A Prayer on Easter

It is only right,
with all the powers of our heart and mind,
to praise You Father
and Your Only-begotten Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ:
Dear Father, by Your wondrous
condescension of loving-kindness toward us,
Your servants, You gave up Your Son.
Dear Jesus You paid the debt of Adam
for us to the Eternal Father by
Your Blood poured
fourth in loving-kindness.
You cleared away the darkness of sin
By Your magnificent and radiant Resurrection.
You broke the bonds of death
and rose from the grave as a Conqueror.
You reconciled heaven and earth.
Our life had no hope of eternal happiness
before You redeemed us.
Your Resurrection has washed away our sins,
restored our innocence and brought us joy.
How inestimable is the tenderness
of Your love!

(Saint Gregory the Great's Easter Prayer)

A Prayer on Holy Saturday

Jesus, I await you.
Be risen anew in my heart
as the light of Easter
dawns tomorrow,

Love Lustres at Calvary

My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim 'Love Lustres at Calvary.'
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy
that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell's worst
that I might attain heaven's best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclothed brightness,
expired that I might forever live.

O Father, who spared not thine own Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight, as I see
my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell's gates closed, heaven's portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

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

That We Have Imagined True Humanness

forgive us
that we have imagined true humanness,
after the Enlightenment model,
to mean being successful,
having it all together,
knowing all the answers,
never making mistakes,
striding through the world as though we owned it

(a prayer of N. T. Wright, from The Challenge of Jesus, p. 193).

A Prayer of Inazo Nitobe

I ask, Lord, for daily bread,
but not for wealth, lest I forget the poor.

I ask for strength,
but not for power, lest I despise the meek.

I ask for wisdom,
but not for learning, lest I condemn the simple.

I ask for a clean name,
but not for fame, lest I condemn the lowly.

I ask for peace of mind,
but not for idle hours, lest I fail to hearken to the call of duty.

A Prayer Prompted by the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary

Sometimes, Lord,
my heart aches for a message,
looks for an angel,
listens for, needs, a word from you...

My heart waits to hear
what you might speak to me,
to my life, to my worries, to my fears...

My heart waits to hear you say,
"Do not be afraid... I am with you...
I am always with you... I will never leave you...
I am beside you, before you and behind you,
above and below and within you..."

My heart strains to hear you say,
"You have found favor with me...
I care for you... I care about you...
I watch for you... I watch out for you...
You have a place in my heart,
a place I keep only for you
and I look for you in my heart..."

Speak to my heart, Lord,
send an angel, a message, a word...
Speak to me as you spoke to Mary:
when I am not expecting you...
when I am confused and do not understand...
when I am afraid of what tomorrow may bring...

Fill my heart with your grace
that I might see every angel you send my way,
that I might hear every word you speak to me,
that I might ponder whatever might be
the message of love you offer...


(from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

A Prayer of Mechtild of Magdeburg

you are
my lover,
my longing,
my flowing stream,
my sun,
and I am
your reflection.

In Which I Barely Get Started in the Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
your name is holy,
your name is beautiful,
your name is worthy to be praised.

Your name is a strong tower,
a refuge for the righteous,
a shelter from the storm,
a haven, a hearth, a sanctuary.

Your name is a balm to the hurting,
a healing name,
a charming name,
and trustworthy.

Your name is music to my ears,
joy to my heart,
and comfort to my soul.

Prayer to Do Good

Forgive me, most gracious Lord and Father,
if this day I have done or said anything
to increase the pain of the world.

Pardon the unkind word, the impatient gesture, the hard and selfish deed, the failure to show sympathy and kindly help where I had the opportunity, but missed it; and enable me so to live that I may daily do something to lessen the tide of human sorrow, and add to the sum of human happiness.

(a prayer of F.B. Meyer)

A Writer's Education

Teach me your ways, Lord.
Teach me your Word.
Teach me your wit.
Teach me your winsomeness.
Teach me your wiles.
Teach me your will.
Teach me your wealth of creativity,
and beauty.
Teach me your wonders,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For Malala

Lord God,
Lord of heaven, Lord of earth,
Lord of all flesh,
she is only fifteen. She was gunned down by Taliban militants for wanting to go to school. She now lives in England, and after several surgeries is pursuing her education again.

Help her, Lord.
Aid her in her studies.
Protect her from the fatwa that threatens her life.
Deliver her from evil,
in all its forms.

A Writer's Evening Prayer

If I have failed to heed your voice today,
If I have driven any of your thoughts away,
If I have written my own willful way:
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I have written idle words or vain,
If I have worked for earthly gain,
If my words should bring one soul pain,
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I appropriated words not mine,
If I failed to give a credit line,
If I've cast my pearls before swine,
Dear Lord, forgive!

If I've failed in substance or in style,
If in anything I've stooped to guile,
If I've failed at all to win your smile,
Dear Lord, forgive!

Forgive the sins I have confessed to you,
Forgive the sins I don't know I do,
And make my writing both good and true;
All else forgive.


(Based on “An Evening Prayer,” by C. Maud Battersby)

On the First Day of Spring

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

(by Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I Choose Today

I choose today, Lord,
to believe in you
and in your good plans for me.

I choose to walk in faith,
not to hurry or panic,
not to fear, not to stress,
but to stand still and see the salvation
of the Lord.


Today I put on
a terrible strength
invoking the Trinity
confessing the Three
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker.

Today I put on the power
of Christ's birth and baptism,
of his hanging and burial,
His resurrection, ascension,
and descent at the Judgement.

Today I put on the power
of the order of the Cherubim,
angels' obedience,
archangels' attendance,
in hope of ascending
to my reward;
patriarchs' prayers,
prophets' predictions,
apostles precepts,
confessors' testimony,
holy virgins' innocence
and the deeds of true men.

Today I put on
the power of Heaven,
the light of the Sun,
the radiance of the Moon,
the splendour of fire,
the fierceness of lightning,
the swiftness of wind,
the depth of the sea,
the firmness of earth
and the hardness of rock.

Today I put on
God's strenghth to steer me,
God's power to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye for my vision,
God's ear for my hearing,
God's word for my speech,
God's hand to protect me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield for my shelter,
God's angels to guard me
from ambush of devils,
from vice's allurements,
from traps of the flesh,
from all who wish ill,
whether distant or close,
alone or in hosts.

I summon these powers today
to take my part against every implacable power
that attacks my body and soul,
the chants of false prophets,
dark laws of the pagans,
false heretics' laws,
entrapments of idols,
enchantments of women
or smiths or druids,
and all knowledge that poisons
man's body or soul.

Christ guard me today
from poison, from burning,
from drowning, from hurt,
that I have my reward.

Christ beside me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,

Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me.

Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left,

Christ where I lie,
Christ where I sit,
Christ where I rise.

Christ in the hearts of all who think of me,
Christ in the mouths of all who speak to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Today I put on
a terrible strength,
invoking the Trinity,
confessing the Three,
with faith in the One
as I face my Maker.

Caedmon's Hymn (Slightly Revised)

Now, Lord, I honor you, Guardian of heaven,
your might as an architect, and your purpose,
your work, O father of glory,
for you, the Eternal Lord,
established each wonder from the beginning.
You, the Holy Creator,
first fashioned the heavens as a roof for the children of men.
Then, Guardian of mankind, Eternal Lord,
you adorned the middle earth,
the lands, for men.
I praise you, Almighty King of Heaven.

This Most Resplendent Hour

These rude feet,
and this God's day,
this most resplendent hour!
Father of mercies,
give me eyes,
make me aware:
I walk in gift today.
(a prayer of Gerhard E. Frost, from his book, Blessed is the Ordinary, p. 65)

As We Await

Abba, Father,
thank you for the technology
and research
and treatments
and medicine
that help my grandchildren
stay healthy
as we await your healing
to appear,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For Pastor Saeed

Lord God Adonai, have mercy on Pastor Saeed. Give him grace and courage in the furnace of affliction, in the trial of his faith, in his present imprisonment. Strengthen and comfort his family. Keep them faithful to your Son. Guard his wife and children from fear and save them from bitterness and hatred.

Deliver him from death, prison, and persecution. Bring him safely home to his family. Let the word of his testimony blaze brighter than the fires of oppression that threaten his life, in Jesus' name, amen.

Bird Song

"I rejoice that there are owls," said Thoreau,
and I must heartily agree.
I rejoice that there are hawks and eagles, too,
those majestic circlers in the air.
I rejoice in the robins that come with Spring,
and cardinals that splash color on the canvas of winter.
I rejoice in the chevron of red
on the redwing blackbird's shoulder,
and thrill at a rare glimpse of bluejay in the tree.
I rejoice at the trill of a sparrow in the morning
and the distant knock of a woodpecker.
I rejoice that there are herons
and hummingbirds,
and chickadees,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer of Praise from Shakespeare

What you do
Still betters
What is done.

(The Winter's Tale, IV, iv, 136).

Saturday Morning

Lord, you know,
I've been straightening my desk,
and I needn't tell you
I'm a piler, not a filer,
and if I were a filer
I'd still lose things--
alphabetically, I mean.

So, Lord,
as you once brooded
over primeval chaos
let your Spirit brood today
over this clutter
which is my life,
lest I lose myself
and you,
the Eternal Best.

(a prayer of Gerhard E. Frost, from his book, Blessed is the Ordinary)

No Mistake, Everything Works for Good in Me

I love you, O Lord, my strength; through you every hostile power yields to me, worm that I am, and the guile of the ancient serpent is laughed to scorn by the angels you send to minister to us, so that his desire to hurt is turned to our advantage instead.

I love you, Lord, my powerful defender, wise guide, gentle consoler, generous rewarder. Confident, I cast all my care on him whose strength cannot be overthrown, whose wisdom cannot be led astray, whose loving kindness cannot be exhausted in fulfilling my every need. How much better, how much safer it is to have him caring for me than to be looking after myself. How much better it is to take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. How justly cursed is the man who, trusting in man, makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord. Indeed I am poor and needy but if the Lord takes thought for me I am rich and blessed; no mistake, everything works for good in me.

Therefore let those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not forsake those who put their trust in you.


(a prayer of Guerric of Igny, pictured)

As a Child

Help me let go my grown-up pretensions
and come as a child before you, Lord...

In my babbling and crying
hear my heart's prayer
and answer me, Lord...

With the milk of your kindness,
in your arms' warm embrace,
give me comfort and protection
in all that troubles me...

(from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

This Morning's Repentance

The pride which leads me
to trust in myself
and not in you,
O Lord, forgive. Amen.

(based on a plaque in Coventry Cathedral)

Afford a Spring to Me

Lord, afford a spring to me,
Let me feel like what I see;
Speak, and by your gracious voice,
Make my drooping soul rejoice.

On your garden deign to smile,
Raise the plants, enrich the soil;
Soon your presence will restore
Life to what seemed dead before.

(from a hymn by John Newton, slightly revised)

Each Morning Broken

Lord! Make my heart your temple in which you live. Grant that every impure thought, every earthly desire might be like the idol Dagon--each morning broken at the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Teach me to master flesh and blood and let this mastery of myself be my bloody sacrifice in order that I might be able to say with the Apostle: "I die every day."


(a prayer of Soren Kierkegaard, slightly revised)

Kingdom Prayer

Lord, help me to receive your kingdom--daily--
as a little child.

Help me to trust you explicitly,
love you passionately and supremely,
and come to you simply,
plainly, and intimately, every day,
helpless, dependent, wide-eyed for your wisdom, blessing, and presence.

In that, let me be satisfied,
in Jesus' name, amen.