Mysterious Companionship

O Holy Spirit of God, abide with me;
inspire all my thoughts;
pervade my imagination;
suggest all my decisions;
order all my doings.

Be with me in my silence and in my speech,
in my haste and in my leisure,
in company and in solitude,
in the freshness of the morning and
in the weariness of the evening;
and give me grace at all times humbly to rejoice
in your mysterious companionship,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(a Prayer of John Baillie, revised slightly from A Diary of Private Prayer)

Place of Quiet Retreat

A Prayer on Memorial Day

In the quiet sanctuaries of our own hearts,
let each of us name and call on
the One whose power over us
is great and gentle,
firm and forgiving,
holy and healing…

You who created us,
who sustain us,
who call us to live in peace,
hear our prayer this day.

Hear our prayer for all who have died,
whose hearts and hopes are known to you alone…

Hear our prayer for those who put the welfare of others
ahead of their own
and give us hearts as generous as theirs…

Hear our prayer for those who gave their lives
in the service of others,
and accept the gift of their sacrifice…

Help us to shape and make a world
where we will lay down the arms of war
and turn our swords into ploughshares
for a harvest of justice and peace…

Comfort those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
and let your healing be the hope in our hearts...

Hear our prayer this day
and in your mercy answer us
in the name of all that is holy.


(from the Concord Pastor blog)

Saturday Psalm #99

You reign, LORD!


Exert your power and influence;
let the nations sit up and take notice.

You are enthroned between the cherubim;
shake the earth with your mighty moving.

You are great, LORD,
exalted over everything and everyone everywhere.

Let all people everywhere
come to praise your great and awesome name—
for you are holy.

You are King,
you are mighty,
you are just.
You always do what is right.

I exalt you, LORD God,
I bow before your throne
and make my back,
my heart,
my life your footstool.

You heard Moses and Aaron;
you chose them to be your servants,
and Samuel and David.
They called on you, LORD,
and you answered them.

You forgave them,
and showed them mercy,
though you punished their misdeeds.

Do so for me, too, Abba, Father,
do so for my family,
for my friends and neighbors.

I exalt you, LORD God,
I bow before your throne
and make my back,
my heart,
my life your footstool.


If My Lips

If my lips
could sing as many songs as there are waves in the sea;
if my tongue
could sing as many hymns as there are ocean billows;
if my mouth
filled the whole firmament with praise;
if my face
shone like the sun and moon together;
if my hands
were to hover in the sky like powerful eagles
and my feet
ran across mountains as swiftly as the deer,
all that would not be enough
to pay you fitting tribute,
O Lord my God.

(Jewish prayer; photo by Andrew-Art via

For Childlike Trust

please make me
like a child
who launches out
from the top
of a corkscrew slide,
trusting his unseen father
to be there when needed
to safely catch him
and pick him up,
in Jesus' name, amen.

So Rich and Free

Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul;
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole;
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.

(a prayer by Seth and Bessie Sykes)

Day of War

Lord, my God,
My salvation,
cover my head in the day of war;
shield me in the heat of battle.

(based on Psalm 140:7; photo by JackSellaire via

I Confess My Desire to Acquire

God, I confess my desire to acquire and repent of my consumerism. I confess that I sometimes believe that having more things will make me happier, more important, or more secure. Please teach me to be grateful for what I have instead of always wanting something new or something more. Teach me to defy the myth of more and set my mind and heart on eternal things instead of material things. Teach me to keep my life free from the love of money and possessions and be content with what I have, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(the prayer that closes chapter two, "The eBay Attitude," in my book, American Idols)

Saturday Psalm #98

Here's a new song to you, Lord:

You have done marvelous things;
you have conquered
with your right hand and your holy arm!

You have trumpeted your salvation
and bannered your righteousness
for all to hear and see!

You have written your love
and faithfulness to your people
on my heart
and in my heritage.

I will shout for joy to you, LORD,
I will loudly sing your praises!
I will make music to you with my lips
and tongue
and hands
and feet
and eyes
and smiles
and laughter
and gifts,
for you are my King.

Let the waves of the sea crash with your praise,
let everything in the sea sing to you,
the world, and all who live in it,
the rivers
and peaks
and lakes
and streams.

But let me join the chorus,
let me always be among them,
let me not hold back,
for you are righteous and fair,
you are glorious and awesome,

(photo by dhester via

A Certain Light That I Love

What is that love when I love you, my God?
It is a certain light that I love
and melody and fragrance and embrace
that I love when I love you--
a light, melody, fragrance, food,
embrace of the God-within,
where, for my soul,
that shines which space does not contain;
that sounds which time does not sweep away;
that is fragrant which the breeze does not dispel;
and that tastes sweet which, fed upon, is not diminished;
and that clings close which no satiety disparts--
that is what I love when I love you, my God.

(from The Confessions of St. Augustine, slightly reworded)

A Prayer for My Cluttered Soul

Father, my soul gets so cluttered:
old hopes,
broken dreams,
dusty determinations,
stored-up hurts and resentments,
good intentions waiting to be pulled out
at just the right time,
undone tasks,
unkempt thoughts,
unrepented sins.

Come to my heart, Lord God,
throw open the windows of my soul,
sweep through its dusty confines,
clean out its musty places,
go through, blow through, flow through,
clear it,
clean it,
rearrange it,
and make it your own,
like a bride moving into a bachelor pad,
in Jesus' name, amen.

You Are God All-Sufficient

With you
I can live
without other things,
for you
are God all-sufficient,
and the glory,
joy of the world
is a creaturely,
perishing thing
in comparison
with you.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers)

For My Wife on Mother's Day

Abba, Father,
I don't have to tell you how blessed I am
by the wife you've given to me,
and the kind of mother she has been--
and is--
to our children.

She walks in beauty, like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies
(to quote Byron).

She showers blessing, like August rain,
on every dry and needy place.

She denies herself, like the pelican of myth,
feeding her loved ones with her own lifeblood.

She fights with passion, like a badger,
to defend and protect her home and family.

What a gift she is to me and to this family.
Lift her up in our love,
encourage her with our gratitude,
and let her feel your favor
flowing through ours,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday Psalm #97

LORD, you reign, and we should all be glad!
Even those who are far from earth should be grateful
for your sovereign and loving reign.

You could swarm us with darkness, but you don't;
your rule exudes righteousness and justice.

You could send down fire to earth
and consume your foes on every side.
You could light up the world with lightning
and throw one catastrophe after another at us.
You could make the mountains melt like wax
and cause us to tremble in fear
before your unlimited power.

Yet the heavens declare your righteousness,
and we breathe in your mercies like the atmosphere.

Those who worship idols should be ashamed,
for there is no God like you.
Even the gods of man's imagination
are pale imitations.

We should all rejoice constantly
that YOU are the one in charge;
there should be universal gratitude
because of your judgments, O LORD.

For you, O LORD, are the Most High over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
Those who love you should say so,
and reject evil,
for you guard the lives of your faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

You shed light upon the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.

I rejoice in you, LORD,
you who make me righteous by the blood of the Lamb,
and praise your holy name.

Moon and Shadow

Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon. The crescent is very beautiful and perhaps that is all one like I am should or could see; but what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing.

I do not know you God because I am in the way. Please help me to push myself aside.

(from A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor; photo by NASA via

Your Temple

This is your Temple, Lord God.
This is your apse.
This is your transept.
This is your nave.
You have raised it.
You have furnished it.
You have lighted it.
I, your custodian, will sweep it
and do my best to keep it
so that it might bring glory to you,
this Temple, my body.

(photo via

Shaper and Ruler of All

Lord God Almighty, shaper and ruler of all creatures, we pray for Your great mercy, that You guide us better than we have done, toward You, and guide us to Your will, to the need of our soul, better than we can ourselves. And steady our mind towards Your will and to our soul’s need. And strengthen us against the temptations of the devil, and put far from us all lust, and every unrighteousness, and shield us against our foes, seen and unseen. And teach us to do Your will, that we may inwardly love You before all things, with a pure mind. For You are our maker and our redeemer, our help, our comfort, our trust, our hope; praise and glory be to You now, ever and ever, world without end. Amen.

(a prayer of Alfred the Great)

Saturday Psalm #96

Lord, I sing to you.
I sing a new song to you this morning.
I sing praises to your beautiful name;
I proclaim your salvation and your mercies,
as new as the sunrise.

I declare your glory to those around me,
I marvel at your deeds to all who will listen.
For your are great, LORD,
and unspeakably worthy of praise;
you are to be honored above all gods.
For all the gods we humans turn to
are mere idols,
while you, LORD, made the heavens.

Splendor and majesty are your servants,
strength and glory are your attendants.

I ascribe to you, LORD,
all the glory and strength
and honor and praise
my heart and mind and voice
can summon.

My offering I bring into your courts,
my sacrifice I make to you again today.

I worship you, LORD,
in all your splendor,
in all your holiness,
in all your fearsome, awesome majesty.

You reign.
This world you have made is firmly established,
it cannot be moved;
you will judge all its inhabitants justly.

The heavens sing to you,
the earth celebrates you;
the seas resound with your praise,
and should all their teeming multitudes
join the trees of the forest
and the flowers of the field
in song to you,
it would be inadequate.

Let me always be heard among them, though,
singing your worth to all who may hear,
my LORD,
my God,
my righteous judge.

(photo via


Shepherd of the Stars,
Whole galaxies form your royal train.
The countless host of heaven,
blazing suns,
mighty planets,
dappled moons,
comets, asteroids, vapors, black holes,
all follow after you like so many ducks behind their mother.

And yet, Lord, my immmense, mind-boggling, Star-Shepherd,
you condescend to me,
to sit with me,
whisper to me,
commune with me.
Such thoughts are too marvelous for me,
I cannot attain unto them!
But I praise you and thank you,
in Jesus' name, amen. 

Spare Us

Save us from these comforts.
Break us of our need for the familiar.
Spare us any joy that’s not of you,
And we will worship you.

(a Puritan prayer;
photo illustration via