On Halloween

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

(traditional Scottish prayer)

For Things I Don't Possess

Thank you, good God,
for the things I don't possess:
fancy cars,
expensive clothes,
a boat,
a plane,
a jet ski,
a second mortgage,
a divorce settlement,
an alimony payment,
a bodyguard,
a fence around my property.

Thank you also, Lord,
for the things that don't possess ME:
drugs or alcohol,
guilt or shame,
a need to maintain a certain lifestyle
or a desire to keep up appearances.
Thank you that I am not afflicted
with wealth,
or beauty,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Jim Winstead via everystockphoto.com)

Saturday Psalm #32

How blessed I am, Lord,
that my sins are forgiven,
my wrongs blotted out.
How blessed I am
that you charge no sin to my account,
that I can be honest and exposed before you.
When I am not faithful in prayer to you,
I can feel my frame weaken,
every day, all day, is just a groan;
day and night
I feel a heaviness,
and my heart shrivels up
like day lilies in a heat wave.

I acknowledge my waywardness to you;
I can’t hide the fact that I’ve neglected my prayer chair.
I admit, 'I confess
my sinful neglect to you.’
And you, gracious as always, forgive me
and wipe the slate clean.

That is why it is such a delight to pray to you
at all times of the day and night—
when the waters rise,
they will not overwhelm your faithful ones.
You are my refuge,
my sentinel,
my singer and my song.

Instruct me, Lord, and teach me the way to go;
let me not take my eyes off you.

Let me not be like a horse or a mule;
that resists the bridle and bit;
but let me submit readily and willingly
to the slightest gesture or movement of my Master.

The wicked endure countless troubles,
but your unfailing love surrounds me as I trust in you, moment by moment.

I rejoice in you, Yahweh,
I exult in you;
I shout for joy with an open and upright heart.

(photo illustration via everystockphoto.com)

Another Day?

What? Another day
of life,
and trust?
Yes, please.

Pillowed Relief

Saturday Psalm #31

In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me not be ashamed;
deliver me because you are righteous.
Please listen carefully to me,
speed to my defense.
Be my rock of strength once again,
A fortress of safety.
I know you are my rock and my fortress;
I know you will lead me and guide me,
for that will glorify your name.
You will pull me from every trap that has secretly been laid for me,
for you are my strength.
Into Your hand I commit my spirit,
for you have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.

I detest the vain idols of this age,
for I trust in you, Lord.
I sing and dance with joy because of your lovingkindness,
because you see all of my problems,
and know all of my troubles,
and you have not let me get backed into a corner,
but have set me in a spacious, luxurious space.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, in times of stress,
when my spirits are low,
and my energy fades.
Ministry is filled with daily griefs,
and relief from sadness is only temporary.
The misery of others drains my strength,
and I tend to escape by eating everything in sight.
The Enemy of your people never sleeps,
and his pawns are always on the job,
working even through your servants, it seems.
Some see me and turn the other way.
Some ignore me as if I were dead,
as if I were a piece of furniture.
They believe—and spread—rumors about me,
and I often meet people who say they have heard of me,
and then seem to size me up,
as though wondering if I’m really
as bad as all that.

Even so, I trust in you, O Lord,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my Enemy
and from those who hate me.
Smile on your servant;
show me favor.
Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon you;
instead, let the unrepentant be put to shame,
and shut the mouths of those who spread lies.

How great is your generosity, Lord,
which you show to those who revere you,
those who find shelter in you
in the sight of a watching world.
You hide me in the secret place of your presence
where I am safe from all the lying conspiracies of men;
you cover me with your wings
and mute the sound of their lies.
I bless you, Lord,
for you have blessed me in spite of every attack.
Though at times, I admit,
I have felt abandoned by you,
I know you’ve always listened to my cries,
and heard every prayer I’ve prayed.

I love you, Lord,
when I am alone and when I am gathered with the faithful.
I know you preserve the faithful
and allow the arrogant to suffer what they deserve.
With your help, I will be strong and bold,
and hope in you, Lord.

Holy Mountain

Lord, bring me today to your holy mountain,
to Mount Zion,
to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem,
to God himself,
to Jesus,
the one who mediates the new covenant between God and people,
and to the sprinkled blood, which graciously forgives.

(based on Isaiah 66:20, Hebrews 12:22-24; painting: Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, by David Roberts in 1842, Library of Congress)

A Writer's Senryu

Here I am alone
But not alone; you are here.
Speak in the silence.


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.

For Their Peace

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

A Prayer for My Daughter on Her Birthday

Today is my favorite daughter's birthday, Lord,
and I still can't fathom,
can't even process,
that she is all she is.

How kindly and fully--
generously, in fact--
you have answered my prayers for her
and her mother's prayers for her.
You have made her faithful like Ruth and regal like Esther,  
fierce like Deborah and brilliant like Abigail,
industrious like Lydia and a leader like Junia.

I give you so much praise and thanks
for my only daughter,
my firstborn, my Blossom;
for the child you gave me,
the woman she is,
the love we share,
the pride and joy I feel in her,
the blessings you've given her,
and the blessings you've given me through her.

Please bless her abundantly today
and in all the days to come.
Keep her safe and well.
Keep her marriage strong and beautiful.
Prosper her and her husband,
answer their prayers,
supply their needs,
fulfill their dreams.

Let her children continue to grow in happiness, health, and holiness.
Let Calleigh's and Ryder's healing appear, soon, please.
Reward Aubrey's love and faithfulness and diligence as a mom
with beauty and grace, charm and wisdom,
health and wholeness, integrity and strength in her children
as you have done for me in mine.

Show her every kindness,
grant her your favor,
use her,
bless her,
hold her,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Unnecessary Things

O God, teach me how to dispense with unnecessary things.

(a prayer of Toyohiko Kagawa)

For Their Self-Esteem

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

For Your Perspective

Oh, Lord, I try,
I really do,
but I am tired of working so hard to see things
from someone else's perspective.
Give me your perspective,
and let all others
take a flying leap.

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

A Prayer of Girolamo Savonarola

I beg you, Lord, because of your own goodness:
Give light to my eyes; wound my heart with your love.
Steady my stride along your paths
So that my steps do not stray.
Free the captive, gather the scattered,
Sew up the torn, lift up the fallen.
Give me a heart that ponders you;
Give me a mind that dwells on you.
Give me an intellect that understands you.
Give me a reasoning that easily clings to you.
Give me a soul that loves you.
Give me a will that never parts from you.
Be near to my heart, near to my words.
Be near to my work, near to help.
Be near to me, for I am faint with love.
Be near to me, because without you I die.
Be near to me, because I am uplifted by the thought of you.
Your fragrance refreshes me;
Your memory heals me;
Your pleasant light renews my life;
Your gentle voice gives me delight.
Then will I be satisfied when your glory appears.

(from the October 8 reading in the newly released devotional, Godspeed: Voices of the Reformation, by David Teems)

Saturday Psalm #30

I praise you, Lord, for you rescue me.
You refuse to let my enemies get the best of me.
Lord God, I cry out to you for help,
and you heal me, body and soul.
You deliver me from the grave, O Lord.
You keep me from falling into the pit.

I sing to you, Lord, with all your saints!
I praise your holy name.
Your anger lasts an instant,
but your favor lasts a lifetime!
I suffer dark nights like anyone,
but then you bring a new dawn, time after time.

When things are going great,
I feel like nothing can stand in my way.
Your favor, O Lord, makes me feel secure.
But when you turn your face away from me, I am a mess.

I cry out to you, Lord.
I beg you for mercy, all over again.
I know you never tire,
but it’s hard to believe you’re not fed up with me.
If you gave up on me now, though,
I could never praise and glorify you any better than I do today!
So hear me, Lord, and have mercy on me.
Help me, O Lord.

You turn my worst moments into occasions for dancing.
You replace my prison garments with party garb,
so I will sing your praises as loud and long as I am able.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

(photo via everystockphoto.com)

For Grace to Hear and Keep Your Word

Lord, give your people grace to hear and keep your word that, after the example of your servant William Tyndale, we may not only profess your gospel but also be ready to suffer and die for it, to the honour of your name.

(from The Book of Common Prayer, Collect for October 6, quoted in the newly released devotional, Godspeed: Voices of the Reformation, by David Teems. Tyndale was martyred on October 6)

Which Nothing Finite Can Satisfy

For the power Thou hast given me to lay hold of things unseen:
For the strong sense I have that this is not my home:
For my restless heart which nothing finite can satisfy:
I give Thee thanks, O God.

For the invasion of my soul by Thy Holy Spirit:
For all human love and goodness that speak to me of Thee:
For the fullness of Thy glory outpoured in Jesus Christ:
I give Thee thanks, O God.

(a prayer of John Baillie, from the book A Diary of Private Prayer)