A Summer Te Deum

Glory be to God...
for clear blue skies and sunny days
for fresh green grass and leafy trees
for vivid purple flowers and well-tended gardens
for fluffy white clouds and gentle breezes
for bright red buses and busy streets

Glory be to God...
for people stepping out with sandaled feet
for children playing games with delighted squeals
for picnics and street parties
for street traders and market stalls
for long days and short nights
for open-topped buses and open-necked shirts.

Glory be to God...
for seasons
for summer
for sunshine

(a prayer by Chick Yuill)


I do nothing, I give you
nothing. Yet you hold me

minute by minute
from falling.
Lord, You provide.

(excerpt from "Psalm Fragments (Schnittke String Trio)," by Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire, p. 23).

Highest Good of the Reasonable Creature

God, You are the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of You is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.

To go to heaven fully to enjoy You is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here.

Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of You is the substance.

These are but scattered beams, but You are the sun.

These are but streams, but You are the fountain.

These are but drops, but You are the ocean.


(from God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson, by way of the Daily Prayer blog)

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A Prayer for Renewal

Dear God,
How often I am disappointed with myself. I have such high hopes and good intentions, but inevitably I find myself weary and burned out with self-defeat, the burdens of everyday living, or the consequences of bad choices and sinful actions. The messiness of life can leave me feeling exhausted--not only physically but also in my very soul. If only I could start over. Isn't this the place where renewal begins? Your compassion and my ready heart meet to bring about change. When the two are put together, I find a new beginning where my soul is refreshed and my life revived. You make it clear that you will restore any heart that seeks a new start. I sincerely desire to turn to you and turn away from what has been bringing me down. I ask you to forgive my sin, which poisons everything I do. Thank you that I am never beyond the reach of your forgiveness as long as I desire it. My heart is truly ready to change. Please renew my life with the change that only your Spirit can bring.

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

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Old Prayer, Old Tune, New Combination

'Mid all the traffic of the ways,
Turmoils without, within,
Make in thy heart a quiet place,
And come and dwell therein

A little shrine of quietness,
All sacred to Thyself,
Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,
And I may find myself.

Come, occupy my silent place,
And make thy dwelling there!
More grace is wrought in quietness
Than any is aware.

(a prayer by John Oxenham; please feel free to share this prayer with others using the Twitter, Facebook, and other buttons below. You can also subscribe to this blog in your blog reader or enter your email address at top right to receive posts via email)

No Idea Where I Am Going

(a prayer of Thomas Merton, read by Father Matt Kelty, a monk (and, at the time, chaplain) at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Merton lived and where I take my annual prayer retreat this weekend)

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A Prayer While On Prayer Retreat

I am your servant
And I am listening;
Speak to me Lord, speak to me.
I need your wisdom
And truth and comfort;
Speak to me Lord, speak to me.

Speak to me,
Speak to me,
Through your word,
Through your Spirit,
Speak your words of life.
Speak to me,
Speak to me,
I am listening,
I am waiting,
Speak to me.

I am your servant
And I am listening;
Speak to me Lord, speak to me.
My heart is silent,
My soul is longing,
Speak to me Lord, speak to me.

(a prayer of Tommy Walker)


Lord, forgive the many times in my life when I have failed to be kind:
to the different kid at school,
the new kid at camp,
the girl I should have treated better,
the classmate I barely noticed,
the coworker I mostly ignored,
the traveler I neglected, and more.
I've been given so many opportunities to be kind, and have so seldom made the most of them.
I am sorry. I am truly sorry.
Please forgive me.

A Knightly Prayer

My Lord, I stand ready on the threshold of this new day,
to go forth, armed with thy power,
seeking adventure on the high road,
to right wrong,
to overcome evil,
to suffer wounds and endure pain if need be,
but in all things,
to serve thee bravely, faithfully, joyfully,
that at the end of the day’s labor,
kneeling for thy blessing,
thou mayest find no blot upon my shield.

This I ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who livest and reignest with God the Father, in union with the Holy Ghost, for all ages of ages. Amen.

(a prayer reportedly said often by medieval knights; photo via everystockphoto.com)

May I Never Dally With the World

O Lover to the Uttermost,

May I read the meltings of thy heart to me
in the manger of thy birth,
in the garden of thy agony,
in the cross of thy suffering,
in the tomb of thy resurrection,
in the heaven of thy intercession.

Bold in this thought I defy my adversary,
tread down his temptations,
resist his schemings,
renounce the world,
am valiant for truth.

Deepen in me a sense of my holy relationship to thee,
as spiritual Bridegroom,
as Jehovah's Fellow,
as sinners' Friend.

I think of thy glory and my vileness,
thy majesty and my meanness,
thy beauty and my deformity,
thy purity and my filth,
thy righteousness and my iniquity.

Thou hast loved me everlastingly, unchangeably,
may I love thee as I am loved;
Thou hast given thyself for me,
may I give myself to thee;
Thou hast died for me,
may I live to thee,
in every moment of my time,
in every movement of my mind,
in every pulse of my heart.

May I never dally with the world and its allurements,
but walk by thy side,
listen to thy voice,
be clothed with thy graces,
and adorned with thy righteousness.

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

For the Virtue of Humility

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad, available exclusively via iTunes.

Quietness, Confidence

Lord God Adonai,
you said,

"In quietness and confidence
is your strength"
(Isaiah 30:15, NLT).

Make it so in me.
Help me
to prove it to be true,
in Jesus' name,

For Saeed, Amir, Jason, Robert

Lord, have mercy on Saeed Abedini.
Lord, have mercy on Amir Hekmati.
Lord, have mercy on Jason Rezaian.
Lord, have mercy on Robert Levinson.

Please comfort them,
now that President Obama's agreement with Iran
has been finalized and announced
without mentioning their suffering,
without insisting on their release.

Forgive us, Lord,
for letting them languish.
Forgive us for placing faith in the regime
that holds these men.
Forgive us for celebrating in press conferences and official statements
without remembering their suffering.

Make us better than that.
Make us wiser than that.
Make us faithful
to love and advocate for them.
Save us from trading their freedom
for "peace, peace" (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11).

Release the captives.
Bring them home.
Save them.
Save us.

I Have It All

What more could I ask?
I have it all.
the wife of my dreams,
children to make me proud,
grandchildren who've stolen my heart,
a home,
a church,
a vocation,
a lawn to mow,
a car to drive,
a book to read,
much to learn,
and your presence and grace in it all.
Thank you.

At the Hour of Prayer

Lord of my life, whose tender care
Has led me on till now,
Here lowly at the hour of prayer
Before your throne I bow;
I bless your gracious hand, and pray
Forgiveness for another day.

Oh, may I daily, hourly, strive
In heavenly grace to grow;
To you and to your glory live,
Dead to all else below;
Tread in the path my Savior trod,
Though thorny, yet the path to God.

With prayer my humble praise I bring
For mercies day by day;
Lord! teach my heart your love to sing,
Lord! teach me how to pray;
And all I am, and all I own,
Entrust to you alone.

(an anonymous hymn, slightly updated and revised)

On My Wife's Birthday

Lord God, I can't begin to say
all you have done for me
in giving to me
the loveliest bride,
the perfect woman,
the best friend
I could ever have asked or hoped for.

Thank you
for hearing my heart's cry 41 years ago
and thank you
for giving her in marriage to me 38 years ago.
And thank you
for every day with her since then,
days that could not have been
so wonderful,
so beautiful,
so warm and loving,
without her,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Tchaikovsky's Hymn of the Cherubim

English translation:
[We], who mystically represent the cherubim and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, let us now lay aside all earthly cares so that we may receive the King of All, who is invisibly borne aloft by the angelic orders, Alleluia.


Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus.
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others.

(a prayer of Mother Teresa from the video Everyone, Everywhere, via the Daily Prayer blog)

For This Deliverance From Evil

God, thank you for this good news
of Belgium helping more than 200 Christians
escape war and atrocities in Aleppo, Syria,
and find asylum in Belgium.

Thank you for all those who participated and cooperated
in making this happen.
May their tribe increase,
including especially the interest
and concern
and action
of my nation,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo of the Citadel in Aleppo via everystockphoto.com)

A Rich Man's Poor Prayer

Lord God, you have made me rich
in so many ways.
Thank you.

Today, I pray for your kind assistance
and abundant deliverance
in my family finances.

Please save me and mine
from debt
and waste
and greed
and any loss or setback
that you have not designed and ordained.

Please provide,
please restore,
please bless,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

For My Kids and Grandkids

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad:

For a Lost Book

If you would be so kind,
I am of a mind
to say:
Can you help me find
what I left behind
a dear book, unsigned,
but much underlined,
s'te plaƮt?

(a lai, a French form of poetry;
photo via everystockphoto.com)


Whatever barrenness or blandness may surround me, 
let me bloom. 

On This Nation's Birthday

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 239th birthday of this nation,
these wonderful United States of America
in which I live.

I thank you for the freedom
to worship you publicly...
even as I ask you
to show kindness and mercy
to those who lack that freedom
because they live elsewhere.

Thank you for all those
who have sacrificed for my freedom,
for those who risked
(and some who gave) their lives
to make this a free and independent nation,
for those in my nation's armed services, past and present,
and for all who have served the cause of liberty in other ways...
even as I pray for those who even now
are in harm's way,
far from home,
in this nation's service.
Please meet their needs,
watch over them and their loved ones,
and grant them your favor in every way.

And, Father, on this Independence Day,
I pray for the people in this land
and every land
who have not yet discovered the freedom
that is offered to them in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Draw them to you,
set them free
from sin and sadness and strife,
and grant them the eternal freedom
that is found only in trusting you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo art by Beverly Pack, courtesy of everystockphoto.com)

The Thief's Prayer

Lord, remember me.
Remember me when you feel like blessing someone.
Remember me when you're handing out strength for the day,
rest for the night,
hope for tomorrow.
Remember me when I forget you are near.
Remember me when the crowd presses in on me.
Remember me when others find fault,
and demand what I cannot give.
Remember when I'm stricken with fear,
and peace eludes me,
and I forget that you are in control.
Remember me, too, when cloudy skies clear,
and all seems well with the world.
Remember me, Lord.
Remember me, in Jesus' name, amen.

Against Church Burnings

Lord, have mercy
on my brothers and sisters
at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church
and others whose places of worship have been set afire.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy
on those who have watched their dreams and memories
go up in smoke
because of others' hatred and bigotry.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy on those who fight the fires
and clean up the sites.
Protect and preserve them
as they work.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy
on any who have been injured or sickened or frightened
by the fires.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.
Bring to justice those who have set the fires.
Restore and even multiply the vitality of the affected congregations.
And deliver us from evil.
Lord, have mercy.

Venus and Jupiter

Ah, Lord God,
you who made the Pleiades and Orion,
you who turns deep darkness into the morning,
you who darkens the day into night
and places the planets in orbits
and rides on clouds
and splits the sky with lightning,
your glory shines tonight
in Venus and Jupiter,
from 162 million miles away
and 365 million miles away,
all the way to my little piece
of this little corner
of this little world.

(lines 2-4 drawn from Amos 5:8; photo by Nancie Carmichael)

Against Forgetfulness of My Need

I so easily forget my need of you.
I so easily and regularly
lapse into thinking
I can "live for a length of time
without fellowship with the Lord Himself"
(Murray, The Prayer Life, p. 138).
Please cleanse me of this hidden fault,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Peter Baxter, via photoxpress.com)