A Prayer on Opening Day

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,
for opening days and hope springing eternal.

A Prayer of Anticipation

O God,
My life is so noisy--and sadly, it resounds more often with ringing phones and droning televisions than with praise and worship for you. Do I ever pause and wonder what momentous things you might be preparing to do in my life? How many moments of awe-inspiring anticipation do I miss by never being still before you? I need your help to discipline myself. Help me to build a few moments of silent anticipation into each day, making time to pray and open myself up to what you want to do in and through me. I pray, God, that in these moments, you will reveal enough of your plan to make me ready for your great purposes in my life. I come before you with reverent awe and anticipation for the glorious future that lies ahead.

(an excerpt from the book, 365 Pocket Prayers, by Ron Beers)

A New Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I'm clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you're at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I'm not you, which means I'm not perfect.
It's better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you'll no doubt remember me saying,
I can't change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I'm clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they're talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I'm
not you.


(a prayer by Fr. James Martin, courtesy of the Daily Prayer blog; photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

For a Grandchild Yet Unborn

Oh, my Lord, you know all things.
You know this child already.
You know whether he or she is a he or she.
And you know his or her need.

On this precious child
growing inside my precious daughter,
Lord, have mercy.

On this precious child,
whom you are forming as carefully and kindly as any child ever born,
Lord, show your favor.

On this child,
who existed only in your foreknowledge just months ago,
Lord, grant health.

Please let him or her be free,
totally free,
of the cystic fibrosis that presents a daily challenge
to big sister and big brother,
and to Mom and Dad, who care so well for them.

Please, Lord God, Abba, Father, Gentle Shepherd, Great Physician,
let this baby's birth and growth
relieve some of the burden
his or her parents carry,
in Jesus' name, amen.

This Miracle of Now

Eternal Friend,
grant me an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this light, this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make me attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for me to be,
to do,
to give,
to receive,
that I may miss neither my neighbor's gift
nor my enemy's need.

(a prayer from Ted Loder's Guerrillas of Grace)

My Heart Waits to Hear

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 the Concord Pastor Comments blog; the illustration is Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner)

Sea of Love and Goodness

Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent van Gogh:

"It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea."

You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.

My only real temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, to remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.

O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.

(A prayer of Henri J.M. Nouwen; hat tip to Concord Pastor)

A Prayer from Zarephath

Lord God, you have provided,
you are providing,
and you will provide:
I believe,
help my unbelief!

From unexpected places,
in unmistakeable ways,
with gracious generosity
and gratifying regularity
you have provided for the needs
of me and my family,
and graciously kept our stores
of oil and flour
from running out.

I thank you, Sovereign Lord,
with my whole heart,
and ask you to please


A Prayer from the Didache

We give you thanks, Holy Father, for your holy name which you have caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which you have made known to us through Jesus your servant; to you be the glory forever.

You, almighty Master, created all things for your name's sake, and gave food and drink to men to enjoy, that they might give you thanks; but to us you have graciously given spiritual food and drink, and eternal life through your servant [Jesus]. Above all we give thanks because you are mighty; to you be the glory forever.

Remember your church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love; and gather it, the one that has been sanctified, from the four winds into your kingdom, which you have prepared for it; for yours is the glory forever.

May grace come, and may this world pass away.

(from the Didache)

A Prayer on the First Day of Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

(by Robert Frost, from A Boy's Will)

A Prayer of the Mad Farmer

When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.

When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf.

(From "Prayers and Sayings of the Mad Farmer," Stanza VIII, The Mad Farmer Poems by Wendell Berry)

A Prayer for My Son's Birthday

            Oh, my Lord, what a gift you gave me in my son.
            How I thank you for him,
            and for his thirty-one years of life so far.
            Today, and on every day that is to come,
            please bless him and keep him.
            Smile on him and be gracious to him.
            Show him your favor and give him your peace.
            Continue and increase the good work you've begun in him.
            Make him strong and courageous,
            Make him bold and energetic.
            Fill his heart, mind, and life with all that is true,
            honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
            Answer his prayers.
            Fulfill his dreams.
            Supply all his needs.
            Keep his marriage strong and beautiful.
            Make his home safe and happy.
            Give him wisdom in parenting,
            blessing in his work,
            responsibility and generosity in his finances,
            sweetness in worship,
            focus in study,
            and enjoyment in his relationships.
            Reward all his love and faithfulness
            with beauty and grace,
            prosperity and plenty,
            in Jesus' name, amen.

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is the famous prayer attributed to St. Patrick, called The Lorica, or Breastplate of St. Patrick: 

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.
(crossposted at the Desperate Pastor Blog)

Because My Neighbor

I ask you to get this traffic jam moving again--
yet not my will, but yours, be done,
because my neighbor may be hurt and in need of careful medical attention.

I ask you to keep my car running problem-free--
yet not my will, but yours, be done,
because my neighbor the mechanic or the car salesman may be in need.

I ask you to give me a great parking space--
yet not my will, but yours, be done,
because my neighbor may be late for an important appointment.

I ask you to give me the last seat on this plane--
yet not my will, but yours, be done,
because my neighbor's need may be more pressing than mine.

I ask you to keep it from snowing again--
yet not my will, but yours, be done,
because my neighbor may need the income from his snow plowing business.

I ask you to make my speaking and teaching entertaining, dynamic, and effective--
yet not my will, but yours, be done,
because my neighbors may be helped more by my perseverance or humility in failure.

In acute awareness of your great wisdom and love,
I ask you, "May your will be done," in me and for me...
and for my neighbors as well,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo courtesy of photoxpress.com)

Prepare Me For My Pathway

God, free me from my wickedness,
God, free me from my entrapment,
God, free me from every gully,
From every tortuous road,
From every slough.

God, open to me every pass,
Christ, open to me every narrow way,
Each soul of holy man and woman in heaven
Be preparing me for my pathway.

(ancient Celtic prayer, slightly revised)

(photo of Celtic cross from the the White Monastery in the village of Adare, County Limerick, Ireland, by Aaron Murphy via stock.xchng)

Kingdom Come

May your kingdom come,
may your rule be in effect
in my home,
my children's homes,
my grandchildren's playgrounds,
in the streets of our city,
the places we work,
the schools we attend.

I know my weaknesses, limitations, and habits,
and I know how tiny my power of conscious choice is.
Therefore, I ask that,
by means beyond my knowledge and the scope of my will,
I be assisted to act within the flow of God’s action.

I also pray over the dark deeds of others in the world around us all.
I see how they are trapped in what they themselves often disown and despise.
And I pray about the structural or institutionalized evils that rule so much of the earth,
for you to break up these higher-level patterns of evil,
and help me and mine not to cooperate with them,
but to cast light on them and act effectively to remove them,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on words written by Dallas Willard in The Divine Conspiracy, p. 260; photo by granada_turnier via everystockphoto.com)

The Modeh Ani

I give you thanks, living and eternal King, for you have returned my soul within me, with compassion. Great is your faithfulness.

Cradle Song

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Thank you for another day,
A chance to learn, a chance to play.

(from Leonard Sweet's The Well-Played Life, p. 129)

Monsoon Us

Lord God,
you are an eternal, unfailing fountain;
the more
you pour forth and overflow,
the more
you continue to give.
You desire
nothing more seriously
from us
than that we ask you for much
and great things.
So I ask, God my Fountain.
Monsoon us with your love and power,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on words of Martin Luther, by way of Ray Ortlund's blog; photo by Sukanto Debnath via everystockphoto.com)

A Prayer of Copernicus

I crave not the grace
bestowed on Paul,
Nor the remission
granted to Peter,
Only forgive me,
I fervently pray,
As thou forgave
the crucified thieves.

(from a note found in the pocket of Nicolas Copernicus at his death)

A Lenten Prayer

Lord, bring us close to your cross that we might know how you loved us and gave yourself for us.

We would keep Lent, Lord, in a way that is pleasing to you. As we follow you from the garden to Calvary, do not let us follow afar off, lest we deny you. Help us watch and pray with you that we may not fall into temptation.

Enlighten us that we may see by faith that you knelt in prayer for us, that you, the Holy One, were judged a criminal by unholy people for us, that you suffered the whiplashes of angry sinners as our sinless Savior, that you stumbled under the cross as our Suffering Servant, that you died as the Lamb of God in our stead and for our sake.

Lord Jesus, through it all help us hear in your prayer the single purpose for which you endured pain and death: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."


(from the Lutheran Book of Prayer)

Troubled Sphere

Lord, have mercy on this troubled sphere and its inhabitants, the work of your hands.

Thank you for the Syrian nuns who were released yesterday.
Deliver the thirty-three North Korean Christians who are scheduled for execution.
Have mercy on the loved ones of those who were on Flight 370, and please aid the search and rescue--please let any survivors be rescued.
Bring peace and healing to the people of Venezuela.
Bring peace and sanity to the people of Nigeria.
Bring peace and hope to the people of Ukraine.
Bring an end to Uganda's criminalization of homosexuality.
Bring release and return home to Pastor Saeed Abedini.
Bring fiscal sanity and responsibility to the governments of the world, including my own.
Restore respect for the Constitution and civil liberties to our nation's government.

All this I ask in the name of Jesus, Light of the World, amen.

A Prayer Before Preaching

O Creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with the loving knowledge of you, that I may bring your light to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries which you have revealed. Amen.

(a prayer of Thomas Aquinas)

Journey Prayer

Bless to me, O God,The earth beneath my foot.
Bless to me, O God,
The path whereon I go;
Bless to me, O God,
The thing of my desire;
Thou Evermore of evermore,
Bless Thou to me my rest.

Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my mind,
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my love;
Bless to me the thing
Whereon is set my hope;
O Thou King of kings,
Bless Thou to me mine eye!

As Thou wast before
At my life's beginning,
Be Thou so again
At my journey's end.
As Thou was besides
At my soul's shaping,
Father, be Thou too
At my journey's close.

Be with me at each time,
Lying down and arising,
Be with me in sleep,
Companioned by dear ones. Amen.

(an ancient Celtic prayer)

A Writer's Double Portion

Gracious God, who inspired faulty and feeble men in times past to write for the purpose of changing lives, please let some of that spirit--a double portion, even, as I am more faulty and feeble than they--rest on me as a writer.

Grant me the productivity of Moses, who though he lived in an age before paper or press is credited with "the books of Moses," revered as Torah by one generation after another.

Grant me David's lyricism and imagery evident in line after line of psalm after psalm, from "The Lord is my shepherd" to "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

Grant me Isaiah's facility with word and phrase, he who wrote "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace," and "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint."

Grant me Solomon's wisdom, Ezekiel's vision, Jeremiah's compulsion, and Daniel's spine.

Grant me Hosea's courage in telling my story, and in obeying and reflecting you in its every twist and turn.

Grant me the Gospel writers' recall. Luke's accuracy. Paul's intensity. James's practicality.

And grant, please, whenever my end approaches, whatever my final book or sentence may be, a finish like that of your servant John.

All this I am so bold to ask only through the merit of my Savior, Lord, and King, in whose name I ask it, amen.

An Ash Wednesday Prayer

Grant, Lord, that during this season of Lent, I may
fast from discontent and feast on gratitude;
fast from anger and feast on patience;
fast from bitterness and feast on forgiveness;
fast from self-concern and feast on compassion;
fast from discouragement and feast on hope;
fast from laziness and feast on commitment;
fast from complaining and feast on acceptance;
fast from lust and feast on respect;
fast from prejudice and feast on understanding;
fast from resentment and feast on reconciliation;
fast from lies and feast on the truth;
fast from wasted time and feast on honest work;
fast from grimness and feast on joy;
fast from suspicion and feast on trust;
fast from idle talk and feast on prayer and silence;
fast from guilt and feast on the mercy of God.

(based on lines attributed to William Arthur Ward)

For Those In Turmoil

Lord, I pray for those in turmoil in this world,
those whose governments have fractured,
who have been invaded,
who are suffering from aggression and upheaval.

I pray for the people of Ukraine,
that you will expel the invader
and cause righteousness to prevail
and a new government to form
that will secure their rights
and protect the common good.

I pray for the people of Ecuador,
that their voices may be heard,
that oppression may cease,
that human rights may be respected,
and that freedom may grow.

I pray for the people of Syria,
that their long suffering may be ended soon.
Let the war cease.
Let the hatred and horror cease.
Bring about hope and health,
reconciliation and restoration,
in that broken land.

I pray the same for those in other places,
whose struggles don't make the news,
whose nightmares are accepted as the norm by so many:
those in North Korea,
and Egypt,
and Central African Republic, Nigeria, Somalia,
and so many other, sad, places.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.


(photo of St. Michael's Church, Kiev, courtesy of everystockphoto.com)

Just a Clay Jar

help me to resign from the ranks of the “experts.”
Help me not to act like someone who has arrived.

Remind me constantly and repeatedly
of what I was when I was called:
not wise by human standards;
not influential;
not of noble birth.
But you chose this foolish thing,
as you choose so many foolish things of the world
to shame the wise;
you chose this weak thing to shame the strong.
You chose this fragile, earthen pot
to make it clear that all I have
and all I am
and all I do
is from you,
that the glory and honor may be yours.

Help me to be way too curious
and way too humble
and way too vulnerable to act like an expert on anything....
except maybe your incredible sense of humor in extending grace to me!

(based partly on 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 and 2 Corinthians 4:7; photo by hotblack, courtesy of morgueFile)

The Lorica for My Son

I bind to my son, who leaves for California today,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
Invoking the same,
The Three in One
and One in Three.

I plead for him forever
The power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river,
His death on the Cross for his salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I plead all for him today.

I invoke for him the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I ask for him today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s lifegiving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I beseech for him today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to his need.
The wisdom of his God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give him speech,
His heavenly host to be his guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar his course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I ask, in Jesus’ name, these powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect him, Christ, till your returning.

Christ be with him, Christ within him,
Christ behind him, Christ before him,
Christ beside him, Christ to win him,
Christ to comfort and restore him.
Christ beneath him, Christ above him,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love him,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I ask all this in the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.

(based on The Lorica, or Breastplate, of St. Patrick)