For the Last Day of the Old Year

Good Lord,
it's the last day of 2012...

Only a few hours left in this old year
which seemed so new
oh, not-so-long ago...

Where has the old year gone, Lord?
And how did it go?

And how did I go with you,
make my way with you, Lord,
these past twelve months?

I remember the times
we walked and talked together,
side by side,
you and I...

And I remember the times
when I forgot, somehow,
that you were right there by my side,
and the times I tried to pretend
that you weren't there,
always within arm's reach...

I remember the times when you took delight
in my words and my work
and I remember the times I ignored and forgot you
- but still you loved me
and in your mercy, you forgave me...

Nothing I've done, Lord,
merits what you've given me:
all your love is grace,
an unearned gift
from your heart to mine...

In return I offer so little
and I have so little to offer...

But there comes now a new year, Lord,
and with it my prayer
to live a life more worthy
of all you so freely give me...

In this new year, Lord,
make strong my resolve to be faithful,
make deep my trust in your presence
and make sure my hope in your promise,
for without your help
I will fail...

Lord, you offer me only
what is true and pure,
good and just, strong and graced...

In this new year, help me recognize
what is false, cheap and sham...

Help me to settle for nothing less
than what comes from your heart and hand...

Nourish me, Lord:
give me a hunger for what is genuine,
a thirst for what is holy,
a wisdom for discerning your gifts...

It's the last day of the old year, Lord...

Shake from my heart what has no place there
and wake my heart
to the gift of your grace
and the dawn of a new beginning...

(swiped from my online friend Austin Fleming's A Concord Pastor Comments blog, and updated to 2012)

On Recovering from Illness

Abba, Father,
thank you that illness is such a rare thing
in my life.

And though I'm not happy that
you didn't heal me quickly,
as I asked,
you have not promised to make me happy.
But you have promised me joy.
So please use these days of sickness
and seeming waste
to heighten my gratitude,
deepen my joy,
and draw me closer to you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Holy Baby Thing

They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high:
Thou cam'st, a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.

O Son of Man, to right my lot
Naught but Thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road Thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea Thy sail!

My how or when Thou wilt not heed,
But come down Thine own secret stair,
That Thou mayst answer all my need--
Yea, every bygone prayer.

(a prayer of George MacDonald, from “That Holy Thing,” The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (London: Chatto & Windus, 1893), 2: 323).

Because of This Day

Great God and Father of all humanity,
thank you that because of this day,
this holy feast, in the words of Chrysostom,
the ancient slavery is ended,
the devil confounded,
the demons take to flight,
the power of death is broken,
paradise is unlocked,
the curse is taken away,
sin is removed from us,
error driven out,
truth has been brought back,
the speech of kindliness diffused,
and spreads on every side,
a heavenly way of life has been in-planted on the earth,
angels communicate with men without fear,
and men now hold speech with angels,

A Christmas Eve Prayer

(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 King of All the Nations

O King of all the nations,
the only joy of every human heart;
O Keystone of the mighty arch of man,
come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

O Rising Sun

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 Key of 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 Flower of 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.

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.

O Wisdom

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.

Behold, You Come

I’ve begun to understand something I have known for a long time: You are still in the process of your coming. Your appearance in the form of a slave was only the beginning of your coming, a beginning in which you chose to redeem men by embracing the very slavery from which you were freeing them. And you can really achieve your purpose in this paradoxical way, because the paths that you tread have a real ending, the narrow passes which you enter soon open out into broad liberty, the cross that you carry inevitably becomes a brilliant banner of triumph.

It is said that you will come again, and this is true. But the word again is misleading. It won’t really be “another” coming, because you have never really gone away. In the human existence that you made your own for all eternity, you have never left us.

But still you will come again, because the fact that you have already come must continue to be revealed ever more clearly. It will become progressively more manifest to the world that the heart of all things is already transformed, because you have taken them all to your heart.

Behold, you come. And your coming is neither past nor future, but the present, which has only to reach its fulfillment. Now it is still the one single hour of your Advent, at the end of which we too shall have found out that you have really come.

O God who is to come, grant me the grace to live now, in the hour of your Advent, in such a way that I may merit to live in you forever, in the blissful hour of your eternity.

(from Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas)

Peniel Prayer

Help me,
God of Peniel,
to wrestle with the strength
and will of Jacob in my prayers,
laying hold and keeping hold of you
until I am sure of your blessing and will,
and ready, though wounded, to obey.

(Image: James J. Tissot, "Jacob Wrestles with an Angel" (c. 1896-1902), gouache on board, Jewish Museum, New York)

Heartfelt Holiday Prayer

God, I thank you sincerely,
from the bottom of my heart, that
The Twelve Days of Christmas,
Little Drummer Boy,
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,
Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time,
Santa Baby,
Up on the Housetop,
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,
Santa Claus is Coming to Town,
Here Comes Santa Claus,
Jingle Bells,
All I Want for Christmas is You,
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,
Happy Christmas (War Is Over),
Jingle Bell Rock,
Blue Christmas,
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas,
The Chipmunk Song,
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,
Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
are only played incessantly in public places
for a few weeks every year.

Another Psalm 3

Lord, thank you that I have no one to trouble me!
Thank you that none are rising up against me.
Thank you that (to my knowledge) people no longer have to gossip about me.

Sure, I know that it's not because people have changed,
but mainly because my role is different these days.
And I'm grateful for that.

You, Lord, are my shield in any case;
your mercy and grace to me are glorious.
You lift me up when I'm down
and show me the way to greater peace and blessing.

I cried out to you, and you answered.
I can lay down and sleep without tossing and turning;
the knots in my neck and shoulders are gone.
You've once again sustained me, revived me, and provided for me.

I'm glad to be where you've placed me.
I'm happy to leave justice in your hands.

Deliverance comes from you.
You cover me.

I Will Never Stop

I know you sometimes cure.
I know you always heal.
I know your ways are higher than my ways.
I know you are good and your plans are good.
I know you make all things beautiful in your time.
I just want you to know that I will never
for their healing.



While I have voice,
while I have thought,
while I have life,
I will pray
until the day my prayers are clearly and completely answered.

O Come

O come, O come Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear:

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel!

(HT: A Concord Pastor Comments)

Forbid Us to Be Satisfied

Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.

(a prayer of Eleanor Roosevelt)

The Prayer Perfect

Dear Lord! Kind Lord!
Gracious Lord! I pray
Thou wilt look on all I love
Tenderly today!
Weed their hearts of weariness,
Scatter every care
Down a wake of Angel-wings
Winnowing the air.

Bring unto the sorrowing
All release from pain;
Let the lips of laughter
Overflow again;
And with all the needy,
O divide, I pray,
This vast treasure of content
That is mine today!

(a prayer of James Whitcomb Riley)

A Prayer Before Worship

Come, O Incarnate Word,
Gird on your mighty sword,
Our prayer attend;
Come, and your people bless,
And give your Word success;
Spirit of holiness,
On us descend!

(anonymous, revised slightly)

Enliven Me

Gracious God, enliven me.
Make me alive to you.
Alive to my wife,
my father,
and yes, even to my enemies.

Alive to the house wren speeding to her nest with another caterpillar to feed her demanding brood.

Alive to the cricket singing outside the back door.

Alive to the cloud that is sailing overhead right now.

Alive to the spin of this planet--real, but completely undetectable to me.

Alive to chemistry and physics and philosophy and economics and even politics.

Alive to open books and folded sheets, a sleeping dog, migrating geese, frying eggs, everything. Amen.

(based on lines from Brian McLaren's Finding Our Way Again (The Return of the Ancient Practices), pp. 182-183).

Plath Prayer

Let me live,
and say it well in good sentences.

(a prayer by Sylvia Plath)

For Deadlines

Thank you, Lord, for the deadlines
that give structure
and impetus
to my writing life.

Help me to meet every one,
and to beat them often enough
as to be a blessing to the editors and publishers
who are foolish enough or kind enough
to give me work,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Against Bitterness

Lord, that there should be any bitterness in my heart, after all you've done for me and given to me, is a wonder and a shame. But there is, from time to time. I confess it. It rises up at odd moments, unexpectedly. I don't want it. I reject it. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from me, along with all malice. By your mercy and grace, deliver me from it, that I may follow you in complete and constant gratitude, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Shakespearean Paean of Praise

O how thy worth with manners may I sing,
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring?
And what is but mine own when I praise thee?

(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 39, lines 1-4)

A Prayer for Wisdom

Wise and Holy God,

As a new work-week begins, I seek your wisdom. Solomon could have asked you for anything, but he asked you for wisdom and a discerning heart (1 Kings 3:5-14). I want to make that same choice.

May your Holy Spirit give me a discerning heart. Grant me godly common sense in every task, every meeting, every administrative decision, every personal interaction, every financial transaction, every step I take.

Remind me that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I won’t be wise unless I put you first in my life above all else.

Remind me that true wisdom is practical and down-to-earth. It includes acts as well as facts—putting what I know into action. As I read your Word, let it provide me more than mere information; let it lead to transformation. Like clay in the hands of the potter, shape me into something useful and beautiful.

Remind me that wisdom is your gift—something I must seek regularly in prayer. Thank you for the promise of your Word that assures me, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask god, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

Remind me that “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).

Please grant me wisdom, Father. This is my prayer in the name of Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Amen.

(from the newly released book, Monday Morning Proverbs, by David Faust. Used with permission)

Advent Prayer

Dear Lord, help me keep my eyes on you.
You are the incarnation of Divine Love,
you are the expression of God's infinite compassion,
you are the visible manifestation of the Father's holiness.
You are beauty, goodness, gentless,
forgiveness, and mercy.
In you all can be found.
Outside of you nothing can be found.
Why should I look elsewhere or go elsewhere?
You have the words of eternal life,
you are food and drink,
you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
You are the light that shines in the darkness,
the lamp on the lamp stand,
the house on the hilltop.
You are the perfect Icon of God.
In and through you I can see the Heavenly Father,
and with you I can find my way to him.
O Holy One, Beautiful One, Glorious One,
be my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, my Guide,
my Consoler, my Comforter, my Hope, my Joy, and my Peace.
To you I want to give all that I am.
Let me be generous, not stingy or hesitant.
Let me give you all--
all I have, think, do and feel.
It is yours, O Lord.
Please accept it and make it fully your own.

(a prayer of Henri Nouwen, from A Cry for Mercy)

Here is Your Cradle

Lord, I know the Christmas story,
I’ve heard it many times:
how humbly you began your life
in human flesh like mine,
how lowly was your family
how rude your stable bed,
how beasts of burden gathered round
your small straw-haloed head;

And Joseph must have gazed on proudly
and stroked your wispy hair,
as angels broke the news nearby
while dancing in the air.
And Mary sang you lullabies
and kept you safe and warm
til shepherds came and bowed before
your ancient infant form;

I know the story, Lord, and yet
I know you’ve heard it, too.
I know you won’t be satisfied until
it becomes my story, too.
And so I’m glad it shows me there’s
no place too rude for you;
It’s not much I have to give
But all I have will have to do:
Here is your cradle,
here is your manger,
here is your bed of straw.

Make me your cradle,
My heart your manger,
My life your bed of straw.

O Love, O My

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

(a prayer of George Matheson by way of Ben Witherington's blog)

Simple Prayer

Take O take me as I am;
Summon out what I shall be;
Set your seal upon my heart
and live in me.

(a prayer by John Bell)

In This Season, In This Economy

Let not the needy, O Lord,
be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor
be taken away.

Birds and Lilies

Gracious God,
please make me more like the birds and the lilies,
who (in Bonhoeffer's words) "glorify their Creator,
not by their industry, toil or care,
but by a daily
acceptance of his gifts."


Come, Lord Jesus.
Come quickly.
Come to your church.
Come to us, the smug, the self-righteous.
Come to us, the arrogant and self-satisfied.
Come to us, the hurting who in their pain hurt others.
Come to the preachers with poison ideas and careless tongues.
Come to the misogynist and racist.
Come to the small-minded,
to the legalistic,
to the power hungry,
to the unforgiving.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Come save us.
Transform us.
Before we do worse.

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 glimpse 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)

My Little Vessel Is Full

O My God,
Thou fairest, greatest,
first of all objects,
my heart admires,
loves thee,
for my little vessel
is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out
all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, for sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God,
through time and eternity.

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

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Lord, help me not take for granted
the simplest of gifts and blessings...

Make me grateful for the everyday, the commonplace,
what's right at hand, always there and at my fingertips...

Help me see what I often miss:
the gift of life itself and the blessing of your love...

(from A Concord Pastor Comments)

One Single Day

Thank you, Lord,
for today, just one single day,
you have given me grace to pray,
food to eat,
clothes to wear.

You allowed me
to wake in my own bed,
in health,
and in (mostly) my right mind.

I have hope of meaningful work,
innumerable comforts,
and a happy conclusion to this day.

By your grace, I can see, hear, touch, taste, feel.
By your grace, I know love and companionship.
By your grace, I have the means to buy, and abundance to give.
By your grace, I am forgiven and forgiving.

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


A Prayer for Blessing

Lord God Adonai,
if you plan to bless me--
and I know you do--
then no devil's strategy
and no man's scheme
can thwart you!

So bless me, Lord.
Bless me,
bless my wife,
bless my family,
bless my children,
my grandchildren,
my home,
my body,
my writing,
and more,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Father Louis by Father Matt

(A prayer of Thomas Merton, read by Father Matt Kelty, a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Merton lived. I finish today a retreat at the abbey, where I recall with great fondness and appreciation Father Matt's devotions when he was chaplain at the abbey. Father Matt died in 2011. I miss him)

Breathe on Me

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

(a prayer of Edwin Hatch)

Make Me Want Again to Be Holy

Lord, have mercy.
Guide me,
make me want again to be holy,
to be a man of God,
even though in desperateness and confusion.

I do not necessarily ask for clarity, a plain way,
but only to go according to your love,
to follow your mercy, to trust your mercy.

I want to seek nothing at all, if this is possible.
But only to be led without looking and without seeking.
For thus to seek is to find.

(a prayer of Thomas Merton, from his journals, August 2, 1960, IV.28)


God, submerge me
in the darkness of your love,
that the consciousness of my false, everyday self
falls away from [me]
like a soiled garment. . . .
May my 'deep self' fall into your presence . . . .
knowing you alone . . .
carried away into eternity
like a dead leaf in the November wind.

(Thomas Merton, The Ascent to Truth, p. 238)

I Claim an Entrance There

O God, if still the holy place
Is found of those in prayer,
By all the promises of grace
I claim an entrance there.

Give me a self-denying soul,
Enlarged and unconfined;
Abide within me, and control
The wanderings of the mind.

Give me the strength of faith that dares
To die to self each day,
That bravely takes the cross, nor cares
To find an easier way.

Help me to make more sacrifice,
To walk where Christ would lead,
That in my life He may arise
To hallow every deed.


(a prayer of General Albert Orsborn)

Another Psalm 2

Lord, people do get worked up, don't they?
Why do so many rant and rage?
They twist themselves every which way
to gain power
and to deny yours.
They think you are so demanding
and they just want to be free.

You are not impressed, I know.
You will be lifted up regardless,
and you will lift up whom you will.
You will accomplish your purposes
and do good to all sorts of people
in all sorts of places.

You will depose the powerful
and lavish your love on the lowly.

You are the king over all,
and I bow before you.
I kiss your feet.
I submit to your will.

Only in you, Lord, can I be truly happy.
In you I take refuge.
In you I trust.

Fill Me with Joy

Gracious Heavenly Father,

No one takes my heartaches more seriously than you do. You know when my spirit feels crushed, and you are the one who lifts me up and rebuilds my hope. So as another work-week begins, I lift up my heartaches to you and seek the healing and refreshment only you can give.

But I also pray that you will fill me with joy, Lord. Make my heart happy and my face cheerful. I live in difficult times, and serving you is serious business, but please keep me from taking myself too seriously. Don’t let me become grim and humorless.

Fill my workplace with healthy laughter, positive relationships, and the joy of the Lord. Give me a sense of humor that’s keen and clean. Never let joy-stealing attitudes take root in my heart. Even amid the stress and strain of my daily work, let me be a cheerful giver and a cheerful servant.

I pray in the name of Jesus, who was “full of joy through the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21). Amen.

(from the upcoming book, Monday Morning Proverbs, by David Faust. Used with permission)

On Veterans Day

G-d of compassion,
G-d of dignity and strength,
Watch over the veterans of the United States
In recognition of their loyal service to our nation.
Bless them with wholeness and love.
Shelter them.
Heal their wounds,
Comfort their hearts.
Grant them peace.

G-d of justice and truth,
Rock of our lives,
Bless our veterans,
These men and women of courage and valor,
With a deep and abiding understanding
Of our profound gratitude.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want.
Grant them lives of joy and bounty.
May their dedication and honor
Be remembered as a blessing
From generation to generation.

Blessed are You,
Protector and Redeemer,
Our Shield and our Stronghold.

© 2011 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

For Evils That Didn't Happen

Thank you, Lord, that much evil that could have happened to me yesterday didn't.

Thank you that I didn't run out of gas,
that I didn't get a ticket or a toothache.

Thank you that I didn't stub my toe or bite my tongue.

Thank you that I didn't hurt a friend or a loved one...or anyone.

Thank you that I didn't trip and fall,
that I didn't lose my wallet,
that I didn't lose my voice,
that I didn't lose my job,
that I didn't lose my health,
that I didn't lose my wife,
that I didn't lose my children,
that I didn't lose my mind...yet.

Thank you that I didn't fall into conscious, willful sin.

Thank you that I didn't neglect you in prayer.

In this and in everything, Lord, I give thanks, in Jesus' name, amen.

Another Psalm 1

Lord, you have made me truly happy.

I feel no need to follow wicked advice.
I have no desire to hang around with troublemakers
or interact with cynics.

I just want to be in your presence;
I long to hear from you.

You make me like a tree,
planted by a river,
surviving dry seasons and thriving in the sun.
I thirst for your rain;
I bask in your blessing.

How sad for the wicked,
who don't know your lovingkindness.
How sad and empty their lives,
like dusty desert places.

I don't envy them one bit.
I'm happy with my lot,
content where you have placed me.

Watch over my path and guide my steps.
Save me from the destructive ways of the wicked.


Lord, why do the nations rage?
Why do we worry more than we pray?
Why is it so easy to stress and so hard to trust?
Why isn't it easier to eradicate slavery and oppression?
Why isn't it simpler to cure cancer and cystic fibrosis?
Why aren't we better at such things?
Why is there still so much hatred and conflict in the world?
Why do we hold on so tightly to our illusions and dysfunctions?
Why do we demonize and stigmatize those with whom we disagree?
Why do we refuse to listen and cooperate?
Why do we let inessentials divide us?
Why is there still so much darkness and division,
so little light and liberty?

A Post-Election Day Prayer

Praise be to your name, God, for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are yours.
You change times and seasons;
    you depose kings and raise up others.
You give wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
You reveal deep and hidden things;
    you know what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with you.
Praise be to your name, God, for ever and ever.

(based on Daniel 2:20-22)

A Voter's Prayer

To You who search the hearts of men and know their hearts like no other,
we ask for help to:
  • look past the surface issues and see what You see;
  • silence the loud political voices and hear what you hear;
  • reject harsh rhetoric words and speak things pleasing to you;
  • breath in the aroma of your sweet presence as we vote and
  • feel your leading deep within as we cast our ballots.
All praise and honor be to the King of kings and Lord of lords.



Come, Lord Jesus. Come to my heart right now. Come to my life. Come to my family. Come to my church, to my work- place. Come to my friends and neighbors. Come to my com- munity and to my nation. Come to this world.

Come to the thirsty. Come to the desperate. To the sad and sorrowing. To the hurting and hungry. To the sick and to the lonely. Come, Lord.

Come and make all things right. Come soon. Come on the clouds, let every eye see you, let the whole world be filled with your glory, as the waters cover the sea. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

(a prayer from the book, How to Survive the End of the World)

Make My Worship Pleasing to You

Father God, lead me back to the heart of worship. Let my daily worship and my weekly worship with others reorient me and place me in the right posture in relation to your throne, in relation to your rule over all. Make my worship pleasing to you; make it also an impetus for repentance and reconciliation with others.

Holy Spirit, teach me as I read and study your Word. Lead me into all truth, as Jesus promised.

And, Lord Jesus, you who are worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise, revive and restore me through the worship I offer. Let my worship bring joy to you. Let it bring heaven to me. Amen.

(a prayer from the book, How to Survive the End of the World)

In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Lord God,
strength of the weak
and hope of the helpless,
have mercy on the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Bring light into their darkness,
heat into their cold,
clean water into their plumbing,
electricity into their homes,
fuel to their gas tanks,
food to their mouths.

Please restore soon
what was destroyed so quickly.

Please give wisdom to those who are in positions of leadership
and generosity to those who are in a position to help.

Send patience and peace,
aid and support,
strength and hope to all who are grieving,
and working.

Stifle and subdue the baser instincts of humanity,
and ignite and enlarge the nobler,
that those who serve
and those who are served
may someday soon be better
than they are right now,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer to be Stretched

(from The Way, by E. Stanley Jones with Dean Merrill)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

A Prayer on 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 on Reformation Day

Almighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you
that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people.
Keep them steadfast in your word,
protect and comfort them in times of trial,
defend them against all enemies of the gospel,
and bestow on the church your saving peace,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Strong Tower

You are my strong tower, my fortress, my refuge and strength. You are my shelter, my rock, my firm foundation. You are my hiding place. You protect me from the storm. You hold my hand in the darkness. You blaze a path for me through the wilderness.

I know that you are with me even when I don't hear your voice or sense your presence. I know you care for me even when all comfort seems to flee. I know you are my help even when I feel helpless. I know that when I worry your watchfulness has not wavered; when I am afraid, your faithfulness endures regardless of my emotions.

Thank you, Lord God Adonai, for your constant care and keeping. Thank you that I can go nowhere that you have not already scouted, and can face nothing that your eye does not see, in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer Before a Day of Speaking

No speaker is saved by the quality of his material;
no preacher succeeds by the multitude of his gifts.
Relying on man's approval is a vain hope, a stupid goal;
despite all its allure it cannot save.
My hope is on your unfailing love, Lord;
I hope for your deliverance.

(based on Psalm 33:16-17)

You Wrote Me

Great Author of my life, you conceived, 
drafted, revised, edited me. 
You wrote me when no one else 
knew or cared for my soul. 
Now publish me. Let 
those who read be 

A Presence Prayer

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)

Wherever I Travel

I know, O God,
that wherever I travel,
you will be with me,
and with my lovely wife,
who travels with me.
There is nowhere we can go,
no situation we can face,
that 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.

Mary of Bethany Prayer

Lord Jesus,
please grant that I may be like your servant,
your follower,
your friend,
Mary of Bethany;
make me, like her,
one who sits at your feet,
who hangs on your every word,
who neglects nagging for what is needful,
who rejects "many things" for "one thing,"
who lets YOU defend me instead of defending myself,
who remains faithful to the end,
who sees your glory.


Lord, as you are so gracious
as to set in motion the answers to my prayers
before I even pray,
please give me grace to begin to thank you
before I receive an answer,
in Jesus' name, amen.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Give Me a Restful Mind

Give me a restful mind,
One that in calm repose
Safe in your love though tempests rage,
Peace and refreshment knows.

Give me a trustful mind
When doubts and fears assail;
Help me confide in you, assured
Your grace can never fail.

Give me an earnest mind,
Set all my zeal aflame,
So that with willing service here
I may extol your name.

Give me a steadfast mind,
Firm as a rock, and sure;
Unswerving, loyal, I would stand
And to the end endure.

Give me a thankful mind,
So that in full accord,
Mind, heart, and voice shall ever sing
Glad praise to Christ, my Lord.

(a prayer of Frederick G. Hawkes, from The Salvation Army Songbook)

Trust and Quietness

O Lord, whose way is perfect,
help us, we pray, always to trust in your goodness,
that walking with you and following you in all simplicity,
we may possess quiet and contented minds
and may cast all our care on you, who cares for us.

Grant this, O Lord,
for your dear Son's sake, Jesus Christ.

(a prayer of Christina Rossetti)

Writing Now

Lord God,
in your almighty power and eternal purpose,
let all that I am
enjoying now,
enduring now,
thinking now,
feeling now,
hearing now,
reading now,
observing now,
absorbing now,
experiencing now,
combine and coalesce
in what I am writing now
so as to bear fruit for your good purposes
in the hearts and minds of many,
in Jesus' name, amen.