My Psalm 82

God, you preside in heaven’s court;
yours is the authority over every authority.
How you must grieve at our injustice,
at our petty squabbles,
at our failure to defend the weak and fatherless,
at our attitude toward the poor and oppressed,
our failure to rescue the weak and the needy
from the hands of the wicked.
We stumble around,
and get it wrong most of the time.
You have made us just a little lower than the angels
and crowned us with honor and privilege,
yet we fail you as though we’ve practiced it.
Forgive us, O God, judge of all the earth,
and rise up to lead us and teach us and change us,

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are,
And make me love you as I ought to love.

Teach me to feel that you are always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Teach me to love you as your angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The baptism of the Heaven-descended Dove,
My heart an altar and your love the flame.

(From a hymn of George Croly, slightly revised)

A Prayer of St. Ephraim of Syria

O Lord, Master of my life, grant that I may not be infected with the spirit of slothfulness and inquisitiveness, with the spirit of ambition and vain talking.

Grant instead to me, your servant, the spirit of purity and humility, the spirit of patience and neighborly love.

O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and not thinking evil of those of my brethren. Amen.

Prayer for a Granddaughter Not Yet Born

Abba, Father, Author of life,
I thank you for baby Mia,
waiting to be born to my son and daughter-in-law.
Keep her safe, please,
grant her health,
and make her strong
for that day when she becomes known to us
as she is already known to you.
Please be gracious to her mother, Nina,
in providing as much comfort and strength
as possible--and even more than possible.
And grant when baby Mia is born
that she will be in every way further evidence
of your power to answer prayer,
your willingness to grant health and happiness,
and your awesome creativity and variety.
Attend to her, Lord God, please attend to her,
and thank you for her, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of E. Stanley Jones

Oh, Eternal Christ,
understandable to even me,
I thank you for putting the latchstring so low I can reach it.
I can reach the Highest, for you are the Highest become lowly, reachable.
And so I come, for in You I "see" everything I need. I thank you.

A Jackson Browne Prayer

(A prayer based on Jackson Browne's song, "The Pretender")

I’m going to wake up in my house
And go to sleep in your arms;
I’m going to say my prayer in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again,

Song of Joy (My Psalm 81)

I sing for joy to you, God my strength;
I shout my praise to you, O God of Jacob!
I will sing and dance and clap and bow

 to the music of drum and guitar and keyboard today!
Here at the New Moon,

 I will sing songs to you and lift you up.
I will give thanks to you in my native tongue
and with whatever language you care to supply.
For you have removed the burden from my shoulders;

 my hands are the hands of a free man.
I called, and you rescued me,

 you answered me in the storm,

 you refined me through the fire.
I once more cast down my idols,
I once more declare you to be my God, God alone in my eyes.
I cast down my idol of security,
my idol of popularity,
my idol of man’s approval,
my idols of comfort,
and peace.
You are the LORD my God,

 who brought me out of Egypt.

 I will open wide my mouth, for you to fill it.
I will listen to you;

 I will submit to you.
Mold my stubborn heart
and deliver me from my own devices.
I will follow your ways,
and watch for you to quickly subdue my enemies

 and turn your hand against my foes!
Let those who hate cringe before you,

 and let their punishment be a warning to all.
But let me and mine be fed with the finest of wheat,

 let me and mine be satisfied with honey from the rock.

Leader's Lament

Lord God Adonai, I am so tired of being a leader.
I'm tired of being the one people look to for answers,
and then being ignored or criticized
because they don't like the answer.
I'm sick of unrealistic expectations,
of being always under the gun,
under the microscope,
on call.
I'm sick of my best not being good enough.
I'm sick of having to make decisions,
and then being second guessed by those
who never suggested anything better,
who have the luxury of sniping from the sidelines.
I'm tired of backseat drivers.
I'm tired of "damned if I do, damned if I don't."
I'm tired of throwing myself in front of the bus for people
and then have them gripe because of how I did it.
I'm tired of not being able to win for losing.
I'm tired of keeping confidences
that put me in an impossible position
while others say all sorts of things,
untrue and unfair things,
and then suspect or accuse me
because they don't understand my actions.
I'm tired of having to play by a different set of rules,
a higher standard,
than people who feel free to lash out at me.
Just once, can I lash out?
Can I be petty?
Can I be childish?
Can I be unforgiving?
Can I be bitter and resentful?
Can I blame everyone else while accepting no responsibility myself?
I'm sick of being the one who has to persevere,
the one who can't quit,
who can't turn his back,
who can't leave people holding the bag.
Please, LET me step aside and let someone else lead.
Let someone else have the responsibility.
Let someone else pay the price.
I'm tired of the attacks,
I'm tired of the grief.
I'm tired of being talked about behind my back.
I'm tired of giving.
I'm tired of leading.
And lest you be tired of me whining,
even while YOU try to lead poor, pathetic, self-pitying ME,
I will say,

My Psalm 80

Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead your people in green pastures.
O God, enthroned above the heavenly beings,
display your radiant glory
to me, and to the flock I love.
Show us your mighty power.
Come to rescue us!
Turn us again
and ever more completely
to yourself, O God.

Smile on us.

Only then will we be delivered,
only then can we prosper.

O Lord God of Heaven’s battalions,

hold off no longer in routing our Enemy,
utterly defeating him.
We are muddy from the battlefield
and shell-shocked in the fight.
Lift our heads, Conquering Hero.
Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s battalions.

Smile on us.

Only then will we be delivered,
only then can we prosper.

You have brought us into a good
and spacious place.
You cleared the ground for us,

and we have persevered through many trials.

Now, Lord, O God of Heaven’s battalions,
if you choose, you can refresh us with victory,
with one victory after another.

Look down from heaven,
look favorably on us,
and rally your weary troops.
Strengthen the people you love,

the children you adore.

By your grace, we will never abandon you again.

Revive us so we can call on your name
and declare your glory to a watchful world.
once more.
Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s battalions.

Smile on us.

Only then will we be delivered,
only then can we prosper.


Abba, please restore to me the joy of your salvation
and, with it, please restore my faith in people
and my ability to think and expect
the best of them,
in Jesus' name.

Don't Know What to Pray For

Abba, my Abba, help.
I don't know what to pray for today.
There is so much I could praise and thank you for,
so much I could ask,
so much I could lament,
so very much I need.
More than anything, I need you.
Come, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for Our New Administration

(Based on an ancient prayer by St. Clement of Rome)

You, Master, have given our new president and this new administration power through your majestic and inexpressible might, so that we, acknowledging the glory and honor which you have given them, may be subject to them, resisting your will in nothing. Grant to them, Lord, health, peace, harmony, and stability, that they may blamelessly administer the government which you have given them.

For you, heavenly Master, King of the ages, give to the sons of men glory and honor and authority over those upon the earth. Lord, direct their plans according to what is good and pleasing in your sight, so that by devoutly administering in peace and gentleness the authority which you have given them they may experience your mercy. You, who alone are able to do these and even greater good things for us, we praise through the high priest and guardian of our souls, Jesus Christ, through whom be the glory and the majesty to you both now and for all generations and for ever and ever. Amen (1 Clement 61.1-3).


Abba, enlarge my heart.
Increase my faith.
Improve my leadership skills.
Expand my territory.
Magnify my vision.
Multiply my insight,
and wisdom,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Send the Fire!

O Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire!
Your blood bought gift today I claim,
Send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We need another Pentecost,
Send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear my cry:
Send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire!
O let us on your altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
And crowning all, Lord, let us pray:
Send the fire!

(Revised from a hymn by General William Booth)

Inadequate Praise

Abba, Father, I praise you for your patience and perseverance,
and thank you for not giving up on me!
I praise you for your transcendence and ineffability,
and thank you that though you are so far beyond me
and my little mind and heart,
you condescend to me --
not only in Christ, but daily, moment by moment.
I praise you for your grace and mercy,
and thank you that you looked beyond my faults -- and still do!
I praise you for your creativity and inventiveness,
and thank you that your inventions so enrich my life --
coffee, grass, clouds, rain, wind, sunrises, colors, textures, music, and more.
I praise you, Lord God, because you are worthy, completely worthy,
to receive my praise,
so much so that I could praise you all day and all week,
all month, doing nothing else but praise you,
and still not come close to exhausting your worthiness!

Good Hand

Abba, please put your "good hand" (Ezra 7:9) on me today.

Six Degree Thanks

Abba, Father, thank you for furnaces
and fireplaces
and shelter from the cold. Amen.

Psalm 108 Prayer

Oh, grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With you, Lord, we shall do valiantly;
it is you who will tread down our foes.

(Psalm 108:12-13)

All in All

I've little strength to call my own,
And what I've done, before your throne,
I here confess, is small;
But on your strength, O God, I lean,
And through the Blood that keeps me clean,
You are my all in all.

(From a song by Herbert Booth, slightly revised)

Servant Prayer

Lord, I am selfishly born
and remain to this day, one loving to be served.
Change me, Lord.
Remake me from the inside out
into one who who serves with a loving heart.

(A prayer of Virelle Kidder, from her wonderful book, The Best Life Ain't Easy, But It's Worth It).

My Psalm 79

O God, the world is too much with us.
The ways of the world defile your people,
and weaken your church.
We are prey
for our enemies,
and we cooperate in our own destruction!
We turn on each other
and devour each other with our words,
our attitudes,
our sin.
We make our Enemy’s job easy!

How long, O LORD? Will you let this continue?
How can you let your children, your chosen ones,
live so deceitfully, so unfruitfully?

It would be different if it came from people who do not acknowledge you or call on your name;
but it is your own who devour and destroy your house.

Deliver us from the sins of the fathers;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,

 for we are in desperate need.
Help us, O God our Savior,
for the glory of your name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for your name's sake.

Save us from making a mockery of you,
of your Gospel,
of all you have taught us and commanded us and done for us.

May the groans of the wounded come before you;
by the strength of your arm
preserve those who have been hurt by friendly fire.
Throw our Enemy’s attacks into his teeth,
even seven times over.
Then we your people,
the sheep of your pasture,
will praise you forever;
from generation to generation
we will recount your praise.


God, my Rock, show your strength in me today as I serve your church, in Jesus' name, amen.


Almighty and everlasting God, who has made known the incarnation of your Son by the bright shining of a star, which, when the wise men beheld, they presented costly gifts and adored your majesty; grant that the star of your righteousness may always shine into our hearts; and that, as our treasure, we may give ourselves and all we possess to your service, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

(from the Gelasian Sacramentary)

Clasp Your Hand

Lord, I would clasp your hand in mine,
And never murmur or repine,
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since it is your hand leading me.

(from the hymn, He Leadeth Me, by Joseph Henry Gilmore, slightly updated)

Sunday Plea

Abba, send your blessing on your people today.
Please grant us to worship you
in spirit and in truth,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Workday Rest

Adonai, only you could do what I ask:
please help me rest today,
even though I work,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Mindful Prayer

Abba, Father, I thank you
that you have made me passably smart.
I ask also:
please make me miraculously wise,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A New Year Prayer

(A prayer by Charles de Foucauld)

Father, I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me whatever you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures.

Into your hands I commend my spirit.
I offer it to you with all the love that is in my heart.
For I love you, Lord, and so want to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.