God, I praise you for your immanence.
I praise you because you are above all;
you see and know and control all things,
including all the influences and instances of my life.

I praise you because you are beneath all things;
your presence and control extends
to the depths of the lakes and seas,
the innermost parts of the earth,
including the "hidden" reaches of my heart and soul.

I praise you because you dwell outside and beyond all;
you are not confined or hemmed in by space or time,
by this universe, nor even by my circumstances or

I praise you because you are in all,
filling all,
yet distinct from all created things,
and you are the source and supply
of all I am and have,

(photo courtesy of

For You

Not for some promised crown,
Nor for your kindness shown;
Not for the things you've done,
Nor even the victories won;
I love you, Lord, for you,
And not just what you do.

For a Broken Heart That Carries Home the Water of Grace

O Lord,
I have a wild heart
And cannot stand before thee;
I am like a bird before a man.
How little I love thy truth and ways!
I neglect prayer,
By thinking I have prayed enough and earnestly,
By knowing thou hast saved my soul.

Of all hypocrites,
grant that I may not be an evangelical hypocrite,
Who sins more safely because grace abounds,
Who tells his lusts that Christ’s blood cleanseth them,
Who reasons that God cannot cast him into hell,
for his is saved,
Who loves evangelical preaching, churches, Christians,
but lives Unholily.

My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
With no spiritual understanding,
No desire for the Lord’s Day,
Ever learning but never reaching the truth,
Always at the gospel-well but never holding water.
My conscience is without conviction or contrition,
With nothing to repent of.
My will is without power of decision or resolution.
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
So I forget so easily the lessons learned,
And thy truths seep away.

Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.

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

A Prayer Before Preaching

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.

On My Father's Ninety-Fourth Birthday

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

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

Today, he turns ninety-four.
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 that though his memory fails,
his happiness doesn't.
Thank you that he still knows me (most of the time)
and his other sons (more or less).
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,
chocolate ice cream,
and peace,
in Jesus' name, amen.

For a Welcome Report

I cried out to you, Lord. I called to you for help, and you answered me.

Thank you for last Friday's news that the child my daughter carries does not have cystic fibrosis. Thank you for the relief we all feel, the gratitude, and the hope of a lighter load and more manageable future for our family.

Thank you that this child's infancy will not be as replete with doctor and hospital visits, measurements and adjustments, medicines and treatments as her older siblings'. Thank you that this baby girl's challenges and frustrations will not include the issues occasioned by CF.

Make her like a tree on a riverbank, with deep, deep roots and strong branches, green leaves and abundant fruit. Let her life make this family and this world a better place, in Jesus' name, amen.

Another Variation on Mechtid of Magdeburg

O most sublime,
O most gracious,
O first thinker,
O first speaker,
O from everlasting to everlasting,
O mighty defender,
O strength giver,
O lover of souls,
O captain of hosts,
O kinsman redeemer,
O hearer of prayers,
O gentle shepherd,
O twister of oaks,
O lifter of my head,
O lily of the valley,
O rose of sharon,
O king of angels,
O great and awesome,
O suffering servant,
O willing sacrifice,
O name above all names,
the humblest you created
sings your praise,

(suggested by a prayer of Mechtid of Magdeburg)

A Variation on Mechtid of Magdeburg

O creator of all,
O ancient of days,
O garden walker,
O night wrestler,
O consuming fire,
O sea splitter,
O mountain thunderer,
O gentle whisperer,
O song giver,
O holiest in the height,
O water walker,
O heart healer,
O dead raiser,
O sin forgiver,
O beauty beyond description,
O glory of the humble,
O strength of the weak,
O hope of the hopeless and Father of the fatherless,
O coming King,
the humblest you created
sings your praise,

(suggested by a prayer of Mechtid of Magdeburg)

Praise to the Highest from the Lowest

O burning mountain,
O chosen sun,
O perfect moon,
O fathomless well,
O unattainable height,
O clearness beyond measure,
O wisdom without end,
O mercy without limit,
O strength beyond resistance,
O crown of all majesty,
the humblest you created
sings your praise,

(a prayer of Mechtid of Magdeburg)

A Prayer of William Penn

Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand.

(a prayer of William Penn, by way of Leonard Sweet's Twitter feed)

To the Risen Christ

You are risen, Lord Jesus!
You are risen from the dead!
You are risen indeed!

You died.
You have risen.
You will come again.

I praise you, Risen One!
I praise you, Conqueror of Death!
I praise you, Banisher of Darkness!

I bow before you.
I kneel at your feet.
I prostrate myself,
My Lord and my God!
The First and the Last!
The Alpha and Omega!
The One who is, who was, and is to come!


Silent Saturday Prayer

Rest you well, beloved Jesus, 
Caesar’s Lord and Israel’s King, 
In the brooding of the Spirit, 
In the darkness of the spring.

(N. T. Wright, from The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is)

The Marks of Thy Cross

Where are the marks, the marks of Thy anointing?
Savior reveal, how am I joined with Thee?
Have I embraced the cross of Thy appointing,
Thy Cross constrained a true response in me?
Spare not the truth, I spurn all shallow seeming;
Where are the proofs of Thy dying in me?
As I am Thine by my pure love to Thee.
Henceforth, for Thee inured to gain or loss,
Let me be known by the marks of Thy Cross.

Thy brow was torn, but mine has known no bleeding;
Thy hands were nailed, but mine are whole and free.
Thy cheek has burned beneath the traitor's greeting;
Have I endured the lonely way for Thee?
Thy tears fell down upon a world's transgression;
When have I wept for the souls that love not Thee?
It was Thy heart that filled Thee with compassion;
Oh, may that heart renew Thy life in me!
Henceforth, for Thee inured to gain or loss,
Let me be known by the marks of Thy Cross.

(a prayer of Albert Orsborn)

Maundy Thursday Prayer

not my feet
but also
my hands
my head.
my heart.
my mind.
my life.

(based on John 13:9).

Solomon in All His Glory

my bones are aching and my hair is awful gray,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have the health and comfort I enjoy.

And the one wife I have (compared to his 700 wives) is more than I can handle,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have the lovely Robin to call his own, his one, his only.

And these children and grandchildren of mine--
Solomon in all his glory
could not have been happier or prouder or fuller than me.

And this home is no palace, for sure,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have his needs met, his comfort regulated, like this.

And I don't have all the books I'd like to have,
nor the time I'd love to read them,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have access to the volumes of truth and beauty I have at my fingertips.

And, sure, I have to carefully watch what I eat for the sake of my health and my weight,
but Solomon in all his glory
didn't have fruit year-round, BBQ ribs, and coffee every morning.

And most of all, of course, though I am a fitful follower and a poor servant,
yet Solomon in all his glory
didn't know what it is to be rescued from the domain of darkness,
transferred to the kingdom of God's beloved Son,
in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

So thank you, Lord,
thank you,
that Solomon in all his glory
was not blessed like this.

Writer's Senses

Gracious God,
thank you for the smell of pencil shavings,
the elegance of a good fountain pen,
the click-clack of ancient typewriter keys...
for the intoxication of creative juices,
the sweetness of a well-turned phrase...
for the creak of the office chair,
and the surprise of a catch in the throat
and the salty track of a tear on the cheek...
for the hum of a computer,
for the thrum of a printer,
for the agony of the blank page,
the ecstasy of the last line,
the terror of hitting "send"
and the fragrance of fresh ink on crisp new pages.
Thank you, Lord, for these gifts and graces,
and for the many others I am too dull to sense,
in Jesus' name, amen.

A Passover Prayer

Long ago,
at this season,
on such a night as this,
your people, Lord,
set out on a journey.

All but crushed
by their enslavement,
they yet recalled
the far-off memory
of a happier past
and heard the voice
of their God,
bidding them
to summon the courage to be free.

Boldly, they went forth from Egypt,
crossed the Sea,
and headed through the desert for the Promised Land.

What they experienced, they remembered, and told their children, and they to theirs.

From generation to generation,
the story was retold,
and we are here to tell it yet again.

We too give thanks for Israel's liberation
and in doing so we too remember what it means to be a slave.

And so we pray for all who are still fettered,
still denied their human rights.
Let all God's children sit at your table,
drink the wine of deliverance,
and eat the bread of freedom:

Freedom from bondage
And freedom from oppression,

Freedom from hunger
And freedom from want,

Freedom from hatred
And freedom from fear,

Freedom to think
And freedom to speak,

Freedom to learn
And freedom to love,

Freedom to hope
And freedom to rejoice;

Soon in our days,


For the People of Kansas City

Author of life,
Man has turned violent,
Cutting down young and old
In Kansas City,
Grandparents and grandchildren,
Our brothers and sisters,
Crushing lives,
Upending dreams,
Attacking love with hatred.

Source and Creator,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To the victims of murder in Kansas City
Whose lives were cut off by violence,
An act of witless aggression
And calculated anti-Semitism.
Remember the survivors of this horror,
And the victims of any violence, suffering or despair.
Grant them shelter and solace,
Comfort and consolation,
Blessing and renewal.
Grant them endurance to survive,
Strength to rebuild,
Faith to mourn,
Courage to heal,
And devotion to each other.

Heavenly Guide,
Hand of love and shelter,
Put an end to anger and hatred,
Bigotry and fear,
And lead us to a time when no one
Suffers at the hand of another.
For the sake of the Jewish people,
For the sake of all people,
And for the sake of Your Holy Name,
Let the community of all faiths rally
In Your Holy Name.
Grant the people of Kansas City Your protection,
Your wholeness and healing,
And Your peace.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Livin' the Dream

Prayer of a Depressed Person

I have fallen into blackness,
A hole,
A cave without light.
How deep is this pain?
This loneliness?
This suffering and isolation?

G-d of Old,
I call out to You
From the depths of confusion and fear.
What balm will ease my suffering?
What consolation will guide me?
I am afraid and ashamed.
I am sad and lost.

G-d of healing,
Be the light that guides me
Back to myself,
Back to my joy,
Back to my holiness and wonder.
Help me to stop committing acts of violence against myself
With [self-abuse][anger][shame][food][a blade][alcohol][drugs][sex].
I know Your healing power,
Your salvation and grace.
Lead me on a journey
Back to wholeness and to self-respect.
Help me to live a life of happiness and love.

(© 2014 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved; photo courtesy of skaletto via stock.xchng)

A Prayer of St. Ignatius

Teach us, good Lord,
To serve you as you deserve;
To give and not count the cost;
To fight and not heed the wounds;
To toil and not seek for rest;
To labor and not ask for any reward.
Save that of knowing that we do your will.

(a prayer of St. Ignatius, updated slightly; photo courtesy of maveric2003 via

After Emily Dickinson

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Arose to do what mornings do.
And so may I, my King.

(after Emily Dickinson;
the first two lines are from her poem,
"The Sun Just Touched the Morning")

When My Time Comes

Lord I want to die
in my sleep
I want to go to bed
and be awakened
by you
Get up son
it's the first day of school
the beginning of your new job
the dawn of eternity.
Here are your clothes.
Your older brother
wore them first
now they're yours
white and fresh and clean
smelling of heaven.

(from Joseph Bayly's Psalms of My Life, p. 32)

Prayer for a Day of Teaching

Let my teaching rain;
let my speech
settle like dew.

Let my words
fall like rain on tender grass,
like gentle showers
on young plants.

(Deuteronomy 32:2, NLT)

My Birthday Prayer

Long have I loved you,
But not nearly as much
As your great love deserves.
Each day I have left
Let me love and serve you
With more passion and zeal
Than the 20,000 plus
that have gone before.

Lay Down

Lord, I lay myself down,
on this page,
in these words,
and dreams.

As you laid down your life
and raised it up again,
make something living
of my simple,


(photo courtesy of Helen Humphrey via stock.chng)


Lord God Almighty, I spend too much; I confess it. I spend wrongly; I confess it. I limit my ability to be generous by planning poorly and spending and owning far more than need requires; I confess it.

I pray for economy in my life.
I ask you for self discipline in this area.
I plead for help in reining in my household's expenses.

Teach me how to earn more, save more, give more...and spend less, consume less, and waste less, in Jesus' name, amen.

A Prayer on April 1

A fool though I am, Lord,
let me not be like the fool
whose thoughts are wicked,
who flirts with temptation,
who "goes along to get along."
Make me instead a man
who loves your Word
and dwells in your presence.
Make me like a tree,
planted by a flowing stream,
bearing fruit season after season,
never withering,
always prospering,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on Psalm 1:1-3)