Never Forsaken

Let Me Not Forget

I bewail that my apprehensions are dull, 
my thoughts mean, 
my affections stupid, 
my expressions low, 
my life unbeseeming; 
yet what can you expect of dust and levity, 
of corruption but defilement?

Keep me ever mindful of my natural state, 
but let me not forget my heavenly title, 
or the grace that can deal with every sin.
(excerpt from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers, edited by Arthur Bennett; photo by mzmatuszewski0  via


(photo by mandj98 via; prayer added by Bob Hostetler)

After I Have Managed to Shut Up

I'm starting to think 
you prefer to speak 
after I have managed to shut up. 



My Refuge

You alone are my refuge, 
my place of safety. 
You are my God, 
and I trust you. 

(Psalm 91:2, paraphrased; photo by Manuel_Miranda via

Showers of Blessing

Lord, please send down 
showers of blessing a la Ezekiel 34:26 
to the dry places in me 
and around me
both figuratively 
and literally. 

(photo by Fifaliana-joy via

To Use All the Circumstances of My Life

Teach me, O God, to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.

Let me use disappointment as material for patience: 
Let me use success as material for thankfulness: 
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance: 
Let me use danger as material for courage: 
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering: 
Let me use praise as material for humility: 
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance: 
Let me use pains as material for endurance. 

(a prayer of John Baillie in A Diary of Private Prayer; photo by anajbrown via

Deliver Me From the Cult of Personal Experience

Father God, I want to believe in you when I feel like it and when I don’t. I want to triumph in you when the fig tree buds and when there is no fruit at all on the vine. I want to love you when times are good and when times are bad. I want to rejoice in you even when the crop fails and there are no sheep in the pen, no cattle in the stall, and no money in the bank. I want to worship you not primarily to bring pleasure to me, but to give pleasure to you, and to give the glory that is due your name (Psalm 29:2). 

Deliver me from the cult of personal experience, and help me to learn anew how to worship you and enjoy you forever, in Jesus’ name, amen.

(the prayer that closes chapter eight, "The Cult of Personal Experience," in American Idols; photo by JACLOU-DL via

On Her Birthday

Abba, you have granted me the loveliest bride, 
the perfect woman for me, and I am grateful. 
Bless her abundantly, extravagantly, today, on her birthday. 
As your beauty and grace lives in her 
and exudes from her, 
let her feel your approval in every way 
on this day and in all the days to come.
Smile on her. Rejoice over her. Thrill her and fill her
with the awareness of your pleasure
and the rich appreciation of her husband, family, and many friends,
in Jesus' name, amen.

Prepare a Road

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; photo by fietzfotos via

For All the Things

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom,
you know my necessities before I ask
and my ignorance in asking:
Have compassion on my weakness,
and mercifully give me those things which
for my unworthiness I dare not,
and for my blindness I cannot ask;
through the worthiness of your Son 
Jesus Christ my Lord,
who lives and reigns with you 
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

(photo by Tama66 via

Little and Great

help me to do great things
as though they were little,
since I do them with your power,
and little things as though they were great,
since I do them in your name.

(a prayer of Blaise Pascal; photo by Free-Photos via

For Answered Prayer

Lord God, I praise you again because you answer prayer.
You answered prayer for me and my little ailment.
You answered prayer for my family's travels this past weekend. 
You answered prayer for my travel and my meetings last week.
You answered prayer for my grandchildren's health. 
You answered prayer for sick friends and suffering friends.
You answered prayer for my work.
And all of this in just over a week. 
I praise you because you deign to answer prayer.
I praise you because you love to answer prayer.

(photo by Himsan via

On Our Nation's Birthday

Lord my God,
I worship you today,
on this 245th birthday of this nation,
these wonderful United States of America
in which I live.

I thank you for the freedom
to worship you publicly...
even as I ask you
to show kindness and mercy
to those who lack that freedom
because they live elsewhere.

Thank you for all those
who have sacrificed for my freedom,
for those who risked
(and many who gave) their lives
to make this a free and independent nation,
for those in my nation's armed services, past and present,
and for all who have served the cause of liberty in other ways...
even as I pray for those who even now
are in harm's way,
far from home,
in this nation's service.
Please meet their needs,
watch over them and their loved ones,
and grant them your favor in every way.

And, Father, on this Independence Day 2021,
I pray for the people in this land
and every land
who have not yet discovered the freedom
that is offered to them in your Son, Jesus Christ.
Draw them to you,
set them free
from sin and sadness and strife,
and grant them the eternal freedom
that is found only in trusting you,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Free-Photos via


Lord, thank you for 
winds of refreshing, 
showers of blessing, 
streams of mercy, 
and peace like an ocean. 
Now, Lord, please unleash 
a monsoon of your goodness; 
deluge me and mine, 
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by bhuwanpurohit via

By the Other Light Supreme

Lord, loosen in me the hold of visible things;
   Help me to walk by faith and not by sight;
I would, through thickest veils and coverings,
   See into the chambers of the living light.

Lord, in the land of things that swell and seem,
   Help me to walk by the other light supreme,
Which shows Thy facts behind man's vaguely hinting dream.

(a prayer by George MacDonald, from The Diary of an Old Soul; photo by Arcaion via

Thank You for Summer

Father, Creator of all,
thank You for summer! 

Thank You for the warmth of the sun and the increased daylight. 

Thank You for the beauty I see all around me and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation. 

Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family, and for the more casual pace 
of the summer season. 

Draw me closer to You this summer.

Teach me how I can pray no matter
where I am or what I am doing.

Warm my soul with the awareness of
Your presence and light my path with
Your Word and Counsel.

As I enjoy Your creation, create in
me a pure heart and a hunger
and a thirst for You.

(author unknown; image by jonathansautter via

Further Grace

O God, I have tasted your goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune god, I want to want you; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me your glory, I pray, so that I may know you indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow you up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

(a prayer of A. W. Tozer, revised slightly; photo by Free-Photos via

For A/C

Lord, for the minds that created air conditioning 
and the difference it makes in my life, 
I give you thanks. 

(photo illustration by santiagotorrescl95 via

Actiones Nostras

We beg You, O Lord, to initiate and anticipate our actions, 
and help us in them and follow up on them, 
so that our every service always flows from You, 
and all we begin is brought to conclusion through You. 

(from the Gregorian Sacramentary; photo by cocoparisienne via

Thin Place

O God,
make of my heart,
my marriage,
my family,
my home, 
and my church,
a thin place.

(based on an incident related to Evelyn Underhill by a friend who had been to the Isle of Iona and there heard a local gardener say, “Iona is a very thin place.” She asked, “What do you mean?” The gardener, a Scotsman, said, “It's a thin place, because there is not much between Iona and the Lord”; photo by mcbeaner via

Lord of My Life, Whose Tender Care

Lord of my life, whose tender care
Has led me on till now,
Here lowly at the hour of prayer
Before your throne I bow;
I bless your gracious hand, and pray
Forgiveness for another day.

Oh, may I daily, hourly, strive
In heavenly grace to grow;
To you and to your glory live,
Dead to all else below;
Tread in the path my Savior trod,
Though thorny, yet the path to God.

With prayer my humble praise I bring
For mercies day by day;
Lord! teach my heart your love to sing,
Lord! teach me how to pray;
And all I am, and all I own,
Entrust to you alone.

(a prayer by an anonymous hymnwriter, slightly updated and revised; photo by josemdelaa via

For Miles

Lord, thank you for my first grandchild,
my grandson, 
Miles Jacob Hostetler, who turns fourteen years old today.

Thank you for all you have made him to be:
healthy, strong, charming, sweet, sensitive, smart, wonderful.

Thank you for all you have given him:
caring, wise, attentive, loving parents,
a sister who loves him and will even say so,
a family that loves to be around him and spend time with him,
an active and brilliant mind,
a fascination with bugs and beasts and birds,
and a warm home, good school, and lovely church.

Thank you that he's so great as to make missing him so hard.
Thank you that he's growing so fast and learning so much 
as to make me insanely jealous of those who get to watch it happen day by day and week by week.
Thank you that for the earliest years of his life I got to see him so often, almost daily at times.
Thank you that I'll get to see him soon, by your leave.
And thank you that even with the physical distance between us, we still enjoy a closeness that brings tears to my eyes. 

Please bless him mightily on his birthday, and on every day that follows it.
Please shine on him, smile on him, and slather him with your favor.
Please preserve his sweetness even as he grows up.
Please give him a great summer this year, and a blessed rest-of-the-year.
Please grant that he may grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Please draw him and keep him close to you, 
and grant his every need 
and make his dreams come true, 
in Jesus' name, amen.


Give me that food, Lord,
the nourishment your first disciples knew nothing about (John 4:32);
give it to me daily,
that sustenance that comes from communion with the Father,
and extending life to others,

(photo via


Come, Lord Jesus. 
Come quickly. 
Come to your church.
Come to us, the smug, the self-righteous. 
Come to us, the arrogant and self-satisfied. 
Come to us, the hurting who in their pain hurt others.
Come to the preachers with poison ideas and careless tongues.
Come to the misogynist and racist.
Come to the small-minded, 
to the legalistic, 
to the power hungry, 
to the unforgiving. 
Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 
Come save us. 
Transform us. 
Before we do worse.

On My 44th Wedding Anniversary

O Lord God, 
it's so hard to believe how long--
and how high and wide and deep--
you have blessed me with my bride, 
my wife, the lovely Robin:  
through forty-four years of marriage, 
and forty-seven years together.

Thank you for yet another year of life together.
Thank you for her faithful,
constant heart.

Thank you for all
the happiness we've known together;
the sorrows we've faced together;
the children we've raised together 
and the grandchildren we've been so wonderfully given.

Thank you for our home, 
hopes and dreams,
our unfinished plans,
and our small accomplishments.

Thank you that she has stuck with me, never wavering in her support.
Thank you that I can still make her laugh, usually.
Thank you that she grows more beautiful every day.
Thank you for all of her perfections,
and all of my improvements.

Spare us another year to walk together,
and grant that for us it may be true
that the best is yet to be,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lord God Adonai, 
you open doors that no one can shut (Revelation 3:8), 
and shut doors that no one can open. 
I am waiting. 
I am watching. 
I am ready. 

Just please don't let me try to do your job 
instead of mine, 
in Jesus' name, amen.

What I Ought to Ask

Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of You, 
You alone know what I need; 
You love me better than I know how to love myself. 

Father! Give to Your child that which he himself knows not how to ask. 
I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; 
I simply present myself before You. 
I open my heart to You. 

Behold my need, which I know not myself; 
see and do according to Your tender mercy. 
Smile or heal, depress me, or raise me up; 
I adore all Your purposes without knowing them: 
I am silent; 
I offer myself in sacrifice; 
I yield myself to You, 
I would have no other desire than to accomplish Your will. 
Teach me to pray. Pray in me.

(a prayer by François Fénelon, updated with contemporary language)

On June 1

Thank you, God, that 
"There is no price set on the lavish summer, 
And June may be had by the poorest comer." 

(from "The Vision of Sir Launfal" by James Russell Lowell)