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.

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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.

The Key That Releases From Fear

in the Garden of Gethsemane
you shared with everyone
who has ever been afraid.
You conquered fear with love
and returned saying,
"Do not be afraid."
In the light of your love
death has lost its sting
and so has fear.
Lord, may your love
be the key
that releases me
from fear.

(a prayer of Frank Topping)

No More

In lands of drought and hunger
No more, dear Lord, we pray
Will mothers ask the question:
Which child to feed today?

(a prayer of James Carey at age 10)

Look and See

Oh Lord,
how shining and festive
is your gift to us,
if we only look,
and see.

(excerpt from "Look and See," by Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004), 26).

Photo credit: Doug Webb Photography


Abba, thank you
for the ability to
and love

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We Come to You

As you came to us we come to you
Fragile as a baby hopeful and new
But learning fast that to walk is to fall
Soon we’ve done it all

We come broken and we come undone
We come trying hard to love everyone
But we come up short in all that we do
Because we do
So we come to you

As you came to us so we come to you
Dirty and hurting then dead in the tomb
But raised redeemed to show off the scars
‘Cause you’ve brought us this far

You came to show the way not around but through
So through it all we come to you

(Words and Music: Aaron Tate
©2004 Cumbee Road Music (admin by Music Services) / ASCAP)

Forgive My Little Efforts

Father God Almighty,
you inspired Moses, Samuel, and others
to write when their best tools
were papyrus and parchment,
reed styli and ink made from crushed berries and plants.

For millennia,
your servants have recorded
stirring and soaring works
in caves and cells,
dusty rooms and mud huts,
by lamplight and candlelight.

So many have written so well
in such circumstances
as to shame my little efforts
and shoddy craftsmanship.

So forgive me, Lord,
when I let tiny obstacles
and minor inconveniences
compromise my praying and writing.
Forgive all those times when I could do better
and make them less and less frequent
until they sink forever beneath the waves of creativity
and productivity,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Lift My Gaze

Gracious Father, thank you for all I have to look forward to that is mine by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Lift my gaze from the mundane, often gritty, details of my life right now to the best life—new, rich, beautiful, expansive, and whole—that awaits me. Help me to live now so as to prepare for my life—soon, in Jesus’ name, amen.

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

For Creation

Author of life,
Architect of creation,
Artist of earth,
Your works declare Your Holy Name.

Mighty rivers,
Turbulent seas,
Towering mountains,
Rolling hills,
Vast spaces of brilliance and grandeur.

You created pallet and paint,
Color and hue,
Shape and form,
Abundant and beautiful,
Glorious and majestic,
Full of mystery and wonder.

Blessed are You,
With divine love You created a world of splendor.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.


Dear Father of mankind, make me the human channel, so far as in me lies, through which Thy divine love and pity may reach the hearts and lives of a few of those who are nearest to me.

Lord, today I would remember before Thee all my human brothers and sisters who need Thy help. Especially this morning I think
of those who are faced by great temptations;
of those who are faced by tasks too great for their powers;
of those who stand in any valley of decision;
of those who are in debt or poverty;
of those who are suffering the consequences of misdeeds long ago repented of;
of those who, by reason of early surroundings, have never had a fair chance in life;
of all the family circles broken by death;
of all missionaries of the Kingdom of Heaven in faraway corners of the earth;
of those who lift high the lamp of truth in lonely places;

Hear our prayer dear Father, hear our prayer. We love you. Amen.

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer)

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 Prayer

God, help me to accept the teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness that Scripture supplies, that I may be a messenger of God, competent and equipped for every good work. Amen.

2 Timothy 3:15 Prayer

grant that I will be
so acquainted with Scripture
that I will be made
wise for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus.

Redemption Has Come to My Little Soul

Lord, I worship you,
for redemption has come to my little soul.
I will spread the Gospel, with your help,
for I know that judgment is coming.
And I will waste no more time,
for I know the harvest is near,
and I want everyone around me to experience
forgiveness, regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and life everlasting,
in Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Creation and Imitation

Lord God, beautiful Creator,
I have yet to create anything.

From mud pies to masterpieces,
everything I have formed or fashioned
has been a simple, sometimes crude, rearrangement
of your mighty works.

I have ever and always used the raw materials you provide
to make something that seemed new
but was in reality an imitation of you,
of your words,
of your wonders.

Sometimes, I confess,
I have cravenly tried to imitate
others who imitate you:
poets, prophets, and preachers,
artists and musicians,
whose gifts for reflecting your beauty and imagination
inspire awe and envy in me.

But they are imitators, too.
So save me, Lord,
from imitating other imitators.
Grant that I may always--
and with increasing artistry--
imitate only you,
the sole Creator,
the true Innovator,
the only Originator of all beauty and creativity,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Augustine

Let me know Thee, O Lord, who knowest me: let me know Thee, as I am known. Power of my soul, enter into it, and fit it for Thee, that Thou mayest have and hold it without spot or wrinkle. This is my hope, therefore do I speak; and in this hope do I rejoice.

(a prayer of St. Augustine, from his Confessions, Book Ten)

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To Speak...and to Refrain

I give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. I give praise and thanks to you for the privilege that is mine to witness to your kindness, to your beauty, to your great salvation. I confess that it is both privilege and pain to me—-sweet and bitter. I ask you, please, to make me faithful to speak at your urging and to refrain at your prompting. Light my lamp, and keep it burning. Make my witness bold and unconquerable, reminding me that by your grace and in your strength I can have a greater impact than that of earthquakes and armies. Amen.

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

A Psalm On Viewing the River

if anything happens
if you come for me
keep them from interfering
desperately trying
to tug me
from your grasp.
If I'm far
across the river
where you own shore
and all beyond
don't let them
bring me back
prolonging death
not life
delaying life
that never crosses
unreturning river

(a prayer of Joseph Bayly, from Psalms of My Life)