Show Thy Goodness in Me

O God, who madest me for Thyself,
to show forth thy goodness in me,
manifest, I humbly beseech Thee,
the life-giving power of Thy holy nature within me;
help me to such a true and living faith in Thee,
such strength of hunger and thirst
after the birth, life, and spirit
of thy Holy Jesus in my soul,
that all that is within me
may be turned from every inward thought,
or outward work, that is not Thee,
thy holy Jesus, and heavenly working in my soul. Amen.

(a prayer of William Law)

Prayer for My Next Book

Abba, Father, Author of all good things,
my next book will be coming out soon.
But then, you already knew that.
In fact, you already know who will see it,
who will buy it,
who will read it,
who will recommend it to others.
Multiply that company, Lord.
Prepare each of those souls for the entrance of your Word.
Oversee the timing of the book's release and promotion with them in mind.

Inspire me with new and value-added ways to announce and promote the book.
Bless the efforts of influencers and early readers to spread the word.
Grant that reader enthusiasm and word-of-mouth may dwarf all other promotional efforts.
Create a groundswell of excitement.
Place it prominently on blogs and social media and best seller lists.
Make it an immediate and enduring blessing to tens--even hundreds--of thousands of souls.
Use its success to support my coming writing and ministry efforts, and to make possible greater and bolder efforts for its publisher in the future.

Let the words of my mind and the publication of my thoughts
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

In Your Classroom

Rabbi, Teacher, Lord, thank you for all you are teaching me these days.

Through scarcity and need you are teaching me to recognize you as the source of my daily bread, and rely on you for the supply of all my needs.

Through delay and waiting you are teaching me patience and trust, reminding me that "in quietness and confidence" is my strength (Isaiah 30:15).

Through changing circumstances you are are teaching me (again) to pray, and to remember from whence my help--and help for my children and grandchildren--comes.

Also through scarcity, you are teaching me to plan carefully and choose wisely. Through grief and the slow process of healing, you are teaching me to persevere and deny myself. Through disappointment and obscurity, you are teaching me humility and contentment.

Through it all, Lord, I can see your hand, and your wisdom. Through it all, teach me some of that wisdom, the kind that comes only from you. Help me to learn such lessons well so as to learn the next one--and the ones after that--quicker and better, in Jesus' name, amen.

Bit O' Prayer

Give us, Lord, a bit o' sun,
A bit o' work and a bit o' fun.
Give us all in th' struggle and splutter
Our daily bread and a bit o' butter.
Give us health, our keep to make,
An' a bit to spare for poor folks' sake.
Give us sense, for we are some of us duffers,
An' a heart to feel for all that suffers.

(from The Complete Book of Christian Prayer, p. 177)

Available for Your Word

You we name as Lord, Sovereign, King.
You we confess governor over nations, empires, and kingdoms.
You in your holiness remain hidden,
evoking our extravagant doxologies.

Your rule draws close and visible
among us
when we see new possibilities break out,
or watch the rise and fall
beyond explanation.

Your rule draws close when you
dispatch prophets, messengers, and angels,
who dare say,
"Thus saith the Lord."

You dispatch your sovereign word through
human utterers. . .
preachers, poets, artists,
various freakish dissenters
and dreamers.

We thank you for your word of governance;
we do not want to be addressed
by dreams, breaks, or possibilities.
We most certainly do not want to be
bearers of such
dreams, breaks, or possibilities,
because we are mostly agents of
steady equilibrium.

Nonetheless, we dare yearn for your
word and occasionally utter it.
We thank you that we do not live
in a world unaddressed.
We thank you that you are not a God unuttered.

So we pledge, as we are able,
to listen and to speak,
being available for your word
that is full of grace and truth.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People)

From the Liturgy of St. Mark

We give Thee thanks, we give Thee exceeding thanks, O Lord our God, Father of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for all things, and through all things, and in all things: for that Thou hast sheltered, assisted, defended, and brought us through the past time of our life, and hast guided us to this hour, vouchsafing again to stand before Thee in Thy holy place, us who ask pardon of our sins, and propitiation for all Thy people. And we pray and beseech Thee, O Lover of mankind, grant us to pass this holy day and all the time of our life without sin, with all joy, health, safety, and with all sanctification and Thy fear. But all envy, all terror, all temptation, every working of Satan, every plot of wicked men, drive far from us, O God, and from Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. That which is good and profitable, do Thou supply to us; if we have sinned against Thee in word or deed, or by thought, do Thou, as good and Lover of mankind, vouchsafe to overlook it, and forsake us not, O God, who put our trust in Thee; nor lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one and from his works. [Through the grace and compassion and love for mankind of Thine only-begotten Son, through Whom and with Whom be to Thee the glory and majesty, with Thy most holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.]

(from the Liturgy of St. Mark, 2nd century)

Prayer for the Unemployed

Lord Christ, you said to your disciples, "My Father has worked till now, and I work": we pray for those who through no fault of their own have been deprived of the work that leads towards the fulfillment of their lives.

Inspire and guide those who bear the responsibility of finding the answer to our industrial problems.

Open their minds to the truth, that they may discern in the events of our time the direction of your will; and give them the courage to declare what they believe to be right, and the power to carry it through.

(a prayer by Basil Naylor, from The Complete Book of Christian Prayer, p. 142)

He Starts Kindergarten Today

He starts kindergarten today, Lord. Please keep him in your care (and, while you're at it, keep his parents in your care, too). Keep him safe on the bus to and from school, and while he is at school. Let his first days be good ones, and then follow those with more good ones. Temper his shyness. Help him to make friends quickly and well. Help him to listen to his teachers and to grow in knowledge, skill, and wisdom. Help him to be kind, and to experience kindness from others. Bless his teachers and all who are responsible for him during school hours. Grant him your constant presence and protection. Keep him as the apple of your eye, and hide him in the shadow of your wing, in Jesus' name, amen.

Glutton's Prayer

Lord God, I confess that I seek
and satisfaction
in food, rather than in you;
please forgive me.

Help me to turn to you instead of food,
to fill my spirit instead of my belly,
to find my heart's desire in you
instead of what I eat.

Fill me.
Feed me.
Insatiate me
with so much of your sufficiency
that I may see clearly the inadequacy
and foolishness
of gluttony,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Nothing But Thy Favor

Let me love Thee, Savior,
Take my heart forever;
Nothing but Thy favor
My soul can satisfy.

(from a hymn by Herbert Booth)

Deus a Quo

God from whom holy desires, rightful counsel, and just deeds proceed,
grant to your servant peace
that the world may know you,
that our hearts may be kept in your love,
and that the dread of our enemies
may be taken from us,
so that our times are blessed by your protection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in all the world,

Unhurry Me

O Christ,
I notice that you
were never in a hurry,
never ran,
but always had time
for the pressing necessities
of the day.
Give me that
disciplined, poised life,
so that I have time always
for the things that matter.

(from the August 16 reading
of E. Stanley Jones's
The Way)

A Short Psalm

I choose to be Your failure
before anyone else's success.
Keep me from reneging
on my choice.


(excerpted from "A Psalm Requesting Faith," in Psalms of My Life by Joseph Bayly)

A Prayer from Adoniram Judson

Thanks be to God! Grant that I may kneel down before you and with the last leaf in my hand, imploring your forgiveness for all the sins which have polluted my labors and your aid in future efforts to remove the errors and imperfections which necessarily cleave to my work, commend my work to your mercy and grace. I have dedicated it all to your glory. May you transform my faulty words into your own inspired words, and make them a grand instrument for the blessing of others and the means of filling the whole world with songs of praise to you. Amen.

(based on words ascribed to Adoniram Judson, from the book, Splendor of God, by Honore Willsie Morrow (New York: A. L. Burt & Company, 1929), p. 370)

Finish What Love Has Begun

My Spouse, in whose presence I live,
Sole object of all my desires,
Who know'st what a flame I conceive,
And canst easily double its fires!
How pleasant is all that I meet!
From fear of adversity free,
I find even sorrow made sweet;
Because 'tis assigned me by thee.

Transported I see thee display
Thy riches and glory divine;
I have only my life to repay,
Take what I would gladly resign.
Thy will is the treasure I seek,
For thou art as faithful as strong;
There let me, obedient and meek,
Repose myself all the day long.

My spirit and faculties fail;
Oh, finish what love has begun!
Destroy what is sinful and frail,
And dwell in the soul thou hast won!
Dear theme of my wonder and praise,
I cry, who is worthy as thou?
I can only be silent and gaze!
'Tis all that is left to me now.

Oh, glory in which I am lost,
Too deep for the plummet of thought;
On an ocean of Deity tossed,
I am swallowed, I sink into nought.
Yet, lost and absorbed as I seem,
I chant to the praise of my King;
And, though overwhelmed by the theme,
Am happy whenever I sing.

(a prayer of Madame Guyon, translated by William Cowper)

Prone to Thorns and Brambles

Lord Jesus, I confess that,
like Thomas Merton,
I am a sheep prone
to thorns and brambles.

Please don't tire of looking for me
and lifting me out of the messes
I get myself into, in Jesus' name, amen.

Emerge in Splendor

When you, O God, emerge in splendor from your ivory palace, your garments are noble myrrh, aloe, and cassia.
You are the King of Glory, strong and powerful, mighty in battle.

Fling wide the door and unbar the gate so that the King of Glory may enter!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the Lord God who enlightens us. O Lord, aid us so that we will succeed! You have removed sin, curses, and death, and you have blessed us eternally in heavenly places. Give your people power, strength, and victory over all spiritual and physical enemies. Amen.

(from the book Amish Prayers, compiled by Beverly Lewis)

Whom Shall I Fear?

Lord, you are my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
What can this world and those who live in it possibly do to me?
They cannot take away my life, for my life is hid in Christ with God,
and to be absent from the body is to be present with you.
They cannot steal my joy, for in your presence is fulness of joy,
and you will never leave me or forsake me.
They cannot threaten my security, for my trust is in you;
all other hope is sinking sand.
They cannot thwart my purpose, for to live is Christ, to die is gain.
They cannot assault my dignity, for I am a child of the King, the living God.
They cannot make me homeless, for I have a building from God,
a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
They cannot take what is most precious to me on earth,
for they are also hid with Christ in God,
and though we may be separated, we will be together in eternity.
Lord, you are my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?

Immaculate Mirror of All Virtues

O gracious, kind, loving Lord Jesus Christ!
Gentle, humble, patient Lord!
You left us a beautiful, virtuous example of a holy life
so that we might follow in your footsteps.

You are an immaculate mirror of all virtues,
a perfect example of holiness,
an irreproachable measure of piety,
and a sure standard of righteousness.
How different my sinful life is compared to your just life!

(from the book Amish Prayers, compiled by Beverly Lewis)

Empty Me

Empty me, Lord.

Teach me not to have to be seen,
not to need to be right,
not to seek to be acknowledged,
not to want to be valued.

Help me to say--
and to mean it when I do--
"I am an unworthy servant;
I have only done my duty," (Luke 17:10),
and I have already received
far, far better than I have deserved,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Nothing's Missing

Life. Check.
Breath. Check.
Awareness. Check.
Strength. Check.
Memory. Check.
Energy. Check.
Painless joints. Check.
Eyes to see. Check.
Ears to hear. Check.
Lips to kiss with. Check.
Tongue to taste with. Check.
Large motor skills. Check.
Fine motor skills. Check.
Amazing wife. Check.
Pride 'n' joy kids. Check.
Delightful grandkids. Check.
Friends. Check.
Roof over my head. Check.
A comfortable bed. Check.
Food in my belly. Check.
Food in the pantry. Check.
Health in my bones. Check.
A safe neighborhood. Check.
A car that runs. Check.
A toilet that flushes. Check.
Air-conditioning that works. Check.
Books to read. Check.
Clothes to wear. Check.
A God who loves me. Check.

Nothing's missing.

(Based on John Mayer's song, "Something's Missing")

The Gentle Intrusion of Grace

O Christ,
I open my heart,
my inmost heart,
to the gentle intrusion of grace.
It has sought me,
bought me,
taught me,
and caught me.
I breathe deeply of your grace,
and I am healed and released.
I am so grateful.

(from the July 14 reading of E. Stanley Jones's The Way)

A Writer's Dream

Lord, you showed Jacob a stairway to heaven,
and spoke to Solomon in his dreams.
You gave to Joseph and Daniel
insight into the meaning of dreams,
and gave your servant Peter a transforming vision.

God of dreams and visions,
please condescend to me in my sleep,
and inspire my writing even as I sleep.
Speak to me in the night watches,
whisper in my ear,
and make me a better writer
while I rest in your arms,
in Jesus' name, amen.

The Beauty of Your Peace

Drop your still dews of quietness
Till all my strivings cease;
Take from my soul the strain and stress,
And let my ordered life confess
The beauty of your peace.

(a verse by John Greenleaf Whittier, slightly updated)

Fashioned for Joy

As the hand is made for holding and the eye for seeing, you have fashioned me, O Lord, for joy.

Share with me the vision to find that joy everywhere:
in the wild violet's beauty,
in the lark's melody,
in the face of a steadfast man,
in a child's smile,
in a mother's love, in the purity of Jesus.


(a Scots Celtic prayer)