O Lord, Seek Us, O Lord, Find Us

O Lord, seek us, O Lord, find us
In Thy patient care;
Be Thy Love before, behind us,
Round us, everywhere:
Lest the god of this world blind us,
Lest he speak us fair,
Lest he forge a chain to bind us,
Lest he bait a snare.
Turn not from us,
call to mind us,
Find, embrace us, bear;
Be thy love before, behind us,
Round us everywhere. Amen.

(by Christina Rossetti)

How Can I Not?

How can I not praise you
with a family
like this?

Whatever life may hold
from this day forth,
you have been oh so good
to me.

Thank you.

My Psalm 142

I cry aloud to you, LORD;

I complain a lot, I know,
but please be patient
while I tell you my troubles again.

As weary as I get,
I know you know my way.
You see the traps
men and women hide.
You discern how, on my left and right,
are some who wish me ill.

But there are many others, O LORD,
who love me
and seek my good.
There are many others
who will not abandon me
or stab me in the back.
There are many others
who will be faithful,
and kind,
and forgiving.

And, most importantly,
you are my refuge,
my portion while I live.

You see my desperate
and frequent need;
rescue me from false brothers,
from deceitful
and grudge-holding people.

Set me free day by day
and moment by moment
to praise your name
and worship you with my life,
in Jesus' name, amen.

As the Bunch of Wild Flowers

Blessed Jesus, thou dost receive with favor the smallest sincere token of affection! Thou dost receive our poor forget-me-nots and lovetokens, as though they were intrinsically precious, though indeed they are but as the bunch of wild flowers which the child brings to its mother. We will give thee the first fruits of our increase, and pay thee tithes of all, and then we will confess "of thine own have we given thee" (Charles H. Spurgeon).

Too Much Prayer

Good morning, good God!

I can't get the story out of my head, Lord...
the story you told of the rich man
who had so much grain and so many goods
he had to tear down his barns to build larger ones...

I don't have a barn, Lord,
not a large one, not even a small one --
but I've got closets and bureaus,
drawers and boxes,
wallets, purses and portfolios,
trunks and canvas bags,
the cellar, the attic and a spare room and...
and I have so much more than I need, Lord,
so much more than I need...

I have too much stuff...
I have too many things...
I collect things I don't need...
I have multiples of things I only need one of...
I have too many vestments, too many shoes
and too many clothes
(too many that fit and too many that don't)...
I have too many toys of all kinds and varieties..
I have too much money...

And the money thing -
that's what defines the dilemma, Lord...
It's not that I have a lot of money, I don't -
but when I look around the world, I know
I have more than I need...

I have more than I need of so many things...

That's the hard question, Lord:
how much of anything do I really need...?

When I ponder that question honestly,
I know I have much more than I need...

I'm not going to offer you all my stuff, Lord -
you don't need it, you don't want it...

But I have these to offer, Lord,
parts of me that need healing...

I offer for your mercy and healing:
my desire to have more and more...
my desire to have more than I need...
my desire for collecting things for the sake of collecting them...
my desire to have more for more's sake...
my desire to have more than others have...
my desire to buy, to have, to get, to grab, to own:
the fastest, the newest, the sleekest whatever-it-might-be
- and to have it before others do...

I offer for your mercy and healing
my need to have...
My need to have:
full shelves, full closets,
full bank accounts,
full boxes and bags of whatever I want
- and my need to still want more...

I offer for your mercy and healing
my tendency to stuff the empty places in my heart
with junk, with filler,
with the material, with the make-believe,
with so much less
than my heart deserves,
so much less than I deserve
so much less than you want for me, Lord...

I offer for your healing
the impulse to fill myself with so much less
than the lasting treasures my heart longs for,
the gifts you offer me every day...

Help me simplify my life, Lord...
Help me give away, give up,
clean out, cast off, go without,
do without, strip away,
and lighten the load:
to empty my heart
of anything less than what it deserves,
anything less than what truly satisfies...

And make me generous, Lord,
in sharing and giving to others the things I have
and for which so many have a much greater need...

Help me see the needs
of those whose paths cross mine this day, Lord,
and open my heart to be ready to give freely,
without counting the cost...

Such is my prayer's offering this Monday morning, Lord
and through this day and night
and the through all the week ahead...


(from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

Autumn Prayer

Good and generous Lord, You have once more brought the year full circle, through planting and growing and ripening to harvest time, and autumn.

We thank You for the sun and the wind, the rain and the dew, the minerals of the earth and all the plants that grow and all the beasts and birds of farm and field. We marvel at Your wonderful ways of bringing food from the earth for man's good.

Dear God, help us to use Your rich gifts as You want us to. Teach us to share them with our neighbor when he is in need. Make us see, in the marvelous succession of seasons, and in the growth and ripening of our crops, the merciful, generous hand of Your divine providence.

Help us to realize, too, that if we keep Your commandments and live according to the inspirations of Your grace, we shall also reap a plentiful harvest in the autumn of our lifetime: a harvest that we will be able to enjoy for ever and ever, where no rust can destroy, nor blight spoil any least part of it. Amen.

A Prayer on Leaving My Earthly Body

(suggested by James Deahl’s “Prayer on Leaving the Body,” included in Smaller Than God, Br. Paul Quenon and John B. Lee, eds. (Windsor, ON: Black Moss Press) 2001).
These feet that have carried me
over switchback trails in Appalachian forest,
through crowded Jerusalem streets;

these legs that pistoned my little boy swinging,
pedaled my little boy bicycling,
walked me down the aisle to my lovely only bride;

this lap that held my two perfect children,
apples of my eye and pride of my life;

this belly I surfeited with food,
these lungs I used to speak and sing,
typing fingers,
hugging arms,
a heart that loved you,
lips you caused to smile,
eyes given to reading,
and bones that got too old too young,

I give them up,
all of them,
hoping I used them well
but needing them no more.
I shrug them off,
the garments of this life,
the detritus of this material world,
and go to claim a body that is better.

Flood My Soul

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest, so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from Thee; none of it will be mine; it will be Thou shining on others through me. Let me thus praise Thee in the way Thou dost love best by shining on those around me. Let me preach Thee without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to Thee.

(A prayer of Charles Haddon Spurgeon)

I Want to Be a Man

Abba, Father, I want to be a man...
...who rises early,
...who eases into the day, thinking of prayer before food, spiritual above physical,
...who works hard, but not frantically,
...who creates, not just functions,
...who eats lightly and healthily,
...who exercises but not slavishly--to be in shape and to be useful, not impressive,
...who knows and expects that unexpected things will happen, and keeps enough margin in his month, week, and day to cope with the unexpected,
...who is confident enough of your pleasure that he doesn't sweat pleasing others,
...who is focused but not myopic,
...who knows how to rest, how to say no, and how to do without,
...who does justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with you...

Make it so, Lord, please, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Thanks for Prayers

Lord, thank you
for the prayers my daughter prays on HER blog.
Hear them all,
and answer,
as is your nature,
in Jesus' name,

My Psalm 141

O LORD, I call to you;
come. Please come. Quickly.

Listen, not just to my voice,
but to my heart.

I pray that what I'm about to say
will be pleasing to you,
like incense offered in worship,
like a sweet-smelling sacrifice.

Send an angelic sentinel
to guard my mouth, O LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.

Keep my heart from being drawn to evil.
Keep wicked deeds
and wicked men
far, far from me.
I want nothing to do with them.

Surround me with the righteous, Lord.
Even if they rebuke me, it will be a kindness;
if they have to correct me, it will be oil on my head.
Such accountability I will not despise.
But let those who want me to fail be disappointed...
sorely disappointed, Lord.

For my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD;
I take refuge in you, I find shelter in you.

Keep me from the snares of the Enemy,
from the traps set by his accomplices.

Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by in safety.


Sunday Morning Prayer

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, at the beginning of another week we come to You for help and light.

Grant, we ask You, that we make this a sacred day of rest to Your service. May we consecrate this day to find all peace and strength in You.

Make our hearts beat with devotion so that we may serve You in spirit and in truth. May we live this day laying a good foundation for our coming work.

Be with us in the worship services of Your day so that your saints may join in heart and soul. Be with us so that we may receive the blessing promised to all who sincerely pray to You and faithfully hear Your Word.

This we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

My Psalm 140

Save me, LORD,
from dark hearts,
protect me
from graceless men and women,
who devise evil plans in their hearts
and are utterly blind to the darkness of their own ways.

They speak out of both sides
of their mouths,
and spread poison
wherever they go.

Keep me, O LORD, out of the hands of the wicked;
protect me from people who find fault so freely with others
and have no insight into the deceit and hypocrisy of their own actions.

People are constantly trying to trap me,
criticizing every step I make
as though they always knew so much better...
though they said nothing,
and offer no wisdom when asked.

O LORD, I say to you, "You are my God."
Hear, O LORD, my cry for mercy.

O Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer,
who shields my head in the day of battle-

do not grant the wicked their desires, O LORD;
do not let their plans succeed,
for the sake of your people,
for the sake of your righteousness,
for the sake of your reputation.

Let the heads of those who convene to condemn me
and slander your servants
be slandered by their own hypocrisy.

Let them taste their own medicine;
let their own judgment be meted back to them.

Let slanderers not be established in the land;
may disaster hunt down men and women who wreak havoc.

I know that you secure justice for the poor
and uphold the cause of the needy;
do it now,
do it here,
do it, please,
that the righteous may praise your name
and the upright will live before you.

Joyfully Set Out On This New Day

Almighty God,
creator of a good and beautiful world,
may we joyfully set out on this day
in your name,
and fill it with acts of love
for you and our brethren.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

Drunkard's Prayer

You're my water
You're my wine
You're my whiskey
From time to time

You're the hunger
On my bones
All the nights
I sleep alone

Sweet intoxication
When your words
Wash over me

Whether or not
Your lips move
You speak to me

Like an ocean
Without waves
You're the movement
That I crave

And in that motion
I long to drown
And be lost not to be found
You're my water
You're my wine
You're my whiskey
From time to time

My Psalm 139

O Lord, you know me.
Better than I know myself.
You know all there is to know about me.

You know what I will do
before I do it.
And you know why, too.
You know what I'm thinking
before I think it.

You see me when I'm alone,
and you see me in a crowd.

You know what I am going to say
before I say it.
You precede me.
You follow me.
You hold my hand.

Wow. Just wow, Lord.
It's too wonderful to grasp.
Yet I know it's true.

I can go nowhere that you are not.
I can try to flee from you,
and you will still be there before I arrive.
You are never absent.
Never unaware.
Never surprised.
Never inattentive.

Wherever I go, you are there to guide me,
and your strength will be there to support me.

Even the deepest darkness won't separate me from you,
for you are light,
and you enlighten all things.

You even see into the most delicate, inner parts of my body--
my nerves,
my cells,
my capillaries and corpuscles.

From my mother’s womb,
you have seen me.

Thank you for making me so complex
and for knowing me so intimately!
Your workmanship is incredible, absolutely incredible.
You watched every moment as I was formed,
and monitored my every move in the seclusion of the womb.
You knew me then.
You know me now.
You've known me every moment in between.
Every day of my life up to now was recorded in your book.
Every moment of my future is laid out with precision.

I am amazed that you think about me, O God.
I am finite, but your thoughts toward me
are infinite.
How is that possible?
How can that be?

I don't understand you, God,
but I know you understand me.

I cannot grasp the "why" or "when" of your ways.
But you chart all my ways.

Open me like a book, O God,
examine my heart and mind.
Point to anything that displeases you
and lead me where you want me to go.

Prayer for This New Day

O Lord, grant that I may meet this day and all that it shall bring with spiritual peace.

Grant that I may submit myself completely to Your holy will. In every hour of the day, be my support and my guide.

Whatever news I may receive today, teach me to accept it with a peaceful soul and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all thing.

In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings.

In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.

Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.

O Lord, give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.

Direct my will. Teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to endure all things, to forgive, and to love.


(From A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

Eyes Wide Open

God, bruise the heels we've dug in the ground
That we might move closer to love;
Pull out the roots we've dug in so deep,
Finish what You've started,
Help us to believe.

Keep our eyes wide open...

A Prayer for September 11

O Lord our God, Who art Thyself, the Hope of the hopeless, the Help of the helpless, the Savior of the storm-tossed, the Haven of the voyager, the Physician of the sick; be all things to our land which nine years ago on this date was devastated by the cowardly and hateful acts of false martyrs; who imitated wicked Herod in his slaughter of 14,000 innocents, whose only crime was to be born at the time of Thine incarnation. For those who lost loved ones, grant the comfort you imparted to the Mary and Martha before you raised Lazarus and care for them as Thou didst care for Thy Mother from the Cross, putting her in the care of the Apostle John. For the survivors, grant them healing in every sense, as you strengthened and healed the confessors. For those related to and aiding the survivors and the families of the fallen, grant the strength and compassion Thou didst instill in Thy foster father Joseph, who was Thy guardian in Thine earthly youth. For those who died, grant them remission of their every sin in Thy great compassion; both those who like the wise servant and the wise virgins, constantly prepared themselves to enter the heavenly banquet at any hour; and those who emulated the Rich Fool, preferring to enjoy earthly pursuits and ignore heavenly ones. To the rest of us, instill in us the knowledge that while the devil still manipulates our Divinely-given free will to his own ends in this world, his power is fleeting and ultimately void, as Thou hast already crushed his dominion, leaving to him only those who freely choose him. Remind us that, while evil at times seems to win, and the death of the innocent seems to signal the destruction of goodness, the innocent are at peace, and while the God-fearing will endure a period of torment; those who choose evil shall endure eternal torment. For those who hate us, speak to their hearts as St. Procla sought to speak to her husband Pilate concerning Thee, and as Thou didst speak to Pharoah concerning the Hebrews, to soften the hearts of those who seek our destruction. Spare us O Lord, from us all hatred of the murderers, and from prejudice toward those whose only crime is to be of their ethnicity and/or religion. Spare us, O Lord, from paranoia and rash acts by which we trample each other like rabid beasts. Spare, O Lord, those who protect us, those who serve in our government, armed forces, law enforcement agencies and all first responders, from despondency, disillusionment, and all things which would undermine their righteous calling to protect us in the manner of our Guardian Angels, and care for us in the manner of the Good Samaritan. All this we ask of Thee our all-powerful and all-loving Saviour, together with Thine unorginate Father, and Thine all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

(from the website of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; the photo is of the World Trade Center Towers and St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed on 9/11)

Prayer Against Poverty

Jesus, you said, “blessed are the poor in spirit.”

I pray for the children, women, and men across the world who struggle each day to survive, pitted against economic conditions beyond their control. Give them strength to meet each day and hope for a different future.

Jesus, you said, “blessed are the peacemakers.”

I pray for the people and groups of people campaigning for change to harmful economic policies. May the call for just trade, an end to debt, and more and better aid echo across the world.

Jesus, you said, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

I pray for the leaders and politicians with the power to change things, and especially for the decision makers in the church around the world. Help us to take the side of the poor, to resist the voices of self-interest and complacency, and to make bold choices for the good of all people. Grant that your church may, in this generation and all that are yet to come, be at the forefront of efforts to aid those in poverty, to ease their suffering, and to change systems and ways of thinking and acting that contribute to harmful and deadly cycles of poverty.

I ask all these things in your name, Jesus, my Lord and friend of the poor.


At the Beginning of Another Day

O God, I find myself at the beginning of another day,
I do not know what it will bring,
Please help me to be ready for whatever it may be.

If I am to stand up,
help me to stand bravely.
If I am to sit still,
help me to sit quietly.
If I am to lie low,
help me to do it patiently.
If I am to do nothing,
let me do it gallantly.

I pray just for today,
for these twenty-four hours,
for the ability to cooperate with others
according to the way Jesus taught us to live.

"Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
May these words that he taught us become more than words.

Please free my thinking and feelings
and the thinking and feelings of others,
from all forms of self-will,
and deception.

Along with my brothers and sisters, I need this freedom
to make my choices today according to your desires.

Send your Spirit to inspire us in time of doubt and indecision
so that, together, we can walk along your path. Amen.

(adapted from an unknown source by J. Veltri)

My Psalm 138

I praise you, O LORD, with everything in me.
May I embarrass the angels with the ardor of my praise.

I bow, Lord.
I kneel with your people
in your house,
to honor your name
and tell of your love and your faithfulness,
to exalted your name and your word.

I call, you answer.
I grow weary, and you pour out strength.

Your words are worthy to be praised,
your ways are worthy to be followed.
Your glory is great.

High as you are,
ineffable and indescribable,
you look upon the lowly,
and the proud you recognize a mile away.

Whatever trouble my Enemy may send,
you preserve my life;
you strike my foes,
and lift me up with your right hand.

I know you will fulfill your purpose for me;
I am the work of your hands;
you will not abandon me.
There is nowhere I can go
where your love will not reach me.

U'Netaneh Tokef

(A prayer for Rosh Hashanah)

So now, the Kedushah prayer shall ascend to You, for You, our God, are King.

Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles - it will read itself, and everyone's signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them - and they will say, 'Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!'- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment.

All mankind will pass before You like members of the flock. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the fixed needs of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.


Remove the Evil of the Decree!

For Your Name signifies Your praise: hard to anger and easy to appease, for You do not wish the death of one deserving death, but that he repent from his way and live. Until the day of his death You await him; if he repents You will accept him immediately.

It is true that You are their Creator and You know their inclination, for they are flesh and blood. A man's origin is from dust and his destiny is back to dust, at risk of his life he earns his bread; he is likened to a broken shard, withering grass, a fading flower, a passing shade, a dissipating cloud, a blowing wind, flying dust, and a fleeting dream.

But You are the King, the Living and Enduring G-d.

There is no set span to Your years and there is no end to the length of Your days. It is impossible to estimate the angelic chariots of Your glory and to elucidate Your Name's inscrutability. Your Name is worthy of You and You are worthy of Your Name, and You have included Your Name in our name.

You Called, You Shouted, You Broke Through My Deafness

Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you!
You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unloveliness
I plunged into the lovely things which you created.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all.
You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for you.
I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

(A prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo, from his Confessions, and the inspiration for the Matt Maher song, Alive Again)

A Prayer for Labor Day

O God, creator of the world,
of sun and moon and stars,
you chose to fashion us, your own,
your handiwork of love.

Indeed, we are your hands’ own work
and yet into our hands
you give the care
of every living thing.

In more ways than we can count
our work builds up
or tears apart what came
from your own hand.

Keep us faithful in preserving
all you’ve given
lest we harm the smallest part
of all you’ve made.

Give us good and honest work to do
and rest at each day’s end.
Give a fair and good day’s wage
for a good day’s work well done.

Give us work that nurtures and sustains
the ones who serve and those they serve.
Let those who labor work in peace,
in freedom without fear.

Give those in need a job to do
and to the tired well earned rest.
Let all our work and toil, Lord,
give glory to your name.


(From A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

My Psalm 137

Like an ancient Israelite
by the rivers of Babylon,
I get homesick, Lord.

Like when I remember
the fervor I once had for you,
the just-baked freshness
of a soul made new.

Or when I think of the rapture when I first discovered
the writings of Brengle
or Tozer.

Or when I remember what it was like
to be a young pastor, free of scars and bruises.

But unlike those long-ago Jews
I still live in your City, Lord.
I still worship in your temple.
I am no exile.
I am no captive.
I take Jerusalem with me wherever I go,
the Presence is in me.

As good as those days were, Lord,
these days are good, too.

As fondly as I remember the past,
I am grateful for the present,
for the joy then
is part of the joy now.

Thank you for all you have taught me,
all you have brought me through,
and all you have delivered me from.
Thank you for every attack,
every betrayal,
every hurt,
for you have fulfilled your word:
you have made all things beautiful in your time.



Lord, I am helpless without you.
I am powerless without you.
I am wholly, thoroughly inadequate without you.
I am empty, weak, ineffectual without you.

But in you, abiding in you,
I am more than a conqueror.
In you, I can move mountains.
In you, I can scale a wall,
overthrow kingdoms,
shut the mouths of lions,
rout armies...
in you, abiding in you and walking in your Spirit,
I can do all things through Christ, who is my strength. Amen.

Thanks for the Internet

Lord, thank you for the internet.
Thank you that in this world
where parochialism
and selfishness
and other obstacles
prevent cooperation
and progress in so many ways,
a few brilliant, visionary minds
conceived the idea of the internet.

Thank you for the abilities
and gifts
and forward-thinking
of those minds you created.

Thank you for the research it enables me to do,
the communication I'm able to accomplish,
the entertainment it brings me,
the work it helps me get done,
the time it saves me,
the information it finds,
the coupons and discounts it provides,
the convenience,
the ability to keep up with friends a world away,
the blessing of renewing old friendships,
and so much more.

Ancient of Days,
God who is, who was, and is to come,
thank you.


A Prayer of Carl Sandburg

For the gladness here where the sun is shining at
evening on the weeds at the river,
Our prayer of thanks.

For the laughter of children who tumble barefooted and
bareheaded in the summer grass,
Our prayer of thanks.

For the sunset and the stars, the women and the white
arms that hold us,
Our prayer of thanks.

If you are deaf and blind, if this is all lost to you,
God, if the dead in their coffins amid the silver handles
on the edge of town, or the reckless dead of war
days thrown unknown in pits, if these dead are
forever deaf and blind and lost,
Our prayer of thanks.

The game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and
the system; and so for the break of the game and
the first play and the last.
Our prayer of thanks.