Mercy on Me

Happy in You

I beg of You, my God, 
let me know You and love You 
so that I may be happy in You. 
And though I cannot do this fully in this life, 
yet let me improve from day to day 
till I may do so to the full.
Let me know You more and more in this life, 
that I may know You perfectly in heaven.
Let me know You more and more here, 
so that I may love you perfectly there,
so that my joy may be great in itself here, 
and complete in heaven with You.
O Truthful God, let me receive the happiness of heaven 
which You promise so that my joy may be full.
In the meantime,
let my mind think of it,
let my tongue talk of it,
let my heart long for it,
let my mouth speak of it,
let my soul hunger after it,
let my flesh thirst after it,
let my whole being desire it,
until such time as I may enter through death into the joy of my Lord,
there to continue forever, world without end.

(a prayer of St. Augustine; photo via

On Mia's Birthday

Lord, watch over my sweet, wonderful granddaughter, Mia, 
As her days increase; 
Bless and guide her wherever she is,
everywhere she goes, 
Keeping her as lovely and kind as she is today 
even as you increase her in wisdom, learning, and skill. 
Continue to make her strong in faith and conduct. 
Comfort her when she's sad or discouraged. 
Lift her when she stumbles. 
Surround her with friends and family
who respect, value, and love her. 
And may the peace that passes understanding 
and joy unspeakable 
fill her heart and her days, 
both now and ever more, 
in Jesus' name, amen.


If you, Lord, go with me,  
I’ll go anywhere! 
’Tis heaven to me, 
Where’er I may be, 
If you are there! 
I count it a privilege here 
Your cross to bear; 
If you, Lord, go with me,  
I’ll go anywhere! 

(slightly revised from the hymn, "It May be in the Valley, Where Countless Dangers Hide," by C. Austin Miles)

You Open Your Hand

We Submit Our Ashen Way to You

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.

(excerpted from Prayers for a Privileged People by Walter Brueggemann; photo by Amplitudy via


Like summer snow
floating from a sun-filled sky,
draping airy-white on flowered fields,
Your love astonished me.

No frilly show,
no assorted-chocolate pledge,
no candy hearts or silver kisses
disclosed your care for me;

But unsparing,
thorn-wearing love
that opened hands and feet and side
to spill your heart for me,

To recreate, 
inundate my longing soul
with giving, holding, accepting,
enfolding love for me.

(photo by stux via

Ave Verum Corpus

English translation:  
Hail, true body, 
Born of the virgin Mary; 
Who has truly suffered, slaughtered 
On the Cross for humanity. 
Whose side was pierced, 
Pouring out water and blood. 
Be a foretaste for us 
During our ordeal of death. 
O sweet, o holy, 
O Jesus Son of Mary, 
Have mercy on me. Amen. 

My Feeble Shoots

Thou who didst hang upon a barren tree, 
My God, for me; 
Though I till now be barren, now at length, 
Lord, give me strength 
To bring forth fruit to Thee. 

Thou who didst bear for me the crown of thorn, 
Spitting and scorn; 
Though I till now have put forth thorns, yet now 
Strengthen me Thou 
That better fruit be borne. 

Thou Rose of Sharon, Cedar of broad roots 
Vine of sweet fruits, 
Thou Lily of the vale with fadeless leaf, 
Of thousands Chief, 
Feed Thou My feeble shoots. 

(a prayer of Christina Rossetti; photo by MarillaLina via

On Nina's Birthday

Lord, thank you for the wonderful wife you gave to my son, 
the mother you gave to my grandchildren Miles and Mia, 
the daughter-in-law you gave to me and Robin, 
the blessing you gave this world in bringing Nina into it. 

Bless her today on her birthday 
and every day that is to come, 
in Jesus' name, amen. 

I Fly to You

Jesus, lover of my soul, 
I fly to you, 
I lay my head on your chest,  
my Friend,  
my Brother, 
my Lord and my God,  
my Savior, 
my Stronghold.

(photo by Free-Photos via

Your Ways are Equal

Lord, your ways are equal (Ezekiel 18:25), 
and my ways are unequal. 
And you are without equal, 
and I praise you also for that. 

In your mercy and kindness, Lord, 
consider me. 
Show me your ways, that I might know you. 
Teach me, 
guide me, 
uphold me, 
protect me, 
and enlarge my capacity for you 
and for doing your will, 
in Jesus' name, amen. 

(photo by Moshehar via

Lowest Place

Give me the lowest place: not that I dare 
Ask for that lowest place, but Thou hast died
That I might live and share
Thy glory by Thy side.

Give me the lowest place: or if for me
That lowest place too high, make one more low
Where I may sit and see
My God and love Thee so.

(a prayer by Christina Rossetti)

Full of Beauty, Delight, and Joy

O my God, if your creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy are you yourself, Creator of all!

(a prayer of Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, slightly revised; photo by timokefoto via


Gracious God and Father of all humanity, 
thank you for granting me the grace 
to show grace. Amen.

(photo by lauraelatimer via

Like a Gentle Rain

Almighty God my King,
please let me feel
the warmth of your smile
on all I do today;
let your favor refresh my heart
like a gentle rain. Amen.

(based on Proverbs 16:15)

To Walk Lovingly with My Great Redeemer

O God of grace,
I bewail my cold,
heartless prayers;
their poverty adds sin to my sin.
If my hope were in them
I should be undone,
But the worth of Jesus
perfumes my feeble breathings,
and wins their acceptance.

Deepen my contrition of heart,
Confirm my faith in the blood
that washes from all sin.
May I walk lovingly with my great Redeemer.
Flood my soul with true repentance
that my heart may be broken for sin and unto sin.
Let me be as slow to forgive myself
as thou art ready to forgive me.
Gazing on the glories of thy grace
may I be cast into the lowest depths of shame.
and walk with downcast head now thou art pacified towards me.

O my great High Priest,
pour down upon me streams of needful grace,
bless me in all my undertakings,
in every thought of my mind,
every word of my lips,
every step of my feet,
every deed of my hands.
Thou didst live to bless,
die to bless,
rise to bless,
ascend to bless,
take thy throne to bless,
and now thou dost reign to bless.

O give sincerity to my desires,
earnestness to my supplications,
fervour to my love.

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


Lord, I would clasp your hand in mine,
And never murmur or repine, 
Content, whatever lot I see, 
Since it is your hand leading me. 

(from the hymn "He Leadeth Me" by Joseph Henry Gilmore, slightly revised; photo by DamiWurtz via

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; 
Wean it from earth, through all its pulses move. 
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are, 
And make me love you as I ought to love. 

Teach me to feel that you are always nigh; 
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear, 
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh; 
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer. 

Teach me to love you as your angels love, 
One holy passion filling all my frame; 
The baptism of the Heaven-descended Dove, 
My heart an altar and your love the flame. 

(from a hymn by George Croly, slightly revised)


Oh, Eternal Christ, 
understandable to even me, 
I thank you for putting the latchstring so low 
I can reach it. 
I can reach the Highest, 
for you are the Highest become lowly, reachable. 
And so I come, for in You I "see" everything I need. I thank you.

(a prayer of E. Stanley Jones)

I Come to You for a Remedy

O, most sweet and loving Lord, whom I devoutly desire to receive, you know my weaknesses and my sufferings, my evil thoughts and actions. I am often weighed down, tempted, disturbed, and defiled. I come to you for a remedy. I beg you for comfort and support. I speak to you who knows all things, to whom all my secrets are open, and to whom alone is able perfectly to comfort and help me. You know what good things I need and how poor I am in righteousness. 

And so, I stand poor and naked before you, needing grace and praying for mercy. Whet my appetite for righteousness, kindle my coldness with the fire of your love, illuminate my blindness with the brightness of your presence. Turn all earthly things into bitterness for me, all sorrowful and opposing things into patience, all things worthless and created into contempt and nothingness. Lift up my heart to you in heaven, and don't allow me to aimlessly wander over the earth. Be my only satisfaction from this day forward forever, because you alone are my food and drink, my love and joy, my delight, and my whole good.

(from The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today's Language, by Thomas à Kempis, compiled and edited by James N. Watkins; photo by TheVirtualDenise via

For Transformed Desires

Not the goods of the world, but You. 
Not riches, but You. 
Not honors, but You. 
Not distinction, but You. 
Not dignities, but You. 
Not advancement, but You. 
You always and in everything. 

(from lines written by St. Vincent Pallotti, slightly revised; photo by Free-Photos via

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

O Love that will not let me go, 
I rest my weary soul in you; 
I give you back the life I owe, 
That in those ocean depths its flow 
May richer, fuller grow. 

O Light that follows all my way, 
I yield my flickering torch to you; 
My heart restores its borrowed ray, 
That in your sunshine’s blaze its day 
May brighter, fairer glow.
(a hymn by George Matheson, updated and revised; photo by conger design via


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.


O Holy Spirit, rush upon me. 

(a prayer based on 1 Samuel 16:13, ESV: "And the Spirit of The Lord rushed upon David"; photo illustration by Sponchia via


God, save me
from the desire--
and my tendency--
to be a self-made man
instead of
a Spirit-made man.

(photo by "white bird," courtesy of photoXpress)

That We May Be Children of Light

Our loving Father, from Thy hand have come all the days of the past. To Thee we look for whatever good the future holds. We are not satisfied with the world as we have found it. It is too little the kingdom of God as yet. Grant us the privilege of a part in its regeneration. We are looking for a new earth in which dwells righteousness. It is our prayer that we may be children of light, the kind of people whose coming and ministry the world is waiting. Amen.

(from the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project, "Prayers" section)

Before and After

Today, O Lord — 
let me put others before self; 
let me put things of the Spirit before the things of the body; 
let me put the attainment of noble ends before the enjoyment of present pleasures; 
let me put principle above reputation; 
and let me put you before all else. 

(a prayer of John Baillie, from A Diary of Private Prayer; photo by Arcaion via

Stir the Embers

As I stir the embers of my daily fire, I ask you, living God, to stir the embers of my heart into a flame of love for you, my family, my neighbor, and my enemy. Amen. 

(an ancient Celtic prayer, used each morning as the embers in the household hearth were stirred; photo by Conanil, courtesy of

To Accurately Understand Things as They Truly Are

Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of your Holy Spirit. Give me discipline to be strengthened with power in my inner person. Free my heart from all care and trouble, so I may not be drawn away by various desires after anything with little value or great. But may I look on all things as passing away and myself as passing away with them, because there is no profit under the sun, and all is futile and troubling to your spirit. "But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless--like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere" (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Oh how wise are those who understand this!

Give me, Lord, heavenly wisdom, that I may learn to seek you above all things and to find you. Help me desire you above all things. May I love you. Grant me, according to your wisdom, to accurately understand things as they truly are. Help me to wisely avoid the flatterer and patiently to bear with the one who opposes me. It is great wisdom, not to be carried by every wind of words, nor to give ear to the wicked flattering seductress. With this mindset, we go safely on in your way, Lord. 

(from The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today's Language, by Thomas à Kempis, compiled and edited by James N. Watkins; photo by Caniceus via

A New Psalm 57

Have mercy on me and mine, O God, 
have mercy on us;

You are our refuge. 
We hide in the shadow of your wings 
and await your vindication.

We cry out to you, God Most High,
begging you to fulfill your purpose in and for us. 
Send your hosts from heaven and save us, 
scattering those who lie, slander, and attack.

Send your love and faithfulness
as our defense against hateful beasts, 
who snarl and claw, 
rant and rage.

Just do your thing, God;
show your strength and glory.
Make our hearts steadfast, O God; 
let us sing and make music,
praising you so loud
and serving you so passionately
that we will keep the day awake
and prevent the night from getting any sleep.

We will praise you, O Lord, no matter what;
we will serve you to our last breaths. 
For your love stretches all the way to the heavens; 
your faithfulness extends from our little place
to the outermost reaches of the universe.

Just do your thing, God;
show your strength and glory.

(based on Psalm 57; photo by Tama66 via


Almighty and everlasting God, who has made known the incarnation of your Son by the bright shining of a star, which, when the wise men beheld, they presented costly gifts and adored your majesty; grant that the star of your righteousness may always shine into our hearts; and that, as our treasure, we may give ourselves and all we possess to your service, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen. 

 (from the Gelasian Sacramentary; image by Pancho_2323chivas via

For Richard

Lord, as you know, today is Richard Wright's funeral and committal in his hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio. I know that you've already welcomed him into your gracious presence and his eternal reward, with (I hope) a Dixieland band, a raucous party, and a table spread with lots of coffee, potato salad, banana cream pie, milk shakes, Hershey bars, and every homemade dish that ever made his eyes light up. Let his final sendoff be a fitting tribute to the man who was a loving father to my wife, a second father to me, and the hardest working man I ever knew. Amen.

In This New Year

In this new year, 
I abandon myself into your hands. 
Do with me whatever you will. 
Whatever you may do, I thank you. 
I am ready for all, I accept all. 
Let only your will be done in me, 
and in all your creatures. 

Into your hands I commend my spirit. 
I offer it to you with all the love that is in my heart. 
For I love you, Lord, and so want to give myself, 
to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve 
and with boundless confidence, 
for you are my Father. 

(a prayer by Charles de Foucauld, slightly revised; photo by Myriads-Fotos via

Unknown Waters

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit,
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to watch,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

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