My Shepherd

My Symphony

Dear God,
Help me
To live content with small means,
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich,
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
await occasions,
hurry never--
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.

(by William Ellery Channing, from Bedside Prayers; photo by analogicus via

To Make Me Flee Forward

My Father and my God, I see that my life
will be made or broken at the place
where I meet and deal with my obstacles.
Help me not to run away from them,
but to run toward them,
to tackle and overcome them.
Help me to take the impulse to flee
and compel it to make me flee forward. Amen.

(a prayer of E. Stanley Jones, from Abundant Living, p. 117; photo by royharriman via


Abba, into your hands I entrust my body, mind and spirit and this entire day--morning, afternoon, evening and night. Whatever you want of me, I want of me, falling into you and trusting in you in the midst of life. Into your heart I entrust my heart, feeble, distracted, insecure, uncertain. Abba, unto you I abandon myself in Jesus our Lord. Amen.

(a prayer of Brennan Manning, from Ruthless Trust, p. 11; photo via


This prayer, abundantly answered for my children, I now pray once a month for my grandchildren (from the iPhone/iPad app, "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids," available in the iTunes app store, here):

Success and Blessing

Lord, please let my life reflect
the difference between success
and blessing.

(photo by ChadoNihi via

A Great "Give Me" Prayer

Lord, give me love. Give me faith. Give me hope. Give me passion, purpose, and determination. Give me utter devotion. Give me a divine discontent with formality, ceremonialism, lukewarmness, indifference, sham and noise, parade and spiritual death. Give me singleness of eye and a consecration unto death. Give me that which emboldened David to run out to meet the insolent giant and Esther to face the king and plead for her people, saying, "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Give me God the Holy Spirit burning in and through me, with humble, holy, faithful effect, in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on lines from Take Time to Be Holy, by Samuel Logan Brengle, p. 228)

The Secret of Being Content

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

Wildfire Prayer

Abba, Father, Lord, have mercy on all of those affected by and contending with the wildfires throughout California, including my son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Save them, Lord. Protect them. Preserve them, their loved ones, neighbors, friends, pets, and livestock; their homes, churches, and businesses; grant that the flames and smoke may be turned back and away, and dangers and damages miraculously limited by your strong hand, in Jesus' name, amen. 

To Know Your Zeal

Lord, I praise you because you are
a God of joyful shouting,
a God of celebration,
a God who leaps and dances,
a God who sings,
a God who is (in Tozer's words)
"having a good time!"

God, help me to know your joy, your zeal, your zestful nature.

Put me in touch with your singing, dancing, shouting heart. Let me laugh with you today and enjoy what you enjoy. Restore to me the joy of your salvation...of your very nature, in Jesus' name, amen.

Shepherd of the Stars

You are 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.

(photo by skeeze via

Until Respondent Voices Rend the Air

Omnipotent God, whom through the worship of my heart alone I know, to the wicked unknown, yet known to every devout soul, you are without beginning and without end, more ancient than time past and time to come; your fashion and extent no mind can ever grasp, no tongue express....

Son of the All-highest, bringer of salvation to the human race, you to whom your Begetter has committed all the powers of his Fatherhood, keeping none back in envy, but giving freely, open a way for my prayers and safely convey them to your Father's ears.

Grant me a heart, O Father, to hold out against all deeds of wrong, and deliver me from the serpent's deadly venom, sin....

Prepare a road that I, being freed from the fetters of this frail body, may be led up on high, where in the clear heaven the Milky Way stretches above the wandering clouds of the wind-vexed moon--that road by which the holy men of old departed from the earth; by which Elias, being caught up in the chariot, once made his ways alive above our lower air; and Enoch, too, who went before his end without change of body.

Grant me, O Father, the effluence of everlasting light for which I yearn, and bring to your altar the offering of a stainless life.

Grant me your pardon, Father, and relieve my anguished breast...and when the hour of my last day shall come, grant that the conscience of a life well spent cause me not to fear death, nor yet long for it. When, through your mercy, I appear cleansed from my secret faults, let me despise all else, and let my one delight be to await in hope your judgment. And if that day delays, keep me far from that fierce tempter, the serpent, with his false allurements.

Claim these prayers as your own before the eternal Father, Son of God to whom I pray, Savior, God and Lord, Mind, Glory, Word and Son, very God of very God, Light of Light, who remains with the eternal Father, reigning throughout all ages, whose praise the harmonious songs of tuneful David echo forth, until respondent voices rend the air with "Amen."

(a prayer by Ausonius, shortened and updated slightly)


Christ, Whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.

Visit now this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Yourself display,
Shining to the perfect day.

(from a hymn by Charles Wesley; photo via


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

Saturday Psalm #150

Hallelujah, Lord!

I praise you
for the capacity to praise you.
I praise you
that I can praise you in song,
and for the privilege of praising you
in harmony with others who praise you.

I praise you
under your great blue blanket of sky;
I praise you for your mighty acts
and your magnificent greatness.
I praise you with joyful laughter
and with quiet weeping.
I praise you with dance,
and I praise you by kneeling.

I praise you loudly
and I praise you softly.
I will praise you facedown
and I praise you with a fist pump!

I praise you with all that I have,
and all I am;
let every living thing join in!


To Walk in the Day

Grant, Lord, that I may walk in the day,
and not stumble,
because I see the Light of this world (John 11:9),
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Nordseher via

Enter and Enlarge

My soul is like a house, small for you to enter, but I pray you to enlarge it. It is in ruins, but I ask you to remake it. It contains much that you will not be pleased to see: this I know and do not hide. But who is to rid it of these things? 
(a prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo, from his Confessions, Book 5.1; photo via

Today in Your Classroom

Rabbi, Teacher, Lord, thank you for all you are teaching me these days.

Through self-quarantining and semi-seclusion, you are teaching me to persevere and deny myself. 

Through scarcity and need you are teaching me to recognize you as the source of my daily bread, to rely on you for the supply of all my needs, and to plan carefully and choose wisely. 

Through delay and waiting you are teaching me patience and trust, reminding me that "in quietness and confidence" is my strength (Isaiah 30:15).

Through changing circumstances you are are teaching me (again) to pray, and to remember from whence my help--and help for my children and grandchildren--comes.

Through disappointment and difficulty, you are teaching me humility, contentment, and new ways of doing old things.

Through it all, Lord, I can see your hand, and your wisdom. Through it all, teach me some of that wisdom, the kind that comes only from you. Help me to learn such lessons well so as to learn the next one--and the ones after that--quicker and better, in Jesus' name, amen.

Saturday Psalm #149

I praise you, LORD.
I will sing to you,
a new song,
an old song,
a slow song,
a fast song,
my own song,
anyone's song.

I will rejoice in you, my Maker;
I will be giddy in your presence, my King.

I will praise your name with dancing
(try not to laugh);
I will turn anything into an instrument of praise to you.

For you delight in your people;
you crown your lowly subjects with salvation!

I rejoice in honor from you,
I sing for joy that you listen to my prayers!

Your praise will be in my mouth,
your Word a double-edged sword on my lips,
to wield spiritual warfare
and send petty demons fleeing,
to bind them with fetters, with shackles of iron,
for it is my glory to be your lowliest soldier
in the struggle of the ages.