End-of-the-Year Prayer

O Love Beyond Compare,
you are good when you give,
when you take away,
when the sun shines,
when night gathers over me.

You have loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love redeemed my soul;
you love me still,
in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, and distrust.

Your goodness has been with me another year,
leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.

Your goodness will be with me in the year ahead,
as I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
as the shape of my ministry changes,
and I become again a writer who preaches,
and no longer a pastor who (infrequently) writes.

I bless you that you have veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If you have appointed storms of tribulation,
you will be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,
I shall not drown;
If I am to die,
I shall see your face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot,
grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love,
I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify yourself in me whether in comfort or trial,
as a chosen vessel meet always for your use.

I thank you for the blessing of this year now past,
and bless you for the promise of this year to come,
in Jesus' name,

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


Abba, my Father,
thank you for technology.
Thank you for the inventions
and discoveries
that enrich my life
though they also complicate it at times.

Thank you for cell phones,
and computers,
and radio,
for the internet,
for remote controls,
and applications,
word processing,
digital photography,
and blogs.

Thank you for text messaging
and iTunes
and syncing calendars
and address books
and alarms and notifications
and financial software
and presentation software
and desktop publishing software
and so much more.

Thank you, Lord,
for the ability to download an eBook in seconds,
to send a message around the world in a moment,
to pay a bill,
answer a question,
save a coupon,
make a reservation,
and listen to music
in ways that were impossible just a short time ago.

Thank you for technology,
for the helpful purposes it serves,
even as I pray for you to frustrate
the evil ways it can also be used,
in Jesus' name, amen.

You Won't Relent

You won't relent until You have it all;
My heart is Yours....

I'll set You as a seal upon my heart,
As a seal upon my arm,
For there is love that is as strong as death,
Jealousy, demanding as the grave;
Many waters cannot quench this love!

You won't relent until You have it all;
My heart is Yours....

Come be the fire inside of me,
Come be the flame upon my heart,
Come be the fire inside of me,
Until You and I are one.

(a prayer by Misty Edwards)

Post-Vandalism Prayer

Lord, you know my car was broken into today, a window shattered, the stereo stolen, and my Bible-on-CDs stolen as well.

Yet I have much to be thankful for. Thank you that no one was hurt. Thank you that my iPad and wallet, which were in the car, were not stolen! Thank you that insurance will cover the stereo and the CDs. Thank you that only possessions were harmed, not people. Thank you that it was such a minor disruption in my life.

Thank you, too, that I am so rich as to possess something worth stealing (though the worth of the stereo is debatable!). Thank you that the loss is insufficient to ruin me financially, or even set me back much at all. Thank you that I was still able to deliver the large-print Bible I had purchased (!) to my dad, and return home safely.

In your wise and loving sovereignty, Lord, let the person or persons who vandalized my car actually USE the Bible CDs. Let them hear your word, dramatized even!, and be drawn closer to you by it. Don't let my former property be used to cause harm, to buy drugs, or bring misery. Instead, let this theft be a means of salvation, even. Let your ways become known, your saving power, even through an event such as this, in Jesus' name, amen.

Teach Me to Hate the Things You Hate

Lord God, please teach me
to hate the things you hate--
bitterness and quarreling,
anger and strife,
injustice, cruelty, and abuse,
immorality and idolatry,
ambition and jealousy,
selfishness and greed,
jealousy and envy,
and hatred itself,
especially (but not exclusively)
when they show up in me,
in Jesus' name, amen.

An After-Christmas Prayer

Lord, if we were to sum it all up, we are filled with so many good things but today it's enough to appreciate the gift of life itself! And the gift of a morning so clean and crisp and beautiful that we can see blue sky everywhere! We offer our worship, our gifts, ourselves. You alone are God, you alone are the Lord. You alone are holy.

Forgive us for the words spoken in anger, for our actions that have hurt or harmed another. And we pray for those who hurt us, in the name of the one who said from the cross, "Forgive them- they don't know what they're doing." Free us, we pray, to make it easier for others to believe in you because they have known us. Help us to lighten the load that others are carrying, to cut some slack for others, knowing how we appreciate it when someone is patient and understanding with us.

We praise and glory and delight in your loving presence. The glow of that Holy Night still lingers...the simplicity and surrender of people giving themselves to each other and ultimately to you... Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, all making their unplanned journeys. So teach us to walk with you in the happenstance. That if you are anywhere, you are where we are afraid and uncertain. Teach us anew that courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of love- your love and grace. Teach us what it means to be loved unconditionally, and to trust in you even though we don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Help us to hear in Jesus our invitation to live and to be fully alive! That surrendering to you is an invitation to know joy and peace and gentleness deep within and where we live. It's our gain and we're so grateful. Renew and restrain us and our world in your love. Renew our hope and adventure and willingness to risk and serve. Deliver those who are in pain or who suffer from the violence of others. Heal us and hold us all, Lord. And equip us not only to know what our ministry is, but to do it! In the name of the One who saves us and loves, Jesus. Amen.

(A prayer by Scott Endress at clergyspirit.org)

A Prayer for the First Sunday After Christmas

Almighty God,
you have poured upon us
the new light
of your incarnate Word:
Grant that this light,
enkindled in our hearts,
may shine forth in our lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God,
now and for ever.

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

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 Clavis David

O Key of David,
O royal power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.

O Radix Jesse

O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up
as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.

If I Die Tonight

Lord, if I die tonight,
or am diagnosed with a terminal
or debilitating disease tomorrow,
give me grace to thank you
and praise you nonetheless,
for 52+ years of life,
for longlonglong periods of health and well-being,
for giving me the love of my life
and my best friend in the lovely Robin,
for such pride-inspiring children,
such wonderful daughter- and son-in-law,
and my grandchildren, oh my my my my.

Give me grace to thank you
and praise you for 30+ years of ministry,
for the honor of writing and publishing,
for the enjoyment I've known in preaching,
for a myriad of friends,
for the nation I live in,
the home I grew up in,
the heritage I've been given.

Thank you for the years of work,
and income.
Thank you that I've never been in prison,
and stayed only twice in a hospital.
Thank you for a faith intact,
a heart that is full,
a mind that still works.

No matter what tonight may bring,
no matter what tomorrow holds,
how can I but praise you
for all you've done for me,
and in me,
and--against all contra-indications--through me?

Save me from second-guessing your wisdom
and timing
and grace
should the road ahead be hard,
in Jesus' name, amen.

O Adonai

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)

O Sapentia

O Wisdom,
coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Lifesong Prayer, Pt. 2

I want to sign your name
to the end of this day,
Knowing that my heart was true.
Let my lifesong sing to You.

(from Lifesong, by Casting Crowns)

Lifesong Prayer, Pt. 1

Lord, I give my life,
A living sacrifice,
To reach a world in need,
To be your hands and feet,

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing,
Bring a smile to You.

A Prayer of Thomas à Kempis

Grant me, O Lord,
to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.

Do not suffer me to judge
according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of thy will. Amen.

(A prayer by Thomas à Kempis)

A Prayer by Philip Bliss, slightly revised

More holiness give me, more strivings within.
More patience in suffering, more sorrow for sin.
More faith in you, Jesus, more sense of your care.
More joy in your service, more purpose in prayer.

More gratitude give me, more trust in you, Lord.
More zeal for your glory, more hope in your Word.
More tears for your sorrows, more pain at your grief.
More meekness in trial, more praise for relief.

More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more faithful and true,
More blessèd and holy, more, Savior, like you.

Praise to the Trinity

O God the Father, of heaven,
who hast marvellously created
the world out of nothing,
who dost govern and uphold heaven
and earth with Thy power,
who didst deliver Thy Only-begotten
for us unto death:

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
who didst will to be incarnate of a virgin,
who hast washed us from our sins
by Thy precious blood,
who rising from the dead didst ascend
victorious to heaven:

O God the Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
who didst descend upon Jesus in
the form of a dove,
who coming upon the apostles didst
appear in fiery tongues,
who dost visit and confirm with
Thy grace the hearts of the saints:

O sacred, highest, eternal, blissful,
blessed Trinity,
always to be praised, yet always
O Father good -
O Son loving -
O Spirit kind -
whose majesty is unspeakable,
whose power is incomparable,
whose goodness is inestimable:
whose work is life,
whose love is grace,
whose contemplation is glory:

Deity, Divinity, Unity, Trinity:
Thee I worship, Thee I call upon,
with the whole affection of my heart
I bless now and forever:
through Jesus Christ our Lord,

(A prayer of Lancelot Andrewes)


God, I thank you and praise you for your ingenuity....
to have thought of the Sabbath...
to have created two sexes....
to have created growth itself,
and sleep,
and so many other wonderful things
that we take for granted as though they have always existed...
but once they were not,
and then they were formed in your mind,
and now they are.
How wonderful you are.

A Prayer of Thomas Merton

(A prayer of Thomas Merton, who died on December 10, 1968...forty-two years ago today...read by Father Matt Kelty, a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Merton lived)

Prayer from This Misty Lowland

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune god, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(A prayer of A. W. Tozer)

Almost Nightly Prayer

Thank you, Lord,
for this bed,
this pillow,
these clean sheets,
and covers;
for this mattress,
and box springs,
and headboard;
for this quiet room,
for the dark,
for the safety,
for the sleep.

Thanks for Unpleasant People

Lord, I thank you
for those who have slighted or rejected me,
for they underscore to me
the beauty of your acceptance.

Thank you
for friends who have betrayed me,
for they make me appreciate
faithful friends all the more.

Thank you for ungracious people,
for they show me how blessed I am
to have so many gracious people in my life.

Thank you for those who have unrealistic expectations of me,
for they make me more deeply appreciate
people who accept me and love me
without expectations.

Thank you for people who judge me unfairly,
for they remind me to look only to you, my righteous Judge,
for vindication.

Thank you for the cantankerous,
the unpleasant,
the impatient,
for they provide ample opportunities
to become more like my longsuffering Lord,
in whose name I pray, amen.

Give Me the Name Naphtali

Sovereign Commander of the Universe,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief,
in a felt spiritual darkness.
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude,
and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeard,
and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages;
I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves,
in horror and distress unutterable.

Help me, O Lord,
to throw myself absolutely and wholly on thee,
for better, for worse, without comfort,
and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind,
morning joy that comes after night heaviness;
Water my soul with divine blessings;
Grant that I may welcome that humbling in private
so that I might enjoy thee in public;
Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Thy grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he;
Yet thou hast made me a monument of mercy,
a trophy of redeeming power;
In my distress let me not forget this.

All-wise God,
Thy never-failing providence orders every event,
sweetens every fear,
reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good,
brings real good out of seeming evil,
makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon,
to show me what a short-sighted creature I am,
and to teach me to live by faith upon
thy blessed self.

Out of sorrow and night
give me the name Naphtali -
‘satisfied with favour’ -
help me to love thee as thy child,
and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.

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

To Be Sovereign of the Universe

To be Sovereign of the universe
is no great matter to you, God.
In yourself, at home in "the land of the Trinity,"
you are Sovereign of a far greater realm.

Help me to keep always before my eyes
that vision of Lady Julian’s
in which you carried in your hand
a little object like a nut,
and that nut was "all that is made."

God, you who needs nothing,
loves into existence
wholly superfluous creatures like me
in order that you may love and perfect them.

Praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

(based on lines from C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, pages 175-176)


Thank you, good God,
for the things I don't possess:
fancy cars,
expensive clothes,
a boat,
a plane,
a jet ski,
a second mortgage,
a divorce settlement,
an alimony payment,
a bodyguard,
a fence around my property.

Thank you also, Lord,
for the things that don't possess ME:
drugs or alcohol,
guilt or shame,
a need to maintain a certain lifestyle
or a desire to keep up appearances.
Thank you that I am not afflicted
with wealth,
or beauty,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Quiet Me

Quiet me with your love, Lord; please, quiet me with your love. Let your love fill me and rush through me; let it consume me and constrain me. Let me walk in your love tomorrow, Lord; let me rest in your love tonight. Let your love overflow me; make me look on others and into their hearts and hurts with your eyes of love. Let your love and faithfulness be bound around me and to me like phylacteries, let them rule me and be ever my guiding influence, in Jesus' name, amen.


Lord, I thank you for your blood,
your precious blood;
thank you that it was willingly shed;
thank you that you stayed free of sin so as to be a perfect, unblemished sacrifice;
thank you for the power of such types as the Paschal lamb and Abraham's ram, that show your careful plan of salvation;
thank you that your blood takes away my sin, cleanses me thoroughly, obtains eternal redemption for me, consecrates for me a new and living way, gives me boldness to approach the throne and draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith;
help me to so live that I will glorify you in my body and in my spirit, in Jesus' name, amen.

Hamlet Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of this day, and for the health, energy, sensibility, nourishment, and all other resources and blessing you have given me to use and spend in it.

Teach me, Lord, the grace and skill of living in the now and not in the "then," whether that "then" which is behind or that which is ahead. "I am too much i' the sun," Hamlet said; I am too much in the "then." Help me walk in the light of each day as you give it to me, and neither offend you nor tax myself by robbing today to pay either yesterday or tomorrow, in Jesus' strong and sufficient name, amen.

Die to the World

Blessed Lord,
help me to die to the world
and all its allures.
I confess I am too much of the world;
I stink of it.
Please remove the dust of this world
and the stench of its values from me.
Help me to reckon myself
crucified with Christ to this cosmos,
this present age,
this broken system.
Cleanse me of my materialism,
of my gluttony,
and all that smacks of this world.
Tune my heart and mind instead
to the music of your kingdom,
in Jesus' name, I pray, amen.

Save Me From Effete Christianity

Deliver me, God, from a religion without majesty.
Save me from effete Christianity.
Rescue me from lukewarmness.
Redeem me from busyness,
from all work outside your will,
from empty "ministry,"
empty "prayer,"
empty "communion,"
empty "worship."

Fill my life, O Lord, my God,
in every part
with your presence,
your agency,
your active, guiding, infilling and outworking presence,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Daylily Prayer

Father in heaven,
make me anew today
in the image of your Son,
as the daylily is made new ever day.
Make me forgiving.
Give me sacrificial love.
Grant me a self-denying spirit,
a persevering will,
a heart of passion and compassion like his.
More love,
more joy,
more peace,
more faith, I pray.
Make me more worshipful,
Make me a man of integrity,
Make me a better husband
and father
and father-in-law,
and grandfather,
and friend,
and preacher,
and pastor,
and writer,
and pray-er.
And then tomorrow,
do it again, please,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer for My Life

Lord God, deliver me please
from the evil of the unexamined life...
the unworshipful life...
the self-centered life...
the self-absorbed life...
the self-satisfied life...
the frantic life...
the marginal life...
the care-filled life...
the accidental life...
the self-reliant life...
the arrogant life...
the inconsequential life...
the shallow life...
the appetite-driven life...
the reactive life...
the fruitless life...
the material life...
the thoughtless life...
the prayerless life...
the small life...
in Jesus' name, amen.

We Cry Out


Lord God, as I worship you today,
please let me approach your throne
boldly, but with due reverence and awe.
Let my worship be worship indeed,
in spirit and truth,
acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Prayer for a New Season of Advent

Father in heaven,
our hearts desire the warmth of your love
and our minds are searching
for the light of your Word.

Increase our longing for Christ our Savior
and give us the strength to grow in love,
that the dawn of his coming
may find us rejoicing in his presence
and welcoming the light of his truth.


God, I praise you for your holiness.
I praise you for your holiness displayed in the Garden of Eden.
I praise you for your holiness displayed on Mt. Sinai,
for your holiness displayed to Isaiah,
for your holiness shown through your Son,
for your holiness revealed in your Word
and in the changed lives of your martyrs,
saints, and servants,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For a Penitential Spirit

Oh, Lord,
please cultivate in me
a penitential spirit.

Make me unsatisfied--mournful--
with the dingy gray of my finest robes
against the unapproachable shining whiteness
that is your holiness.


A Thanksgiving Prayer by George Herbert

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more–-a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.

Thank You, Lord, For All Your Goodness

Thank you, Lord, for all your goodness:
Through the years of yesterday:
Thank you too, for present mercies
And your blessings on my way.
Thank you for each revelation,
And for what you choose to hide;
Thank you Lord, for grace sustaining
As I in your love abide.

Thank you Lord, for sunlit pathways,
Thank you too, for byways rough:
Thank you for the fruitful summers,
Also for the winters tough.
Thank you, Lord, for fragrant flowers
Growing right amid the weeds;
Thank you for the peace you give me
Even when my spirit bleeds.

Thank you, Lord, for wayside roses,
Even for the thorns beside;
Thank you for the prayers you granted
And for those that you denied;
Thank you, Lord, for precious comfort
In my hours of grief and pain:
Thank you for your precious promise
Life eternal I shall gain.

(by August Ludvig Storm (1862-1914), translated by Flora Larsson)

A Prayer for Calleigh's Birthday

A Prayer by G. K. Chesterton

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands,
And the great world around me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

A Thanksgiving Prayer of Peter Marshall

Our Father in Heaven,

If ever we had a cause to offer unto Thee our fervent thanks, surely it is now, on the Eve of our Thanksgiving Day, when we, the people of this Nation, are comfortable, well fed, well clad, and blessed with good things beyond our deserving. May gratitude, the rarest of all virtues, be the spirit of our observance.

Let not feasting, football, and festivity end in forgetfulness of God. May the desperate need of the rest of the world, and our own glorious heritage, remind us of the God who led our Fathers every step of the way by which they advanced to the character of an independent nation.

May the faith and conviction of George Washington be renewed in us as we remember his words:
...there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exits in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained...
For if we do not have the grace to thank Thee for all that we have and enjoy, how can we have the effrontery to seek Thy further blessings? God, give us grateful hearts.

For Jesus' sake.


From the Senate of the United States - November 26, 1947
Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain

A Little Prayer

(A prayer by Robert William Service)

Let us be thankful, Lord, for little things -
The song of birds, the rapture of the rose;
Cloud-dappled skies, the laugh of limpid springs,
Drowned sunbeams and the perfume April blows;
Bronze wheat a-shimmer, purple shade of trees -
Let us be thankful, Lord of Life, for these!

Let us be praiseful, Sire, for simple sights; -
The blue smoke curling from a fire of peat;
Keen stars a-frolicking on frosty nights,
Prismatic pigeons strutting in a street;
Daisies dew-diamonded in smiling sward -
For simple sights let us be praiseful, Lord!

Let us be grateful, God, for health serene,
The hope to do a kindly deed each day;
The faith of fellowship, a conscience clean,
The will to worship and the gift to pray;
For all of worth in us, of You a part,
Let us be grateful, God, with humble heart.

The Bibliomaniac's Prayer

(A prayer by Eugene Field)

Keep me, I pray, in wisdom's way
That I may truths eternal seek;
I need protecting care to-day,--
My purse is light, my flesh is weak.
So banish from my erring heart
All baleful appetites and hints
Of Satan's fascinating art,
Of first editions, and of prints.
Direct me in some godly walk
Which leads away from bookish strife,
That I with pious deed and talk
May extra-illustrate my life.
But if, O Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To keep me in temptation's way,
I humbly ask that I may be
Most notably beset to-day;
Let my temptation be a book,
Which I shall purchase, hold, and keep,
Whereon when other men shall look,
They 'll wail to know I got it cheap.
Oh, let it such a volume be
As in rare copperplates abounds,
Large paper, clean, and fair to see,
Uncut, unique, unknown to Lowndes.

A Prayer to Start the Day

Lord Jesus, I thank you for this day. I pray you will help me to live this day with my eyes fixed on you. Open my ears to hear your slightest whisper. Open my eyes to see each opportunity to serve you. Let my feet take me where you want me to go and my hands do what you would have me do. And keep watch over my mouth, Lord. Let nothing go into it or out from it that is inconsistent with your will. I pray that all my thoughts, words, and actions will be a consolation to you. I give you praise and thanks for the many gifts you will send me today, including the gift of my small sharing in your Cross. I especially thank you for your mercy, and pray that you will enable me to be an agent of your mercy to each person I meet today.


(from the Daily Prayer blog)

Prayer of a Pastor

Teach us to care, teach us to use all these occasions of need that are the agenda of our work as access to God, as access to neighbor. Teach us to care by teaching us to pray, to pray so that human need becomes the occasion for entering into and embracing the presence and action of God in this life. Teach us to care by teaching us to pray so that those with whom we work are not less human through our caring but become more human. Teach us to care so that we do not become collaborators in self-centeredness, but rather companions in God-exploration. Teach us to use each act of caring as an act of praying so that this person in the act of being cared for experiences dignity instead of condescension, realizes the glory of being in on the salvation, and blessing and healing of God, and not driven further into neurosis and the wasteland of self.

And, not to care. Teach us to be reverential in all these occasions of need that are the agenda of our work, aware that you were long beforehand with these people, creating and loving, saving and wooing them. Teach us the humility of not caring, so that we do not use anyone's need as a workshop to cobble together makeshift, messianic work that inflates our importance and indispensability. Teach us to be in wonder and adoration before the beauties of creation and the glories of salvation, especially as they come to us in these humans who have come to think of themselves as violated and degraded and rejected. Teach us the reticence and restraint of not caring, so that in our eagerness to do good, we not ignorantly interfere in your caring. Teach us not to care so that we have time and energy and space to realize that all our work is done on holy ground and in your holy name, that people and communities in need are not a wasteland where we feverishly and faithlessly set up shop, but a garden, a rose garden in which we work contemplatively.

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood.

Teach us to care and not to care.


(from Subversive Spirituality, by Eugene Peterson, pp. 167-168).

A Prayer of St. Francis de Sales

Holy Father, remove from my soul, I pray, my own will and graft on it yours so that your will and not mine is always done.

Just as when one cuts a branch from a tree and grafts on a better one, its fruit is also much better, remove from this tree, Oh Father, the little branch of my will and graft on it your holy will; then I will be certain that it will bear beautiful fruit.

One Day's Thanks

Thank you, Lord.
Just today--in one single day!--
you have given me grace to pray,
food to eat,
clothes to wear.

You provided time with friends,
time with family,
the chance to minister to others.
You saved me from a parking ticket!
You helped me fix something.
You enabled me to laugh.
You sent me encouraging mail.

By your grace, I accomplished much.
By your grace, I suffered no pain.
By your grace, I held my tongue.
By your grace, I saved a little money.
By your grace, I think I made a little progress.
By your grace, I offended no man.

For this and more,
just one day's worth,
I give you hearty thanks!


I Turn From Absenteeism

Most glorious God, God of compassion, God of forgiveness,
I need your presence.
Great Physician, I need healing.
I am spiritually lukewarm
and unbelief mars my confidence in trusting you--
brokenness and repeated failures occupy my attention.
It astounds me that I continually try to battle life's issues on my own.
Sin makes me forget you.
Too long I have neglected the closet of prayer...
Too long I have forsaken the refreshment of your Word...
The cobwebs of indifference and the dust of life's cares choke my soul.
Broken relationships and shattered trust have prevented the health and healing of your Word.

But now--this moment,
I turn from absenteeism to the mercy seat.
I praise you for permission to approach the throne of grace.
Here, I pour out my confession of sin:
foolishly questioning your providence.
Divinely sweep away my soul's clutter.
Pour down upon me streams of needful grace.
Engage my heart to live more faithfully for you.
Your presence alone can make me holy,
I praise you for forgiveness--
Accomplish in me your eternal purposes, through Jesus Christ, my only hope, my only Savior.

("Prayer Number Thirty-Seven" from A Pastor Prays for His People (A Collection of Wise and Loving Prayers to Help You through Life's Journey) by pastor Dr. Wendell C. Hawley)

Resting in the Will of God

(A prayer by Pastor Scotty Smith)
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Sovereign Father, this promise brings me immeasurable peace, humility, and joy. You’re vitally engaged in determining and directing every one of our steps. You’re working all things together after the counsel of your will. You’re working in all things for your glory and for our good. You open doors no man can shut and you shut doors no man can open. Indeed, you’re no mere life coach, you’re the Lord of all things… including me.

Many years I labored under the arrogance and anxiety of assuming that if I prayed hard enough and long enough… that if I was really filled with and “tuned” into the Holy Spirit, I could know the specifics of your will for my life… well in advance of any decision that needed to be made. Of course, my assumption was that if I was in your will, life would be enjoyable, pleasant and hassle-free.

If I bought the right car, it would never break down…If I bought the right house, the roof would never leak… If I married the right person, we would never disagree… If I went to the right college I’d get the right job and life would be all-right... If I sent my kids to the right school, they would never act out and would end up on the mission field. If all of this was true, I wouldn’t really need you.

Father, you’re certainly honored when we work hard to make good plans, in keeping with our understanding of the Scriptures. It’s important for us to seek and heed, wise prayerful counsel of good and godly friends. But help us to live with more confidence that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, not a consulting partner… a very present Lord, not an absentee landlord… the reigning King, not an impotent bystander. Because of Jesus, I’m confident your will is being done… on earth as it is in heaven.

Free us to accept that many times your will leads to great suffering and pain. It’s called the cross. But the cross and resurrection go together. Hallelujah! What a most glorious and gracious Father you are. So very Amen, we pray, in Jesus’ exalted and very present name.

(by way of challies.com)

For Grace

Lord, I thank you for the grace to pray,
and for the grace to fast.

Thank you for the grace to subdue my appetites
and choose prayer over hunger,
your desires over mine,
and godly values over bodily needs.

Such grace comes from you,
and glory returns to you.

We Rejoice That You Have Given Us Sunday

Father, we rejoice that you have given us Sunday,
the day when we remember that you created the world
and all that is within it,
the day when Jesus was raised from the dead
and death and hell laid waste,
the day in which all things were made and remade.

Father, may we approach Sunday
with longing and expectation;
as the hungry seek for bread,
so may we yearn for word and sacrament;
save our worship from all that is trivial;
rooted in the reality of the world in which we live,
may it yet glimspe the glory of your presence,
and stand in awe at the light of your holiness;
may we sense the presence of all who have gone before us,
hearing in our own songs the echo of unseen heaven's praise,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(From More Everyday Prayers)


Lord, please grant me the desires
of YOUR heart.

A Prayer for Veteran's Day

God of peace,
we pray for those
who have served our nation
and who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies
are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!


(from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

A Prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr

O God, give us grace to walk humbly
and save us from pretension
and every arrogant folly.

You have made us, and not we ourselves.

Help us to remember the limits
of our power and our wisdom,
but help us, also,
to do our duty within the limits
of our power and our wisdom. Amen.

A Prayer to God My Fountain

Lord God,
you are
an eternal, unfailing fountain;
the more
you pour forth and overflow,
the more
you continue to give.
You desire
nothing more seriously
from us
than that we ask you for much
and great things.

So I ask, God my Fountain.
Monsoon us with your love and power,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on words of Martin Luther, by way of Ray Ortlund's blog)

Post-travel Prayer

Thank you
for the blessing of travel,
and for the pleasure
of returning home.

With You There Is Forgiveness

By Sons of Korah, who will appear in concert--free!--at The Loft tomorrow evening at 7 pm!

My Psalm 150

Hallelujah, Lord!

I praise you
for the capacity to praise you!
I praise you
that I can praise you in song,
and for the privilege
of praising you in your house,
among your saints!

I praise you
under your great blue blanket of sky;
I praise you for your mighty acts
and your magnificent greatness;
I praise you with joyful laughter,
and I praise you with quiet weeping;
I praise you with dance,
and I praise you by kneeling.

I praise you loud
and I praise you soft.
I will praise on my face
and I will praise you with a fist pump!

I will praise you with all I have,
and all I am;
let every living thing join in!


A Prayer of Clement XI

Lord, I believe in you:
increase my faith.
I trust in you:
strengthen my trust.

I love you:
let me love Thee more and more.
I am sorry for my sins:
deepen my sorrow.

I worship you
as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
and call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
correct me with your justice,
comfort me with your mercy,
protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord,
my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
my words: to have you for their theme;
my actions: to reflect my love for you;
my sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

(from the Daily Prayer blog)

My Psalm 149

I praise you, LORD.
I will sing to you,
a new song,
an old song,
a slow song,
a fast song,
my own song,
anyone's song.

I will rejoice in you, my Maker;
I will be giddy in your presence, my King.

I will praise your name with dancing
(try not to laugh);
I will turn anything into an instrument of praise to you.

For you delight in your people;
you crown your lowly subjects with salvation!

I rejoice in honor from you,
I sing for joy that you listen to my prayers!

Your praise will be in my mouth,
your Word a double-edged sword on my lips,
to wield spiritual warfare
and send petty demons fleeing,
to bind them with fetters, with shackles of iron,
for it is my glory to be your lowliest soldier
in the struggle of the ages.

A Prayer for All Saints Day

Living God, in whom there is no shadow or change, we thank you for the gift of life eternal, and for all those who having served you well, now rest from their labours.

We thank you for all the saints remembered and forgotten, for those dear souls most precious to us. Today we give thanks for those who during the last twelve months have died and entered into glory.

We bless you for their life and love, and rejoice for them “all is well, and all manner of things will be well.”

God of Jesus and our God, mindful of all those choice souls who have gone on ahead of us, teach us, and each twenty-first century disciple of every race and place,
to follow their example to the best of our ability:
to feed the poor in body or spirit,
to support and comfort the mourners and the repentant,
to encourage the meek and stand with them in crises,
to affirm those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
to cherish and learn from the merciful,
to be humbled by, and stand with, the peacemakers.
Let us clearly recognize what it means to be called the children of God, and to know we are to be your saints neither by our own inclination nor in our own strength but simply by the call and the healing holiness of Christ Jesus our Saviour.


(a prayer by By Bruce Prewer)

A Prayer for All Hallow's Eve

Christ Our Lord,
You suffered and were tempted.
You are powerful to come to the aid
of those who are assailed by the devil,
for you are the support of Christian people.

O Lord, protect with Your Right Hand
those who trust in Your Name.
Deliver them from the Evil One,
and grant them everlasting joy. Amen.

(St. Gregory of Khandzta, 759-861)

Disproportionate Prayer

God, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am. Amen.

(A prayer attributed to David Brainerd, discovered on Pete Wilson's blog)

My Psalm 148

I praise you, LORD.
I praise you under the night sky,
I praise you while driving into the sun.

I praise you for the faculty to praise you.
I praise you that my brain works,
that my tongue moves,
that my heart resounds with your praise.

I praise you for the sun you created,
and for the moon and stars you hung in place.

I praise you for the unfathomable expanse of the universe,
and for the mysteries of deep space.

I praise you for signing your work,
and making it reasonable for men to praise it.

I praise you for this clockwork solar system
and the ancient and future splendor of the skies.

I praise you for this earth,
its resiliency,
and energy.

I praise you for the sheer numbers in your Creation:
20,000 species of fish,
6,000 species of reptiles,
9,000 birds,
1,000 amphibians,
15,000 species of mammals
and over a million insect species...that we know of!

I praise you for lightning and hail,
snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do your bidding,
for Kilimanjaro and the Piedmont,
for almond trees and pomegranate,
for wild horses and curious marmots,
tiny hummingbirds and great egrets,
for fall plumage and winter blankets,
for the strength of young men,
the beauty of young maids,
the wisdom of the old
and the patience of the aged.

I praise you, LORD,
for the joy of praising your name,
for the grace of beholding your splendor
in earth and sky.

I praise you, Champion of your people,
the praise of all your saints,
the joy of people close to your heart.

I praise you.

Psalm 148 by Sons of Korah

Another Biblical psalm by Sons of Korah, who will be giving a free concert at The Loft on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 pm:

Traveling Prayer

I know, O God,
that wherever I travel,
you will be with me,
and with my lovely bride,
who travels with me.

There is nowhere we can go,
no situation we can face,
which is outside your love and strength;
and so I commit us both
into your care and keeping on this journey,
knowing that at all times we are safe in your hands.


My Psalm 147

I praise you, Lord!

How I love to sing praises to you, my God,
how pleasant and fitting it is to praise you!

Build up Jerusalem, Lord;
gather the exiles of Israel.

Heal the brokenhearted
and bind up their wounds.

You know the number of the stars,
you call each one by name.

You are so great, Lord, and mighty in power;
your understanding is infinite.

You sustain the humble,
but cast the wicked to the ground.

I sing to you, LORD, with thanksgiving;
I love to worship you in song,
especially among your gathered saints!

You cover the sky with clouds;
supply the earth with rain
and make grass grow on the hills.

You provide food for cattle
and for the young ravens when they call.

Your greatest pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor in any man's ingenuity...
you delight in those who fear you,
who put their hope in your unfailing love.

Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion,
lift him up, Oxford,
make his name glorious, Cobblestone,
for he strengthens the bars of your gates
and blesses your heart.

He gives peace
and nourishment.

He sends his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.

He spreads the snow like cake icing
and scatters the frost like glitter.

He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?

But then He sends his word and melts them all;
he stirs up his breezes, and the spring waters flow.

When he can do all that,
do you doubt that he can speak his word to your heart?
Can you seriously worry
that he will not be faithful to you--
you whom he has chosen,
you whom he has favored?

Praise the LORD.


your immensity
reminds me
that your resources
are not vast,
they are limitless,
you are limitless.

You may call
on any number--
an infinite number--
of resources
to accomplish your will,
you lack nothing,
and all you possess
you possess
in infinite number!

are you telling me about something you want to accomplish in me?
Through me?
I know that nothing is too hard for you.
I open my heart and will....
pour into them whatever you choose, in Jesus' name, amen.