Saturday Psalm #121

I look up, I look around,
I look all over for help.
Then I remember: my help comes from you, LORD,
the One who made heaven and earth.
I don't know why I ever look to anything
or anyone else.
You hold onto me.
You never take your eyes off me.
You're never surprised,
never confused,
never overwhelmed.

You are always alert
and always there for me,
my Watcher,
my Keeper,
my Shelter,
my Shade.

You will keep me from all harm—
you will watch over my life;
you will watch over my coming and going
both now and forevermore.
(The illustration is a painting by William Brody; can be purchased at

My Little Vessel is as Full as it Can Be

O My God,
Thou fairest, greatest,
first of all objects,
my heart admires,
loves thee,
for my little vessel
is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out
all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, for sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God,
through time and eternity.

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

Your Sovereign Bounty

My Maker and my King,
To you my all I owe;
Your sovereign bounty
is the spring
Whence all my blessings flow.

The creature of your hand,
On you alone I live;
My God, your benefits demand
More praise than I can give.

Lord, what can I impart
When all is yours before?
Your love demands a thankful heart;
My gift, alas! how poor.

O! let your grace inspire,
My heartfelt thanks outpour;
Let every word and each desire
And all my days be yours.

(A prayer by hymnwriter Anne Steele, slightly updated; 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)

Before a Feast

For you, who fed the hungry,
May we so break our bread
In constant, costly giving
That others may be fed. 

(by Lillian Cox)

Steer the Ship of My Life

Steer the ship of my life, good Lord,
to your quiet harbor,
where I can be safe
from the storms of sin and conflict.
Show me the course I should take.
Renew in me the gift of discernment,
so that I can always see
the right direction in which I should go.
And give me the strength and the courage
to choose the right course,
even when the sea is rough and the waves are high,
knowing that through enduring hardship and danger,
in your name we shall find comfort and peace. Amen.

(a prayer of Basil of Caesarea; photo by Willa Patterson)

For Blessings My Forebears Couldn't Conceive

Lord God, thank you for so many blessings my forebears would have considered unimaginable, even miraculous: My fresh-ground coffee was ready when I got out of bed. I'll have cold and hot water any time I want it today. I won’t have to leave the house to use the toilet, pay my bills, or do my work. I can get ice at the touch of a button. I can choose from a wide variety of things to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can keep abreast of the news without buying or picking up a newspaper, will have ample light in every room this evening, and a nearly unlimited choice of books to read.


Saturday Psalm #120

I call on you, LORD, in my distress,
and you answer me.
You don't always share my sense of urgency,
but you do answer.

Save me, O LORD, from lying lips
and from deceitful tongues,
even as you grant me mercy
and compassion
toward those who slit their own throats
and shoot themselves in the foot
by their own duplicity.

They deprive and destroy themselves
even as they damage others.

Too long have I lived
among those who hate peace.

By your grace, I am a man of peace;
by your grace, help me share shalom with others.


Lord, help me not take for granted
the simplest of gifts and blessings...

Make me grateful for the everyday, the commonplace,
what's right at hand, always there and at my fingertips...

Help me see what I often miss:
the gift of life itself and the blessing of your love...

(from A Concord Pastor Comments)

Line of Fire

Lord, these days it seems that the whole world is in convulsions. You know the issues, you know why so many in Hong Kong, Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq have taken to the streets to call for change, for basic necessities, for freedoms that I take for granted. Lord, please have mercy. Save men, women, and children from persecution and oppression, from injury, imprisonment, and death. Supply the miracle it will take for people in those places (and others) to bring about real and lasting change. Let wisdom prevail. Let peace win. Let freedom prevail. In Jesus' name, amen.

In a Time of Turmoil

Lord God, you know the situation.
Please grant peace to those whose hearts and minds
are in turmoil.
Clear a path and send abundant provision.
Care for all those affected by these changes,
and let your wisdom and attentive loving care rule and reign over all, in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo via

Saturday Psalm #119 (Pt. 7)


Jesus, I call with all my heart; answer me, and
joyfully I will do all you say.
Just as I am, I cry out to you;
just as I am, save me and I will give you glory.

Jesus, I will turn to you first thing in the morning;
just walk with me through the day, and all fear will fade.

Join my vigil, as I keep eyes open through the watches of the night;
join my heart to yours as I meditate on your promises.

Jesus, hear my voice;
Jesus, preserve my life;
Jesus, keep me close.


Rock, Redeemer, Righteous One, look upon my suffering and deliver me.
Redeem me and vindicate me;
rescue my life as you have promised.

Rake my Enemy over the coals;
rebuke him and make him flee.

Reward me with your compassion, O LORD;
regard my life and
renew me.

Rally my energy against all my foes, and
restore me to a place of joy and contentment.

Righteous and true are all your words;
righteous and loving are all your commands.

Sin and Shin

Savior, show me your kindness and I will be satisfied;
stand for me, for I stand on your Word.
Such joy your Word gives me.

Strike all hate and falsehood from my heart,
show me your grace and your kindness.

Seven times a day I praise you;
should be seventy.

Send your shalom on me,
save me from stumbling.

Send your salvation, O LORD,
steer me in the way of your commands.

Strong Tower, I will run in the way of your statutes, and
stand on your Word.


To you I lift my voice, O LORD;
train me in your word.
Turn your ear to my requests;
to you I will cling.

The song of my heart sings your praise,
teach me your decrees.
Teach me to turn to you before all earthly help.
Teach me to rely on your help.
Teach me to delight in your law.
Teach me to draw nourishment from your Word.

Touch me today, that I may praise you;
tell me where to go and what to say.

Blessèd Lord, in You is Refuge

Blessèd Lord, in you is refuge,
Safety for my trembling soul;
Pow’r to lift my head when drooping
’Midst the angry billows’ roll.
I will trust you;
All my life you shall control.

In the past too unbelieving
’Midst the tempest I have been,
And my heart has slowly trusted
What my eyes have never seen.
Blessèd Jesus,
Teach me on your arm to lean.

Give me trust that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near;
Grant me faith that changes fighting
Into vict’ry’s ringing cheer!
Faith triumphant,
Knowing not defeat nor fear,

(a prayer of Herbert Booth, slightly revised; photo via

Te Deum

I'm alive!
Praise belongs to you,
Lord God Adonai.

I am conscious.
Praise belongs to you.

I can breathe.
Praise belongs to you.

I can see.
Praise belongs to you.

I can hear.
Praise belongs to you.

I can speak.
Praise belongs to you.

I can smell.
Praise belongs to you.

I can taste.
Praise belongs to you.

I can walk.
Praise belongs to you.

I can type.
Praise belongs to you.

I can love.
Praise belongs to you.

I can trust.
Praise belongs to you.

I can sleep.
Praise belongs to you.

I can sing.
Praise belongs to you.

I can smile.
Praise belongs to you.

I can focus my thoughts.
Praise belongs to you.

I can swallow.
Praise belongs to you.

I can tie my own shoes.
Praise belongs to you.

I can read.
Praise belongs to you.

I can work.
Praise belongs to you.

I can bend my limbs without pain.
Praise belongs to you.

I can pay my bills.
Praise belongs to you.

I can kiss my wife and kids and grandkids.
Praise belongs to you.

I can shout.
Praise belongs to you.

I can sit.
Praise belongs to you.

I can think.
Praise belongs to you.

I can write.
Praise belongs to you.

I can wink.
Praise belongs to you.

I can drive.
Praise belongs to you.

I can pray.
Praise belongs to you.

I can learn.
Praise belongs to you.

I can hope.
Praise belongs to you.

I can persevere.
Praise belongs to you.

Praise to you, O Lord God, King of the Universe.

Purity of Heart

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

Rest and Rule

let your Spirit,
who rested on Jesus the Branch—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord—
rest on me and rule in my life today,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on Isaiah 11:1-2)

Never to Lose Sight

O God of Grace,

You have imputed my sin to my substitute, and have imputed his righteousness to my soul, clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe, decking me with jewels of holiness. But in my Christian walk I am still in rags; my best prayers are stained with sin; my penitential tears are so much impurity; my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin; my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be washed; I have no robe to bring to cover my sins, no loom to weave my own righteousness; I am always standing clothed in filthy garments, and by grace am always receiving change of raiment, for you always justify the ungodly; I am always going into the far country, and always returning home as a prodigal, always saying, “Father, forgive me,” and you are always bringing forth the best robe.

Every morning let me wear it, every evening return in it, go out to the day’s work in it, be married in it, be wound in death in it, stand before the great white throne in it, enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

Grant me never to lose sight of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the exceeding righteousness of salvation, the exceeding glory of Christ, the exceeding beauty of holiness, the exceeding wonder of grace.

(from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett; photo via

Saturday Psalm #119 (Pt. 6)


Wise and gracious God,
watch over me and envelop me in your care.
Ward off all evil and keep me safe.

Where are you? I look for your salvation,
watching until my eyes
wear out.

Wake me with your your love and
walk with me through each day.

Work your will in me.
With your Word, I can be wise.
With your help, I can be strong.
With your guidance, I can be effective.

What is gold to me? It is nothing,
while your Word is everything.

Work your will in me.


Papa, Abba, Father, your statutes are wonderful,
pointing my feet in the ways of righteousness.

Print your words on my heart;
please emblazon them on my mind.

Pour your Word into my mouth and let it flow from me like a river;
put me where I can tell of your marvelous works.

Please turn to me and have mercy on me;
Papa, you are always kind to those who love your name.

Purge me from sin and
purify my heart and life more and more each passing day.

Please free me from the need for man's approval.
Point your smiling face upon your servant.
Plow up the fallow ground of my heart.
Plant the seeds of righteousness in me.
Produce a bumper crop of holiness in me.


Creator God, you are awesome in all your ways;
command me and I will obey.

Create in me a heart that runs in the way of your commands,
clinging to your Word like a lover and a lifeline.

Craft me into a worthy vessel,
cleanse me and
change me.

Call, and I will answer.
Carve your words on my heart.
Channel my life wherever you choose.

Captain of my salvation, your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.
Creator of all, your statutes are forever right;
close your wings around me and hide me there. Amen.

Just Scratching the Surface

God, I thank you that I am not insane, that my poor mind is not torn by horrid nightmares and nameless terrors. I thank you for the light and blessings of civilization, past mercies, present comforts, and future prospects. I thank you for food, and the appetite to eat it, and the power to digest it. I thank you for clothes to wear and books to read. I thank you for the Church, the Bible, the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, the glorious possibility of escape from the penalty and power and consequences and character of sin. I thank you for home and friends, and Heaven bending over all, in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on lines from Samuel Logan Brengle, in Heart Talks on Holiness, chapter 19)

Lovers of Your Word

(today's prayer for my children and grandchildren from the iPhone/iPad app, "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids," available in the iTunes app store, here)

Streams Upon Streams

Giver of All Good, streams upon streams of love overflow my path.
Thou hast made me out of nothing,
hast recalled me from a far country,
hast translated me from ignorance to knowledge,
from darkness to light,
from death to life,
from misery to peace,
from folly to wisdom,
from error to truth,
from sin to victory.

Thanks be to thee for my high and holy calling.
I bless thee for ministering angels,
for the comfort of thy Word,
for the ordinances of thy church,
for the teaching of thy Spirit,
for thy holy sacraments,
for the communion of saints,
for Christian fellowship,
for the recorded annals of holy lives,
for examples sweet to allure,
for beacons sad to deter.

Thy will is in all thy provisions
to enable me to grow in grace,
and to be meet for thy eternal presence.

My heaven-born faith gives promise of eternal sight,
my new birth a pledge of never-ending life.
I draw near to thee, knowing thou wilt draw near to me.

I ask of thee, believing thou hast already given.
I entrust myself to thee, for thou hast redeemed me.
I bless and adore thee, the eternal God,
for the comfort of these thoughts,
the joy of these hopes.

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

Health Food

Thank you, God, that books don't have calories. Amen.

Saturday Psalm #119 (Pt. 5)


My God, I love your Word! I rely on it.
May I memorize it and meditate on it
more than I do.
Make me wiser than my enemies by my devotion to it, for they are
many and they are ever with me.

Master, grant me
more insight than ever before,
more attentiveness to your Word and words.

Make me more understanding than I have otherwise any hope of being.
Mind my feet and keep them from every evil path so I
might obey your word and honor you.

Merciful One, I long for your Word and listen for your instruction.

Make me once more and always an addict for your Word;
make me hopelessly dependent on it.


Night light: that is your Word to me.
Neon sign: that too.

Nothing compares to your precious Word.
Nothing lifts me up,
nothing carries me through,
nothing protects me and preserves me,
nothing blesses me or encourages me like your Word.

None of my other reading,
no matter how inspiring, approaches the limitless value of your Word.
None of it measures up,
none of it even comes close.

Never let me
neglect it,
never misuse it,
never ever forsake it.


Strong Tower, my God,
sweet lover of my soul,
stand with me against double-minded men and women,
sustain me with your Word.

Shield me, my refuge;
shower me with hope through your Word.

Send evildoers away from me, and
save me from being distracted from your Word by their machinations.

Sustain me according to your gracious promise, and I will live;
supply my hope, my joy, my stamina.

Shore up my defenses, and I will be delivered;
stay with me when the next attack comes.

Save me from
Search me and
steel me against all temptation.

Stay with me, and let your Word
stay in me and
stream from me.

A Prayer on All Saints' Day

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body
of Your Son, Christ our Lord,
and kindled the flame of your love
in the hearts of the saints.
I praise you for the holy men and women
you have raised up
in every time and place.
Give me grace so to follow their example
in devotion and godliness
that I may come
to those ineffable joys
that you have prepared for those
who unfeignedly love you,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

(updated and modernized from the Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, the Gothic Missal, and The Book of Common Prayer, 1979)