A Prayer of Brother Lawrence

O my God, since Thou art with me,
and I must now,
in obedience to Thy commands,
apply my mind to these outward things,
I beseech Thee to grant me
the grace to continue in Thy Presence;
and to this end do Thou prosper me with Thy assistance,
receive all my works,
and possess all my affections.

(a prayer of Brother Lawrence, c. 1610-1691)

A Simple Prayer

Let mine
be a voice
for peace.

(a prayer of Dan Fogelberg, from his song, "A Voice for Peace")

For Bestowing Life

Praise to you, Most Holy, Most High; praise and glory to your name.

I praise you for bestowing life on your Creation; for granting reason to humankind, for making us a little lower than you, higher than the animals, for bestowing on us your likeness.

Thank you and praise to you for creating us as volitional creatures, though by that volition we fell.

Thank you for creating us as sensate beings, though in our sinfulness we serve our senses and sensation more than you.

I praise you for making us rational creatures, though our thoughts and imaginings are clouded by sin.

I praise you that you made us feeling, emotional beings, though we do not love you as we ought.

In all your works you are good and great, most excellent and most worthy of praise, which I offer you imperfectly, incompletely, but sincerely, in Jesus' name, amen.

Flee Forward

My Father and my God,
I see that my life
will be made or broken at the place
where I meet and deal with my obstacles.
Help me not to run away from them,
but to run toward them,
to tackle and overcome them.
Help me to take the impulse to flee
and compel it to make me flee forward.
In His name.

(a prayer of E. Stanley Jones, from Abundant Living, p. 117)

A Prayer for Pops

Loving Lord God,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God;
from one year to the next, you are there.

You were there
in Hutchinson, Kansas,
when a boy was born
to David and Bessie Hostetler,
and named Charles Vernon.

And today, he turns ninety-three.
Wow, Lord. Just wow.

Thank you for his long life,
and continued health,
and the three sons he raised
with his wife, my mother.
Thank you for the heritage of faith
he received
and passed on.
Thank you for his daily comforts,
his affable spirit,
and for the good care he receives at Westover Retirement Community.
Thank you that he still knows me (most of the time)
and his other sons (most of the time).
Thank you that he still enjoys his life and his days.

On this day
and every day hence,
please bless him mightily
and grant him yet more health,
and chocolate ice cream,
in Jesus' name, amen.


Lord God....Lavish your love on me. Come to me like the dew on the grass. Make me your garden. Let me send down roots like the trees of Lebanon. Let me grow like aspens on the hillside. Cause me to thrive like a beautiful olive tree and spread my fragrance like a grove of cedars, that many will be blessed by me and that my fruit and influence may spread far and wide.

You, Lord, are my one and only. You are the one who fulfills my desires. I want for nothing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(from Falling in Love with God, by Bob Hostetler, p. 172)


Gracious God,
thank you for the colors of my life:
for the red of Ryder's hair,
the blue of Calleigh's eyes,
the blazing whiteness of Miles's smile
and the pink of Mia's constantly moving mouth.

Thank you for the green of fresh-cut grass,
the sandy shade of a baseball infield,
azure Spring skies,
and April's "pink moon."

Thank you for forsythia blooms
and crabapple blossoms,
crocuses and daffodils.

Thank you for black coffee, blue jeans, brown mulch, "Cincinnati Reds" jerseys, and red-breasted robins, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer on Shakespeare's Birthday

Release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails.

(lines from The Tempest, Act 5, Epilogue, by William Shakespeare)

As You Have Never Drawn Me Before

Lord God, Adonai, how tender and patient you are with me. And how insensitive I have been to the many ways in which I continue to fail to love you and serve you as you deserve. I want to be your constant, attentive, submissive, appreciative, grateful, receptive, and faithful child. How often have you warned me and sweetly invited me to respond to you? How slow have I been to recognize the hardness of my heart and obstinacy of my ways? How many times have I grieved you? Oh, Lord God, turn my heart to you. Draw me as you have never drawn me before. And give me the grace to respond more sweetly and completely than ever before, that I may find in you all my heart’s desires. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(from Falling in Love with God, by Bob Hostetler, p. 133)

A Prayer Before Worship

Good morning, Abba!

Thank you for another day,
another Sunday,
another resurrection morning,
another day of worship,
another opportunity to assemble
with your people in worship.

Please, make this a sacred day,
a day in which your Name is magnified,
your praise multiplied,
your glory manifested,
your heart made glad.

Meet your gathering servants.
Condescend to every waiting heart.
Make our hearts beat with devotion
that we may worship You in spirit and in truth.

Unite your people in heart and soul.
Be with us so we may receive the blessing
promised to all who sincerely pray to You and faithfully hear Your Word,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.

Prayer Based on Lines from an Upcoming Book

Lord, give me love. Give me faith. Give me hope. Give me passion, purpose, and determination. Give me utter devotion. Give me a divine discontent with formality, ceremonialism, lukewarmness, indifference, sham and noise, parade and spiritual death. Give me singleness of eye and a consecration unto death. Give me that which emboldened David to run out to meet the insolent giant and Esther to face the king and plead for her people, saying, "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Give me God the Holy Spirit burning in and through me, with humble, holy, faithful effect, in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on lines from Take Time to Be Holy, by Samuel Logan Brengle, p. 228, scheduled for a September 2013 release)

Let All Thy Gifts of Grace Be Mine

O vision clear! O Voice Divine!
Dear Son of God and Son of Man!
Let all Thy gifts of grace be mine;
Complete in me Thy perfect plan.

(a prayer of General Albert Orsborn,
the final verse to his song,
"When Wondrous Words My Lord Would Say")

Tiny Prayer

And still, Lord, to me impart
An innocent and grateful heart.

(a prayer by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Source of All My Blessing and Joy

Lord God, Lover of my soul, you have done so much for me. You have made known to me the path of life and filled me with joy in your presence (Psalm 16:11). Yet, I confess that I am prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love. Please have mercy on my feeble and fickle heart, and help me to be properly warned by your Word. Help me not to tolerate even the slightest distance from you and, if I do wander, to turn quickly back to you, the source of all my blessing and joy. Make me and keep me wholly and always devoted to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(from Falling in Love with God, by Bob Hostetler, pp. 95-96)

On This Tax Day

On this day of internal revenue
some of us are paid up,
some of us owe,
some of us await a refund,
some of us have no income to tax.

But all of us are taxed,
by war,
by violence,
by anxiety,
by deathliness.

And Caesar never gives any deep tax relief.

We render to Caesar . . .
to some it feels like a grab,
to some it is clearly a war tax,
to some – some few –
it is a way to contribute to the common good.

In any case we are haunted
by what we render to Caesar,
by what we might render to you,
by the way we invest our wealth and our lives,
when what you ask is an “easy yoke”:
to do justice
to love mercy
to walk humbly with you.

Give us courage for your easy burden, so to live untaxed lives. Amen.

(a prayer by Walter Brueggemann, from his book, Prayers for a Privileged People, Abingdon, 2008)


Lord God Adonai, help me to truly discount everything, seeing it as rubbish compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Philippians 3:8).

A Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

(by John O'Donohue, in To Bless the Space Between Us)

For Baseball

Thank you, God, for baseball:
for outfields of green
and the crack of the ball on a wooden bat.
For pitchers with eccentric windups,
for stolen bases
and diving catches.
For double plays
and double steals,
bunts and brushbacks,
squeeze plays and home runs.
For "cold beer here!" and ballpark franks.
For the seventh inning stretch.
For day games and night games.
For OBPs and ERAs,
pickoff plays and headfirst slides,
pennant races and "Wait till next year."

To Abide

O Savior, how unspeakable is your love! "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I cannot attain unto it."

I can only yield myself to your love with the prayer that, day by day, you would unfold to me somewhat of its precious mysteries, and so encourage and strengthen me, your loving disciple, to do what my heart longs to do indeed--ever, only, wholly to abide in you.


(a prayer of Andrew Murray, from his book Abide in Christ, slightly revised)

Variations on Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
a reflection of your beauty,
a reservoir of your mercy,
a carrier of your grace,
a conveyor of your love,
a channel of your kindness,
a conduit of your healing power,
an expression of your passion,
an agent of your kingdom,
and a means of your working
in the lives of those around me,

A Prayer from My New Book

Gracious God, my King, thank you for [your] wide and long and high and deep...love for me—-that you would go so far to seek me, condescend so low to ransom me, open your heart wide to restore me and persevere so long to wait for me. Such knowledge is too great for me; I can’t even begin to comprehend it. And yet I feel it, Lord. I feel it.

As I contemplate all your loving thoughts and actions toward me, I feel my heart strangely warmed by the entrance of your love. Please continue this work in me, and help me to draw closer and closer and fall deeper and deeper in love with you, my soul’s Lover and Friend, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(from Falling in Love with God, by Bob Hostetler, p. 81)

Money and Me

Help me to love and serve you,
and to hate money
and tell it what to do
and where to go,
instead of the other way around,
as I am prone to do
(Luke 16:13-14),

O Mad Lover!

O eternal, infinite God! O mad lover! And you have need of your creature? It seems so to me, for you act as if you could not live without [me], in spite of the fact that you are Life itself, and everything has life from you and nothing can have life without you. Why then are you so mad? Because you have fallen in love with what you have made?...You clothed yourself in our humanity, and nearer than that you could not have come.

(a prayer of Catherine of Siena).

Prayer in a Traffic Jam

it is inconvenient,
but someone ahead could be hurt,
or worse.

Have mercy on those who need it most,
and give patience
and gratitude
to the rest of us,
for whom things could be much worse,
in Jesus' name,


I'm with you.

(a prayer from Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros)


Abba, Father,
as of today,
I've made it to 55.

It seems like a signpost of sorts,
but I pray, let it not be a speed limit,
or a limit of any kind.
Let it not be as far or as fast as I can go.

I rejoice that,
as old as I am,
55 is not nearly so old
as it once was.
I thank you
that I am not nearly
as decrepit
as I once imagined
people of this age to be.

Thank you that you have ordained
at least this many days for me.
Thank you that my life's journey
has been showered with so many blessings
and such abundant mercy and grace
as to boggle the mind.

Thank you that I have no regrets,
and few sorrows.

Thank you for a faithful, lovely wife,
such wonderful children,
and beautiful grandchildren
as I have.

Please let the days that remain to me
be healthy,
pleasing to you,
and a blessing to others,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Prayer from My Upcoming Book

Lord God, my faithful Lover, you have been so good to me, in spite of all my neglect and thoughtlessness. From my earliest moments of moral awareness, I have chosen my own way instead of yours. Over and over again in my life, I have wrestled the sovereign’s crown from your head and tried to place it on mine. Too many times to count, I have failed to give thanks for all your care and kindness to me—-worse than that, I have whined and complained like a bratty child rather than acknowledged and appreciated all your beauty and blessing.

Awaken me, God, to your constant care and generosity. Awaken me to the ways you have stood by me and the numberless times you have withheld judgment and punishment from me. Awaken me to your redemptive and constructive purposes in anything and everything I have ever seen as suffering in my life. Awaken me to my deep, fathomless need for your mercy, grace, and love....that I may rise and clasp your outstretched hand. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(from Falling in Love with God, which is scheduled for release April 9, 2013)

Remove and Cleanse, Create and Renew

Holy Father, remove all the sin that binds and oppresses us:
anger, disgust, envy,
hatred, lust, pride,
and greed, the root of all evil.
And cleanse our hearts of all unrighteousness.
Create in us a clean heart, O Lord,
and renew in us a sincere and willing spirit.
Teach us your ways,
and give us grace so that we may walk within them
until the end of our days.

Be Merciful to Me, A Fool

O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

No pity, Lord,
could change the heart
From red with wrong
to white as wool;
The rod must heal
the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
‘Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

The ill-timed truth we might have kept–
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say–
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders — oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

(from a poem by Edward Rowland Sill)