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.

Kenyan Prayer

From the cowardice that dare not face new truth,
from the laziness that is contented with half truth,
from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Good Lord, deliver us.

(borrowed from the Daily Prayer blog)

Psalm 117 by Sons of Korah

Beautiful setting of a Biblical psalm by Sons of Korah, who are coming to The Loft on November 6.

Thanks for Fall Days

Oh, Lord, thanks
for the beauty
of Fall days,

Though I Slip, Thou Dost Not Fall

Give me, O God, this day
a strong and vivid sense
that Thou art by my side.
In multitude and solitude,
in business and leisure,
in my downsitting and my uprising,
may I ever be aware
of Thine accompanying presence.

By Thy grace, O God,
I will go nowhere this day
where Thou canst not come,
nor court any companionship
that would rob me of Thine.

By Thy grace
I will let no thought enter my heart
that might hinder my communion with Thee,
nor let any word come from my mouth
that is not meant for Thine ear.
So shall my courage be firm
and my heart be at peace.

I steadier step
When I recall
That though I slip
Thou dost not fall.

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer, Day Sixteen, Morning)

A Prayer of John Milton

Holy Spirit of God,
who prefers before all temples
the upright heart and pure,
instruct us in all truth;
what is dark, illumine;
what is low, raise and support;
what is shallow, deepen;
that every chapter in our lives
may witness to your power
and justify the ways of God to men.
In the name of Jesus, giver of all grace. Amen.

A Prayer of Claude de la Colombière

In you, O loving God, have I hoped:
let me never be confounded.
I know too well
that I am weak and changeable.
I know the power of temptation
against the strongest virtue.

I have seen stars fall
and foundations of my world crack;
these things do not alarm me.
While I hope in you,
I am sheltered from all misfortune,
and I am sure
that my trust shall endure,
for I rely upon you
to sustain this unfailing hope.

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed your generosity,
and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from you.
Therefore I hope that you will sustain me against my evil inclinations,
that you will protect me against the deceitful attacks of the evil one,
and that you will cause my weakness to triumph over every hostile force.

I hope that you will never cease to love me and that I shall love you unceasingly. Amen.

My Psalm 146

Oh, how I praise you, LORD.
I praise you with my whole heart!

I praise you with my life;
your praise will live in me as long as life lives in me!

I have learned the folly of putting my trust in people,
of expecting constancy and faithfulness from mortal men.

We are all so faithless and so fleeting,
and even the best among us fall so far short.

That's why it makes sense ONLY to look to you for help, God of Jacob.
That's why my hope is in you alone,
maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
Yahweh, Adonai, El Shaddai, the Faithful One forever.

You uphold the cause of the oppressed
and defend the defenseless.
You give food to the hungry
and set prisoners free.
You give sight to the blind,
lift up those who are bowed down.

You give yourself to those who give themselves to you,
you watch over the alien
and sustain the fatherless and the widow,
while frustrating the ways of the wicked.

Why do I forget all this, Lord?
Why do I so easily forget your faithfulness?
Why do I stress,
get worked up,
as if you weren't on the job?

Yet I have seen you--I see NOW--
vindicate the righteous
and humble the proud.
I have seen you
prove yourself faithful to those whose hope is in you.
I have seen little, vindictive, unforgiving people
wither and waste
like untended vines.

You reign forever,
God of Zion,
God of me,
for all generations.

Oh, how I praise you!

Prayer for My Daughter on Her Birthday

To borrow a phrase from Yeats, Lord,
you have made her a flourishing hidden tree
and granted her beauty and courtesy,
and kindness and charm and wisdom.

I give you praise and thanks
for my only daughter,
my firstborn, my Blossom;
for the child you gave me,
for the woman she grew into,
for the love we share,
for the pride and joy I feel in her,
for the blessings you've given her,
and the blessings you've given me
through her.

Please bless her today
and in the days to come, Lord.
Keep her safe and well.
Keep her marriage strong and beautiful.
Prosper her and her husband,
answer their prayers,
supply their needs.

Let their daughter's healing appear,
and reward their love and faithfulness
with beauty and grace,
prosperity and plenty.

Show her every kindness,
grant her your favor,
in Jesus' name, amen.

I Am Only Asking What You Delight to Give

Come, O Lord my God;
my soul invites thee earnestly,
and waits for thee eagerly.

Come to me, O Jesus, my well beloved,
and plant fresh flowers in my garden,
such as I see blooming
in such perfection
in thy matchless character!

Come, O my Father,
who art the Husbandman,
and deal with me in thy tenderness and prudence!

Come, O Holy Spirit,
and bedew my whole nature,
as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews.

Oh, that you would speak to me!
Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.
Oh, that you would walk with me;
I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to you.

I am only asking what you delight to give.

(a prayer of Charles H. Spurgeon, slightly revised)

Psalm 80 Prayer

Restore us, O LORD God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us,
like that fruitful vine
you brought out of Egypt,
so bring us out
and plant us deep and strong,
that we may be saved.

My Psalm 145

Abba, I exalt you, my God the King; I will never stop praising your holy name

By day I will praise you and by night I will extol your name.

Countless are your mighty works, LORD, and your
deeds beyond comprehension.

Everyone who knows me will know of your works;
for ever I will tell of your mighty acts.

Gladly will I speak of the awesome splendor of your majesty,
happily I will meditate on all the amazing things you have done.

I will tell of the power of your awesome works while I live,
joyfully spreading the news of your great deeds.

King of my heart, I celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

LORD, you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

Mighty Savior,
No one compares to you, for you are kind and compassionate toward all you have made.

O, let all you have made praise you, O LORD; may your saints sing of you!

Praise belongs to you, rightly and completely, Mighty King,
Quiet or loud, let your people worship in the beauty of your holiness.

Reign! Rule! Righteous God, your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, enduring through all generations.

Saving God, you are faithful to every promise you have made and loving toward all your creation.

Those who fall, you uphold; those who are bowed down, you uplift.

Uphold and uplift me now; I look to you, for your supply and sustenance.

Vast are your resources, Lord; open your hand and share them with all those in need.

Widen the influence of your church, and prosper your people wherever they are.

Expand the company of those who call on you, everywhere, but in my community, especially.

You fulfill my desires and hear my every cry; hear me now, and watch over me and mine.

Zealously I will follow you and speak your praise, LORD. Let every creature praise your holy name forever.


(artwork by Mark Lawrence, whose Scripture-inspired art can be found and purchased here)

My Psalm 144

Praise be to you, LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and places my sword in hand.

You are my loving God
and my sure defense,
my castle keep,
and my reinforcement,
my armor and my shield,
in whom I am kept safe.
You lay my enemies low.

I don't know why you care for me,
why you give me a thought.
Like all men, my life is here today,
gone tomorrow.
My whole life span is not even a blink
of eternity's eye.

But you do care for me, Lord,
you do take thought of me.
So come, O LORD, come down.
Rip open the skies and come down;
stand on the mountains, so that they smoke.
Throw your lightning bolts
and scatter all who attack and oppress your people.

Reach down your hand from on high;
lift me out of the flooding waters
and save me from all who lie
and do evil.

Give me yet another new song to sing to you, God;
add one more praise song to my repertoire,
one more victory chant to praise you with.

Continue to build up my son
and make him a mighty oak;
continue to make my daughters
like a marble pillar in righteousness.

Empty me and mine,
to make room for your provision.
Teach me to give freely
out of all you have given to me.
Make my church a tithing church, Lord.
Make me and mine a people of faith
and generosity
and sacrifice
and joy.

Let there be no disunity
or deception
or disobedience
in our midst.

Give us the gift of Instant Obedience, Lord.
Grant that we may do what you say
the moment you say it.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true;
blessed are the people whose God is the LORD.

Bedtime Brachot

Praised are You,
Adonai, our God,
Ruler of the universe,
who closes my eyes in sleep,
my eyelids in slumber.

May it be Your will,
My God and the God of my ancestors,
to lie me down in peace
and then to raise me up in peace.

Let no disturbing thoughts upset me,
no evil dreams nor troubling fantasies.

May my bed be complete and whole
in Your sight.

Grant me light
so that I do not sleep the sleep of death,
for it is You who illumines and enlightens.

Praised are You,
whose majesty gives light to the universe.

Source: Eisenberg, Ronald L. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions. PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2004; “Prayer Kriat Sh’ma”.

Let My Bones Be Soaked With Your Love

O my God,
let me, with thanksgiving,
remember, and confess unto you
your mercies on me.

Let my bones be soaked with your love,
and let them say unto you,
Who is like you, O Lord?

You have broken my chains in pieces.
I will offer unto you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
And how you have broken them, I will declare;
and all who worship you, when they hear this, will say:
Blessed is the Lord in heaven and in earth!
Great and wonderful is his name!

(A prayer of St. Augustine)


(based on words written by George Whitefield)

Great Head of the Church,
once more raise up to yourself
young men and women
whom you may use
in your glorious employ.

Make them men and women
mighty in the Scriptures,
their lives dominated by a sense
of your greatness, majesty and holiness,
and their minds and hearts aglow
with the great truths of the doctrines of grace.

Call into your service men and women
who have learned what it is
to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions;
who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake,’
who will bear reproach and falsehood,
who will labor and suffer,
and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades,
but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat.

Let them be men and women who will preach
with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes,
and upon whose ministries you will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit,
and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’
in the transformation of multitudes of human lives,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Robert Frost Prayer

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee,
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.

(Robert Frost, "Cluster of Faith," 1962)

My Psalm 143

O LORD, hear me out.
Please be patient
while I think out loud
in your presence.
Please don't take my thoughts
too seriously,
but help me
as I process some things.

I just don't understand some people, Lord.
I don't.
They mystify me.
I don't understand those
who can stand so stubbornly convinced
of their own righteousness
while their actions and attitudes
are blatantly contrary to your Word,
to your clear commands.
I don't get those
who go their own way
and stray from your paths
and wonder why they don't enjoy your blessing.
I can't fathom
how people who call themselves by your name
can be so demanding
and resentful
and critical
and ugly toward others.

It dismays me.
I get tired of it.
I long for those days when my fervor was fresh,
my heart unjaded.

I spread out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for refreshment from you.

Hear my cry, Lord,
and renew my spirit.
Come, Holy Spirit.
Rain on me.
Flow through my soul,
redeem its desert places.
Wash away all weariness
and dullness
and cynicism.

Wake me with a morning kiss,
and let tomorrow dawn
with fresh hope
and energy.
Walk with me.
Rescue me from my enemies,
and myself,
for I hide myself in you.

Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
lead me on level ground,
sweet Holy Spirit.

Preserve my life;
lift me up,
plant my feet on higher ground.

Silence all doubt,
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.


(The art above, from Psalm 143:10, was found in a corner of a main room in Elm Tree House in the village of Blisworth, Northamptonshire, England. The style has been dated c. 1650)

Almost to the Springs

A prayer of Albert Orsborn,
revised to fit the cry of my heart

Lord, I would plunge
into your healing waters;
Lifting my heart,
I cry to Thee my prayer.
Spirit of peace,
my Comforter and Healer,
In whom my springs are found,
let my soul meet Thee there.

From a hill I know,
Healing waters flow,
O rise, Immanuel's tide,
And my soul overflow.

Wash from my hands the dust of earthly striving;
Take from my mind the stress of secret fear;
Cleanse Thou the wounds from all but Thee far hidden,
And let the waters flow, and my healing appear.

All that I need is in that healing fountain,
All I require to cleanse me and restore;
Flow through my soul, redeem its desert places,
And make a garden there for the Lord I adore,
in Jesus' name, amen.

I Need to Repent of My Repentance

O God of Grace,

You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, “Father, forgive me,” and you are always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

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