Help Me Never to Expect Happiness From the World

O Lord,
help me never to expect any happiness
from the world, but only in Thee.
Let me not think that I shall be more happy
by living to myself,
for I can only be happy if employed for Thee,
and if I desire to live in this world
only to do and suffer what Thou dost allot me.

Teach me
that if I do not live a life that satisfies Thee,
I shall not live a life that will satisfy myself.

Help me to desire the spirit and temper of angels
who willingly come down to this lower world
to perform Thy will,
though their desires are heavenly,
and not set in the least upon earthly things;
then I shall be of that temper I ought to have.

Help me not to think of living to Thee
in my own strength,
but always to look and rely on Thee
for assistance.

Teach me that there is no greater truth than this,
that I can do nothing of myself.
Lord, this is the life that no unconverted man
can live,
yet it is an end that every godly soul
presses after;

Let it be then my concern to devote myself
and all to Thee.
Make me more fruitful and more spiritual,
for barrenness is my daily affliction and load.
How precious is time, and how painful to see it fly
with little done to good purpose!

I need Thy help:
O may my soul sensibly depend upon Thee
for all sanctification,
and every accomplishment of Thy purposes
for me, for the world,
and for Thy kingdom.

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

A Bomb-Proof Constitution

Give me a bomb-proof constitution, God,
a spirit to withstand this rain-soaked life.
Fortify my faith to face the fire,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(A prayer of Gerard Kelly,

My Psalm 92

It is good to praise you, LORD,
and sing songs to you, O Most High,
to start out my day with praise
and end it with thanks,
to sing songs that remind me of your
great love and faithfulness.

For praising you is the best mood-lifter in the world,
and worship always screws my head back on right.

I will focus on your works, O LORD,
and try to think your thoughts after you!

I will not be distracted by the works of senseless men,
and fools who lack understanding,
for though their words and deeds may frustrate me,
they flourish only for a time,
and don't even know how soon their lives will end.

But you, O LORD, are exalted forever.
Your enemies will be scattered.
You have entrusted great things to me,
and have blessed me far, far beyond what I deserve.
My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes,
time and time again, by your great mercy.

You will make me flourish like a palm tree,
you will cause me to grow like a cedar of Lebanon,
watered by worship,
sustained by fountains of blessing in the house of the LORD,
the courts of our God.

By your grace, I will still bear fruit in old age,
I will stay fresh and green,
always proclaiming, "The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and he has been nothing but good to me."


Praying Again What I Sang Yesterday

(A prayer by Don Moen and Paul Wilbur)

Lord, I come to You.
Let my heart be changed, renewed,
Flowing from the grace
That I've found in You.
And Lord I've come to know
The weaknesses I see in me
Will be stripped away
By the power of Your love.

Hold me close,
Let Your love surround me;
Bring me near,
Draw me to Your side;
And as I wait,
I'll rise up like an eagle,
And I will soar with You,
Your spirit leads me on,
By the power of Your love.

Lord, unveil my eyes;
Let me see you face to face,
The knowledge of Your love,
As you live in me.
And Lord, renew my mind,
As Your will unfolds in my life;
In living every day
By the power of Your love.

Hold me close,
Let Your love surround me;
Bring me near,
Draw me to Your side;
And as I wait,
I'll rise up like an eagle,
And I will soar with You,
Your spirit leads me on,
By the power of Your love.

Benedictus es, Domine

Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers;
you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy Name;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you in the splendor of your temple;
on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glory to you, beholding the depths;
in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

(from the apocryphal Song of the Three Young Men, vv. 29-34)

The Gift of Little Lives

O my God,
Thou hast permitted us
through the gift of little lives such as these
to discern spiritual truths which thou hast hid
from the wise and prudent
and revealed unto babes,
that so we might enter into the Kingdom of Heaven as little children.
Grant unto me this, O my Father,
that I shall hold so fast to Thine Hand
that the journey that would otherwise be impossible
shall be possible for me,
and the task that would have been too great
may be accomplished through thy strength.
For I can do all things through Him that strengtheneth me
and if I hold Thy Hand
I can run and not be weary,
and walk and not faint.

(a prayer by William E. Barton, in the book, Safed and Keturah)

Daily Petition

Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.

General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Prayer for the Unemployed

Lord God Adonai, my Abba, Father, please have mercy on those people--millions of them in this country alone, and many among my friends, neighbors, family, and flock--who are unemployed or soon to become unemployed. Please provide work and income for them. Please defy the "economy" by your great mercy and guide them quickly to honest work that meets their needs. In the meantime, please supply patience and loving trust in you as well as strength, creativity, inspiration, guidance, and energy for all those who must search and struggle to figure out where to find work and how to pay bills, in Jesus' name, Amen.


O LORD and Saviour, I recline
On that eternal love of Thine.
Thou art my rest, and Thou alone
Remainest when all else is gone.

(from a hymn by Mrs. G. Helyar, slightly revised)

The Prayer

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know.

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way:
Lead us to a place,
Guide us with your grace,
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts,
And stars go out each night,
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day:
Lead us to a place,
Guide us with your grace,
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

A world where pain and sorrow will be ended,
And every heart that’s broken will be mended,
And we’ll remember we are all God’s children
Reaching out to touch you,
Reaching to the sky.

We ask that life be kind,
And watch us from above,
We hope each soul will find
Another soul to love.

Let this be our prayer,
Just like every child
Needs to find a place,
Guide us with your grace,
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

My Psalm 91

I'm here, LORD, dwelling in the shelter of the Most High.
I rest in the shadow of your wings, Almighty God, my Savior.

You are my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.

Save me from the traps that surround me
and the sickness that pervades this sad world.

Cover me with your feathers,
and grant me refuge under your wings;
Your faithfulness is my shield and fortification.

Let not worries assail me at night,
nor stresses by day,
nor the darkness of discouragement,
and depression.

Though attacks may swirl around me
and the Enemy's presence seem oh, so near,
I trust in your protection..

Let me see clearly into the spirit realm,
and know that you are fighting for me.

You, Most High, are my home,
you are my defense,
and no harm will befall me,
no disaster will come near me.

Command your angels to surround me,
guard me in all my ways;
lift me up in their hands,
so that I won't even so much as stub a toe.

In your strength I can tread upon the lion and the cobra;
with you, my God, I will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Because I love you, I know you will rescue me;
you will protect me, for I acknowledge your name.

I call upon you, and you answer me;
you are with me in times of trouble,
and will deliver me and honor me.

With long and fruitful life, satisfy me, LORD,
and save me day by day. Amen.

A Twitturgies Prayer

God give me empathy more emphatic then my ego.
Grant me poverty more perfect than my pride.
Squeeze self.
Reduce me to love.

(A prayer of Gerard Kelly,

A Prayer of Augustine

Here is my heart, O God,
here it is
with all its secrets;
look into my thoughts,
O my hope,
and take away
all my wrong feelings;
let my eyes ever be on you
and release my feet from the snare.

A Prayer for Two Missionaries

Almighty God, I thank you today for your servants Don and Christie, whom you called to proclaim the Gospel to the people of Peru. Raise up in this and every land such sacrificial and effective evangelists and leaders of your Kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever, amen.

My Psalm 90

Lord, you have been my shelter
and that of my family for many generations.

Long before that,
before the mountains were born,
before matter existed,
from everlasting to everlasting,
from eternity past to eternity future,
you are God.

You will pick the day when my heart stops beating.
You now just how many steps remain
along my way.

For you, it is already accomplished,
for a thousand years are like a single day to you;
in you there is no difference between now and then.

You must laugh at my daily stresses,
for you know that in the grand scheme of your plan,
they are not so much as a blip on a radar screen.

And yet, I know you care.
I know your heart breaks when mine does,
and you long to carry my burdens
as you have carried my sins far away.

Only you know how long I have left,
to love and serve my family,
my church,
my community and world.

But whether my earthly future
will be measured in hours or decades,
I know this is the only time in history
that I get to partner with you in bringing your kingdom.

So teach me to use my time wisely,
and passionately.

Satisfy me each morning with your unfailing love,
and hear my songs of joy each night,
for the rest of my days.

Let my joys outnumber my sorrows,
and let your deeds be shown among my people,
your splendor to us and all our children.

May your favor, Lord God, rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

On Robin's Birthday

Abba, you have granted me
the loveliest bride,
the perfect woman for me,
and I am grateful.
Thank you
for hearing my heart's cry 35 years ago
and thank you
for giving her in marriage to me 32 years ago.
And thank you
for every day with her since then,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Rita Springer

I don't understand Your ways,
Oh, but I will give You my song,
Give You all of my praise,
You hold on to all my pain;
With it You are pulling me closer,
And pulling me into Your ways.

Now around every corner
And up every mountain,
I'm not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains,
I'm desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need.
I will say to You

It's gonna be worth it.
It's gonna be worth it.
It's gonna be worth it all.
I believe this.
It's gonna be worth it.
It's gonna be worth it.
It's gonna be worth it all.
I believe this.

Spirit Divine

Spirit divine, come as of old,
With healing in Thy train;
Come, as Thou didst, to sanctify;
Let naught of sin remain.

Come, great Spirit, come,
Make each heart Thy home;
Enter every longing soul;
Come, great Spirit, come.

Spirit divine, purge Thou our hearts.
Make us to understand
Thy blessed will concerning us,
And teach us love's command.

Spirit divine, cleanse Thou our souls
With pentecostal flood;
Breathe into us the life that shows
The Father-love of God.

(A hymn by Catherine Baird; thanks to Juli Nuesch for reminding me of this wonderful prayer by way of the King's Singers)

A Prayer from George Whitefield

Lord, help me see the vanity
of all commendation but thine own.

Knightly Prayer

A prayer reportedly said often by medieval knights:

My Lord, I stand ready on the threshold of this new day, to go forth, armed with thy power, seeking adventure on the high road, to right wrong, to overcome evil, to suffer wounds and endure pain if need be, but in all things, to serve thee bravely, faithfully, joyfully, that at the end of the day’s labor, kneeling for thy blessing, thou mayest find no blot upon my shield. This I ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who livest and reignest with God the Father, in union with the Holy Ghost, for all ages of ages. Amen.


Jesus, Breathe Thy Spirit on me,
Teach me how to breathe Thee in,
Help me pour into Thy bosom
All my life of self and sin.

I am breathing out my own life,
That I may be filled with Thine;
Letting go my strength and weakness,
Breathing in Thy life divine.

Breathing out my sinful nature,
Thou hast borne it all for me;
Breathing in Thy cleansing fullness,
Finding all my life in Thee.

I am breathing out my sorrow,
On Thy kind and gentle breast;
Breathing in Thy joy and comfort,
Breathing in Thy peace and rest.

I am breathing out my longings,
In Thy list’ning loving ear,
I am breathing in Thy answers,
Stilling every doubt and fear.

I am breathing every moment,
Drawing all my life from Thee;
Breath by breath I live upon Thee,
Blessed Spirit, breathe in me.

(A prayer of A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance; thanks to Christine Sine and her Godspace blog, which is where I discovered this prayer)

A Prayer for CommunityFest 09

Lord God Adonai,
Creator of heaven and earth,
look down on your people Cobblestone today,
and show us your favor.
Please make our worship pleasing to you,
and give us good weather
and an enthusiastic turnout
for our CommunityFest this afternoon.
Please honor the selfless efforts of your servants
and grant us all success.
Party with us,
as we party with our neighbors,
in Jesus' name,

A Prayer of Peter Marshall

Our Father, we pray for this land. We need Your help in this time of testing and uncertainty, when men who could fight together on the field of battle seem strangely unable to work together around conference tables for peace.

May we begin to see that all true Americanism begins in being Christian; that it can have no other foundation, as it has no other roots. To Your glory was this Republic established. For the advancement of the Christian faith did the Founding Fathers give their life’s heritage, passed down to us.

We would pray that all over this land there may be a return to the faith of those men and women who trusted in God as they faced the perils and dangers of the frontier, not alone in crossing the continent, in building their cabins, in rearing their families, in eking out a livelihood, but in raising a standard of Faith to which men have been willing to repair down through the years.

You blessed their efforts. You blessed America. You made her rich. Will You also make her good? Make us, the citizens of this land, want to do the right things. Make us long to have right attitudes. Help us to be Christian in our attitudes. Let all that we do and say spring out of understanding hearts. Make us willing to seek moral objectives together, that in united action this nation may be as resolute for righteousness and peace as she has been for war.

Bless those who bear responsibility. May they be led by You to do that which is right rather than that which is expedient or politically wise. Save us from politicians who seek only their own selfish interests. Illumine the minds of management as well as labor, that there may be an end to selfishness and greed, to the stupidity of men who are unable to find in reasonable agreement solutions to the problems that plague us.

Bless this land that we love so much, our Father, and help her to deposit her trust, not in armies and navies, in wealth and material resources, or in achievements of the human mind, but in that righteousness which alone exalts any nation, and by which alone peace can finally come to us. This we ask in that name that is above every name, Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.

A Thousand Glad Answers

You speak words of promise,
and we answer.
A thousand times we answer,
in a thousand tongues--
we answer in hymns of praise,
we answer in songs of thanksgiving,
we answer in lyrics of gladness,
we answer in candor about hurt,
we answer in abrasive anger,
we answer in deep abandonment.

We answer and draw close to you.
And in answering we are changed:
given freedom,
come to truth,
bound in obedience.

We answer and are yours, all yours,
not our own,
yours, and
glad that we belong to
you our faithful savior.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People, p. 169)

How Do You Stand It?

How do you stand it, Lord?

So many hurting people.
So many sick.
So many confused.
So many needs.

I cast this pastor's cares on you,
and I know you are infinite
and almighty,
but I still wonder how you stand it,
because I wonder how I can stand it.


Thank you, Father,
for 128,085 miles
on my car's odometer.
Thank you for its faithful service
over the years.
Thank you that it yet lives
to drive another day.

O God of the Open Ear

O God of the open ear,
Teach me to live by prayer
as well as by providence,
for myself, soul, body, children, family, church;

Give me a heart frameable to thy will;
so might I live in prayer,
and hounour thee,
being kept from evil, known and unknown.

Help me to see the sin that accompanies all I do,
and the good I can distil from everything.
Let me know that the work of prayer is to bring
my will to thine,
and that without this it is folly to pray;

When I try to bring thy will to mine it is
to command Christ,
to be above him, and wiser than he:
this is my sin and pride.

I can only succeed when I pray
according to thy precept and promise,
and to be done with as it pleases thee,
according to thy sovereign will.

When thou commandest me to pray
for pardon, peace, brokenness,
it is because thou wilt give me the thing promised,
for thy glory,
as well as for my good.

Help me not only to desire small things
but with holy boldness to desire great things
for thy people, for myself,
that they and I might live to show thy glory.

Teach me
that it is wisdom for me to pray for all I have,
out of love, willingly, not of necessity;
that I may come to thee at any time,
to lay open my needs acceptably to thee;
that my great sin lies in my not keeping
the savour of thy ways;
that the remembrance of this truth is one way
to the sense of thy presence;
that there is no wrath like the wrath of being
governed by my own lusts for my own ends.

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