dependent on my moods!

I wander;
you draw me back.

I feel attacked or oppressed;
you defend me.

I wallow;
you lift me up.

I feel sold out like Joseph;
you use everything to bring about my good!

Everything you do--
allowing gossip,
sending persecution,
performing miraculous signs,
sending darkness,
turning water to blood
or turning water to wine,
sending swarms of frogs or flies,
plagues of hail and locusts,
even death--
is intended for the deliverance of your loved ones!
And I am included in that number.

As you delivered Israel,
you deliver me.
Part the seas in my life, Lord,
Send pillars of fire and cloud ahead of me.
Feed me with manna and quail,
and open rocks to bring forth water!
Do it ALL,
so that your people will rejoice,
your chosen ones will shout with joy.
Do for your church what you did for your people of old:
give us the lands of the nations,
and make us heir to what others have toiled for
that we might show how you treat those
who love you and follow you
and walk in your ways,
in Jesus' name,

Then Now Then

Forgive, 0 Lord, what we have been,
Direct what we are,
And order what we shall be,
For your mercy's sake,

All You Did Was Save My Life

(I was so blessed by this song, sung in this morning's worship celebration at Cobblestone. As Con Brio was singing it, it became a prayer for me)

You, looked at me as you walked in the room;
Like the red sea, you split me open.
Somehow I knew these wings were stolen,
All you did was save my life.

Tried to run but I couldn't move,
Well, I paid for these concrete shoes
Like a singer that sings the blues,
You saw hope in the hopeless.

I'm not dying;
All you did was save my life.
Pulled me out of that flatline,
Put the heartbeat back inside.
I'm not dying;
All you did was get me through,
I owe every breathe to you.
Heart and soul unparalyzed,
All you did was save my life.

I'm not for sale but I've been sold,
The more I hear the less I know,
The lies are swallowed whole,
In their insignificance.
The story's been told a million times
but it's different when it's your life.
I won the lottery tonight,
The lottery tonight.

I'm not dying;
All you did was save my life.
Pulled me out of that flat line,
Put the heartbeat back inside.

I'm not dying;
All you did was get me through,
I owe every breathe to you.
Heart and soul unparalyzed,
All you did was save my life.

I started to come around,
The dogs are backing down,
I'm not afraid to see.

The devil's gone underground,
This tightrope's been cut down,
And I can finally breathe.

You, looked at me as I walked in the room
Like the red sea you split me open
Somehow I knew these wings were stolen

I'm not dying;
All you did was save my life.
Pulled me out of that flat line,
Put the heartbeat back inside.

I'm not dying;
All you did was get me through,
I owe every breathe to you.
Heart and soul unparalyzed,
All you did was save my life.

All you did was save my life.
(Put the heart beat back inside)
All you did was save my life.
(Put the heart beat back inside)
All you did was save my life.

A Prayer for the Victims

Heavenly Father,

I come to you asking that you would comfort the family and friends of the victims of the Fort Hood shootings. Meet each of these people at the point of their need and speak the words they need to hear in order to be comforted at this moment. Let the families and friends bind together and be strengthened as they mourn the untimely passing of their loved ones. And for those who are injured, be in the hospital room with them right now. Be at their bedside and hold their hands. Impart healing energy into their room and do what you do best as Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals stitch by stitch. Be with their loved ones who are in hospital waiting rooms awaiting news. Be with the doctors who will treat them, giving those doctors knowledge, wisdom and discernment. Let everyone who will and can pray for the recovery of those who are wounded, the comfort of those who are mourning and even the remorse for the shooters. I pray all of these things in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus, Amen.



Abba, help me to learn
what you want me to learn.

Richer Than Solomon

Thank you, Lord,
that I am richer than David,
in the children and grandchildren
who love me
and bless me with their company.
Thank you
that I am richer than Solomon
in the commodious confines of my heated,
food-refrigerating home.
Thank you
that I am richer than Herod,
in my ability to see your wonderful world,
the Andes one week,
the Smokies the next,
and my home and hearth the next!
I not only walk with the King,
I live like a king!
Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.

I Need Thee

I need Thee,
O I need Thee.
Every hour, I need Thee.
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

God, Submerge Me

God, submerge me
in the darkness of your love,
that the consciousness of my false, everyday self
falls away from [me]
like a soiled garment. . . .
May my 'deep self' fall into your presence . . . .
knowing you alone . . .
carried away into eternity
like a dead leaf in the November wind.

(Thomas Merton, The Ascent to Truth, p. 238)

Whatever May Come

Abba, whatever may come today,
I KNOW that you love me,
I KNOW that you saved me,
I KNOW that I belong to you,
I KNOW that your plans for me are good,
I KNOW that you have called me,
I KNOW that you will never leave or forsake me,
I KNOW that you accept me though others reject me,
I KNOW that you will uphold me and defend me,
whatever I may feel.
Thank you for the things I know.
Please supply also the things you want me to know,
and give me grace to embrace the mystery in all other things,

An All Saints Day Prayer

Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God,
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body
of Your Son, Christ our Lord,
and kindled the flame of your love
in the hearts of the saints.
I praise you for the holy men and women
you have raised up
in every time and place.
Give me grace so to follow their example
in devotion and godliness
that I may come
to those ineffable joys
that you have prepared for those
who unfeignedly love you,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

(updated and modernized from the Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, the Gothic Missal, and The Book of Common Prayer, 1979)

A Prayer for All Hallow's Eve

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

(Traditional Scottish prayer; the artwork pictured above can be ordered here)

My Psalm 104

I praise you, Lord, from my heart!
O Lord my God,
you are beyond description!
You are berobed with honor
and majesty--
you dress yourself in light,
you make the starry heavens
your accessories.

You make the stratosphere
your vaulted ceiling,
the clouds your chariot,
the winds your skateboard.

You make the wind currents do your bidding,
you turn flames of fire into your servants.

You poured the foundations of the earth,
firm and immovable.

You filled the oceans
until the water submerged mountains.

You told the mighty deep where to go
and the crashing waves obeyed your commands.

The mountains rose, the valleys sank
each one to the exact place You appointed.

You tell the waters where they must stop
and they turn back when you say.

You send forth springs into the valleys;
you send waters skipping down the mountainside;
they refresh every wild beast;
the wild donkeys drink their fill.
Birds of every kind nest by their banks;
they sing in the overhanging branches.

You water the mountains from celestial springs;
the earth is rejuvenated,
vegetation sprouts,
gardens grow,
pastures produce,
and vineyards bear their happy fruit,
and gladden the hearts of men.

You take care of the forest trees,
you cause them to bring forth sap,
you watch birds make their nests
and storks their homes in the fir trees.
You cause the wild goats to leap,
and the conies and badgers to burrow underground.

You measure the seasons with the moon,
the days by the setting sun.

You make darkness
to bless the nocturnal creatures.
You make the young lions roar for their supper,
and slumber when the sun shines.

You give man the light of day
to bless his work
and the night to sleep.

O Lord, what a varied world you have made!
In wisdom have you made it all;
the earth overflows with your incredible riches:
the sea, great and wide,
brimming with innumerable creatures,
both weird and wonderful,
both small and great.

Ships sail your waters like a highway,
and fearful giants use them like a playground.

All these rely on you,
as I need to do,
for their daily bread,
their very life.
They don't worry or stress.
They take what you provide,
and are filled with good things.
If not for you,
they would wither and die,
and sink to the ocean floor.
But you supply their needs
like flowers that flourish in the field.

Make me like them, Lord.
happy to serve your purpose:
your glory.

Your glory is never-ending.
Your works bring you praise.
You are just to enjoy your creation.
You are worthy of my absolute devotion.

I will sing your praise, Lord, as long as I live;
I will exalt my God while I draw breath.
Let my meditation be sweet to your ears;
let my rejoicing in you bring you joy.

Let sinners disappear completely,
absorbed into the throngs of the redeemed,
by your great grace and mighty power,
and so increase the company
of those who praise you.

I praise you.
I praise you from my heart!

Breath of Praise

Abba, I give you praise today;
for your constancy and perseverance in all things,
from the rotation of the earth
to your faithfulness to me;
for your justice,
from your laws and decrees
to your discipline of me;
for your mercy,
from your care for the birds of the air
to your kind mercy toward me,
shown even now in the mercy of a new day,
of my latest breath.
I give you praise, Abba;
if I could praise you enough,
it would take all my breath for all of eternity,
and still would not be enough.

Sheepish Prayer

Lord, baaaaa.

Be Thou

Abba, I am nothing without you.
I can do nothing without you.
I am lost and helpless without you.

Be thou my vision.
Be thou my wisdom
and my righteousness.
Be thou my peace, my wholeness, my Shalom.
Be thou my kindness and grace,
my health and rest,
my light and salvation.
Be my joy,
my everything,
my all-in-all,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Thank you, Lord,
for the sufferings I have endured.
They are nothing compared to your suffering,
but I thank you nonetheless
for what you have taught me
and accomplished through suffering in me.
Thank you for the refining process.
Thank you for the endurance and perseverance
you have taught me.
Thank you for reminding me that when I am weak,
you are strong, amen.

Sunday Prayer

give us a day of blessing today;
bare thine arm!
Strap your sword upon your thigh,
O mighty warrior,
and ride out to conquer for us,
Conquering Savior!
Surround us
with the host of heaven,
defend us
with thousands of angels,
and grant us a day of victory,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Abba, Father, your Word promises the supply of all my needs according to my riches in Christ Jesus. So I pray, first, teach me what my needs are and help me be wise enough not to confuse my needs with my wants, my desires, my compulsions, and my lusts. Then, I pray, teach me to ask you boldly, faith-fully, for my needs, and to experience your provision, in Jesus' name, amen.

My Psalm 103

I praise you, LORD, from the bottom of my heart;
I praise your holy name from deep inside.

I praise you, LORD, from the bottom of my heart,
for all the blessings you have showered on me,

You work righteousness
and justice for all who are lowly and oppressed.
You revealed your ways to Moses
and performed mighty deeds for your people, Israel.
You will do no differently for me and mine.
You are compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, overflowing with love.
You are utterly holy
and yet you never fly off the handle.
You show me infinite mercy, in spite of my sin,
and treat me far better than I could ever deserve.

Your love is as great as the heavens are high above the earth;
the 24 trillion miles between here and Proxima Centauri,
the closest star,
is too small a distance to compare to your great love,
and to the space you've put between me and my sins!

I praise you for your Father's heart,
filled with compassion for your children,
though we are dust,
our days are like grass,
our lifetimes are each a flash in the pan.

But your love reaches from everlasting to everlasting,
your love reaches through the vastness of the universe,
and your blessings find me,
and my children,
and even my children's children.

I praise you because you are more than faithful
to those who keep your covenant,
place their trust in you,
and learn to walk in your ways.

I praise you because you, LORD,
have established your throne in heaven,
and your kingdom rules over all.

I praise you, LORD,
in unison with your angels,
in harmony with your mighty ones who do your bidding,
who obey your word.

I praise you, LORD, with the heavenly hosts,
I praise you from earth
and join with all who praise you in heaven.

22 Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.


Lord, I cast all my cares upon you.
I lay all of my burdens down at your feet.
And even though I don't know what to do,
I just cast all my cares upon you.

Autumn Prayer

Abba, Father, the trees are ablaze with your glory.
The seasons change, but you never do.
You are always beautiful,
in the green and freshness of Spring
as in the golds and reds and chills of Autumn.
Make me like you.
Let my life reflect your beauty,
season after season,
as the calendar of my life turns and turns and turns.

The trees are letting go of this year's foliage.
Help me let go of both blessings and burdens,
and surrender them both to your loving care.

Fallen leaves pattern the ground with variety.
So design my own fallings and failings
into whatever design will please you most.

In Jesus' name, I pray,

(Photo by Andrea Hughes)

A Prayer of Carolyn Arends

You made cosmos out of chaos,
You made Adam out of dust,
You made wine out of the water,
You'll make something out of us.

You make light shine in our darkness,
You make life to conquer death,
You make children out of sinners,
You'll make something of us yet.

(From Carolyn Arends's song, Something Out Of Us, on her new CD, Love Was Here First. Go here to read my review of this recording).

My Psalm 102

Lord, are you listening?
Can you hear me?

Please bend your ear
and come to me
in my great need.
Tune to my wavelength,
and answer me asap.

For my days pass far too fast
and I'm feeling mighty old these days.
I've lost a step--or twenty!
But worse than my age these days
are my unreliable moods.
I stress too easily.
I get discouraged much too often.
I deprive myself of sleep
and my Enemy steals my peace.
And my joy.

I care far too much what people think.
And I've almost forgotten what joy feels like.
What's the deal?
What's wrong with me?
I tell myself it's part of the aging process.
But I know there's more to it than that.

Help me figure it out, Lord.
Speak to me through your Word,
through wise counselors,
and through my loving wife and kids and friends.

Until then, I know this:
You are still in control.
You are still worthy of praise.
You will arise and have mercy on me and mine.
You will send help in time of need.
You will never abandon your people.
You will be glorified among the nations.
Your radiance will awe the kings of the earth.
You will rebuild all the Enemy tears down,
you will restore all he steals.
You hear the prayers of the most needy.
You will not reject their pleas.

When I am tempted to be discouraged
or to self pity,
I will remember that you have looked down on me
from your holy heights
and blessed me beyond my wildest imagining!

You hear the groans of the prisoners,
You free those condemned to die.
Your fame is rightly celebrated in Zion,
and by your grace I will yet sing your praises in Jerusalem,
both in this life and the next.

So what if I'm old?
So what if I could be healthier and more vigorous?
My God, who lives forever,
has granted me a long and wonderful life!

More importantly, you who laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands
will be mine forever!
This body of mine will wear out like old clothing.
You will someday even discard the heavens and the earth
and replace them like an outdated suit of clothes.
But you are always the same;
you will live forever.
And you are mine forever.
And all me and mine--we are yours.
Thank you!

Recitare: rush through

O Elusive and Captivating Spirit
take hold of me
like a well-worn saxophone
press Your lips to me
play and moan
Your jazz and blues
embrace me, O Living Music
rush through
as i become your wind instrument
in both laughing song
and sad lament
set us all up as Your
orchestra of delight
sparking to ignite
the grace
to embrace
a world curled in fright

(by Steven Hamilton, used with permission)