A Post-Thanksgiving Prayer

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)

More Thanks Than I Can Give

My Maker and my King,
To you my all I owe;
Your sovereign bounty
is the spring
Whence all my blessings flow.

The creature of your hand,
On you alone I live;
My God, your benefits demand
More thanks than I can give.

Lord, what can I impart
When all is yours before?
Your love demands a thankful heart;
My gift, alas! how poor.

O! let your grace inspire,
My heartfelt thanks outpour;
Let every word and each desire
And all my days be yours.

(a prayer by hymnwriter Anne Steele, slightly updated)

On the Day Before Thanksgiving Day

For you, who fed the hungry,
May we so break our bread
In constant, costly giving
That others may be fed. 

(by Lillian Cox)


Lord God, please make me
grateful instead of grabbing,
giving instead of greedy,
and gracious instead of so awfully critical,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer On Entering Worship

I come humble
I come broken
I come simple
I come open
I come empty
I come seeking
I come hungry
I come pleading

I come hurting
In the darkness

My Only Happiness

When the angel gives the record
Of my inmost soul today,
I want my thoughts and actions
With unbroken voice to say:

"The love Thy servant bears Thee
Will endure the hardest test,
And only be happy
In giving the best."

(a prayer by General Albert Orsborn)

Come, Living Water

Come, Living Water.

Come into my weary soul.
Come in like a flood.
Come, shock my system.
Come, fill my empty places.
Come, deluge my dry places.

Come, Living Water.
Come and revive me.
Come refresh me.
Come renew me.
Come recreate me.
Come, Living Water.

Come, Living Water.


What Is Impossible By Nature

Lord, make possible for me by grace what is impossible to me by nature. You know that I am not able to endure very much, and that I am downcast by the slightest difficulty. Grant that for your sake I may come to love and desire any hardship that puts me to the test, for salvation is brought to my soul when I undergo suffering and trouble for you.

(a prayer of Thomas à Kempis)

For Storm Victims

Father, bless those in Illinois and the other states who have been affected by the recent storms.

Bring healing and comfort where it is needed
and provide for those who have lost homes and possessions.

Bless them as they rebuild,
and help your people as they minister to their neighbors. Amen.

(from the Daily Prayer blog)

In Your Schoolroom

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. You are teaching me also to plan carefully and choose wisely.

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.

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 hurt and sorrow, you are teaching me to forgive. Through distractions, you are teaching me focus. Through change, you are teaching me what really matters.

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.

By All the Promises of Grace

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)


Lord God Adonai,
I'm sorry that I have so often
approached your Word
and combed your Word
and misused your Word
as a repository of rules and formulas
for me--and others, especially others--to obey,
rather than as a means of relationship,
a love note,
a sometimes whispered,
sometimes shouted,
always gracious
invitation to enter into communion with you.

As the Typewriter

Don’t let me ever think,
dear God,
that I was anything
but the instrument for Your story—
just like the typewriter
was mine.

(from Flannery O'Connor's Prayer Journal)

Quietly, Easily

Dear Lord,
Help me to live this day,
quietly, easily;

To lean upon thy great strength-
trustfully, restfully;

To wait for the unfolding of thy will-
patiently, serenely;

To meet others-
peacefully, joyously;

To face tomorrow-
confidently, courageously,
With Jesus' help, amen.

Author Unknown


Woodworker, builder, craftsman in stone,
in your shop by the smith’s,
in the door of your home,
with plumbline to measure, plane to make smooth,
midst curlings and shavings of sweet-scented wood,
knotted and grained, olivewood, oak,
with bow-drill and bit, wood mallet, awl,
mold table and chair, threshing-board, yoke,
winnowing fork, plow, a child’s handhewn toy.

Sweat-streamed, leather-wrapped,
with ax and adz in hand,
you chisel and chip,
cut, hammer, scrape, grind,
file and sand, polish, and buff,
till your craftsmanship shines
in the figure you form.

Carpenter, Artist, sharpen your tools,
Carve your signature in me.

(copyright Bob Hostetler)

In So Many Words

Deal bountifully with your servant today that I may live and keep your word.

Be good to your servant, that I may live and obey your word.

Deal generously with Your servant so that I might live; then I will keep Your word.

Be kind to me so that I may live and hold on to your word.

Do good to your servant. I will live and I will obey your word.

Smile on me today; my very life--and certainly my faithfulness to your Word--depends entirely on your grace.


(based on Psalm 119:17 in the--respectively--NASB, NLT, HCSB, GWT, WEB, and personal paraphrase).

Nothing But Thy Blood

(from The Salvation Army's International Staff Songster CD, "Introit." Music by Major Donna Peterson)

On Veterans Day

God of peace,
we pray for those
who have served our nation
and who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies
are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!


(from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

A Lowly Preacher's Prayer

Lord God, what a marvel,
that I can proclaim your Word!
What an honor.
What a joy.

You dwell with the lowly
and visit those who tremble at Your Word.
Anoint me with lowliness.
Fill me with trembling.

Come upon me in spirit and truth.
Overshadow me with your Spirit.

All my springs are in you, Lord.
Flow from me
for the salvation of sinners
and for the blessing,
and upbuilding of your church,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Surprise Me

I have no idea
of what you have in mind for me today
or any of the ways you'll find to let me know...

I have no idea
of when or how you'll speak to me today,
let alone what you might want to say to me...

I have no idea
of where you might lead me today
or of what and whom I'll meet along the way...

I don't yet know
the moments when you'll reach out
to strengthen and to lift me up when I'm bowed down...

You've got lots of surprises planned for me today, Lord,
and I don't know yet what they might be, so:
let my mind and heart be open
to your plans for me today;
let there be a quiet time and place within
that I might hear the word you speak;
let your Spirit be the compass of my soul
as I follow where your word and will may lead me;
open up my day to all the gifts, the strength and all the help
you never fail to offer...

I have no idea what this day holds, Lord:
surprise me with your presence, your grace, your peace!

(borrowed from my friend Fr. Austin Fleming at A Concord Pastor Comments)

Beyond the Familiar

Help me to journey beyond the familiar
and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways
and break fresh ground with You.

Christ of the mysteries, I trust You
to be stronger than each storm within me.
I will trust in the darkness and know
that my times, even now, are in Your hand.

Tune my spirit to the music of heaven,
and somehow, make my obedience count for You.

(a prayer of St. Brendan the Navigator, by way of the Daily Prayer Blog)

For a Tongue Fluent Only in Praise

Lord God, I thank you for oysters and porpoises,
praise you for birdsong and sheet lightning,
see you reflected in pools of creekwater
and the eyes of stray cats.

Let me talk to yard dogs as if they are my friends and fellow travelers along the sun-tortured highways intoxicated with the love of God.
Let me see the whole world
with eyes incapable of anything but wonder,
and a tongue fluent only in praise, amen.

Based on a passage from Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides, pp. 277-278.

O Man of Galilee

O Man of Galilee,
Stay with and strengthen me;
Walk through this day with me,
O Man of Galilee.

(a prayer of Robert Hoggard, slightly revised)

For Daylight

O Lord, despite our right and wrong,
Let Thy daylight come down
Again on woods and field and town,
To be our daily bread and daily song.

(a prayer of Wendell Berry,
from his poem "Voices Late at Night")

Only Speak

“Only speak the word,” the centurion said to you, Jesus.
It is my prayer, too.
Only speak the word and they will be healed.
I ask again.
I ask still.
I ask until.
Only speak the word.

God of Second Chances and New Beginnings

God of second chances and new beginnings,
I am always amazed that you choose to use me for your kingdom purposes.

You use me as I am …
imperfect …
flawed …
ordinary …
tending sometimes not to do my best …
prone to error …
and very inclined to trip and fall.

Always your grace is greater than my mistakes and stumblings.

Thank you, O God, for using me in spite of myself!
Unfailing God, remind me often that, in your sight, failure is never final.
By your grace, enable me to deal with my own failures constructively and with the failures of others patiently.
Let it be so.

(a prayer of Trudy Archambeau)

A Prayer on All Saints Day

Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God,
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body
of Your Son, Christ our Lord,
and kindled the flame of your love
in the hearts of the saints.
I praise you for the holy men and women
you have raised up
in every time and place.
Give me grace so to follow their example
in devotion and godliness
that I may come
to those ineffable joys
that you have prepared for those
who unfeignedly love you,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

(updated and modernized from the Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, the Gothic Missal, and The Book of Common Prayer, 1979)