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.